Skip Navigation

Texas A&M Veterinary Hospital Implements New Client-Communication App

Posted December 01, 2017

For many, pets are significant members of the family, so when our furry friends are in need of serious medical attention, the treatment process can be stressful.

Now, Texas A&M University’s Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) is working to make that process a bit "EASE-ier" with the introduction of a new mobile application that will allow families to track the progress of their patient.

EaseScanJaci

Veterinary technician Jaci Christensen scans the barcode on a dog's collar, which links the patient to his/her owner so that the VMTH can communicate with the family throughout a pet's procedure.

"EASE is a state-of-the-art mobile communication tool that allows the VMTH to stay connected with, provide timely updates to, and to educate the families of patients who are being treated at the hospital," said Bo Connell, assistant dean for hospital operations. "We are the first teaching hospital in the country to bring this innovative, digital-media platform to the practice of veterinary medicine. This is one more example of Texas A&M leading on every front."

EASE has been widely, and successfully, implemented in human hospitals and healthcare systems for four years.

Through the application, VMTH doctors, surgeons, veterinary technicians, residents, and the hospital client liaison will be able to send customized updates—through texts, photos, and videos—to the families of patients as the animal undergoes treatment at the hospital.

"We are excited that for the first time, our doctors and nurses will have a direct connection to their patients’ family members before, during, and after procedures and treatments being done at the hospital," Connell said. "It will allow our staff to give timely updates to our clients and to keep them informed about the care their loved ones are receiving during their stay."

The VMTH’s oncology, cardiology, dermatology, and ophthalmology services are the first to utilize the app in its early adoption at the Small Animal Hospital, with the plan to expand to other services in both the Small and Large Animal Hospitals soon.

Jaci Christensen, licensed veterinary technician and oncology technician supervisor, said the oncology service currently has 20 families signed up to use the app, with the families of eight admitted patients actively receiving updates.

"A super important part of our job is keeping owners updated, but we are so busy that it becomes difficult to do that in a timely fashion, so EASE has really made our job easier by simplifying that process," she said. "It’s a huge help."

Christensen said the oncology team uses EASE to send pre- and post-operation picture and video messages to clients.

"We’ll send photo updates of patients, such as a photo of a dog that has awakened from anesthesia, so any general update that may make them feel better about their pet as they’re separated," Christensen said.

"All of the owners really like it. Most of our patients have cancer and are going through a cancer treatment of some sort, so it’s a scary process," she said. "I’ve always thought our clients are among the most dedicated to their pets because they’re going through a lot to gain some time, so I think it means the world to their owners that somebody is treating them as if it’s their own pet.

EaseScanClose

"The app also seems to bring the clients a lot of comfort," Christensen continued. "It’s more personal to get photos of us loving on their pets as we perform our duties. It allows them to see that their pets are getting quality care."

To use EASE, the pet owners download the app, which is compatible with both Apple and Android phones, and register the patient before his or her arrival to the VMTH. Families have the ability to select the types of updates they want to receive and also can invite other family members to receive updates.

Other features include messages that disappear after 60 seconds, which protects patient confidentiality; the ability to communicate in both English and Spanish; and following the pet’s treatment, owners can take a real-time, customized survey to offer feedback to the VMTH.

Montgomery, Texas, resident Peggy Raabe is among Texas A&M’s first EASE users. She brought her 7-year-old white Labrador retriever, Molly, to the VMTH on Tuesday to have a soft-tissue sarcoma removed from her hind leg.

While not familiar with similar applications, Raabe said she signed up for EASE with the help of the VMTH staff and found it extremely easy to use. She received pictures of Molly as she awaited getting her bloodwork done and in the morning before her surgery, which she was able to share with her husband, who is working in Kuwait; her daughter also signed up to receive the updates.

The hospital staff also called Raabe with updates throughout the process, but she said having EASE gave her something she couldn’t get by talking on the phone.

"It is wonderful to have something like this when you’re worried about your pet," Raabe said. "It was wonderful to be able to see Molly; they took pictures and I had a video this morning, and it was good to know she wasn’t stressed and that everyone was taking good care of her.

"I actually called my vet as soon as they messaged me and told me that she came through surgery really well and it went better than they expected," she said. "I told her how awesome the app is and that they should get it."

 

###

For more information about the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on Facebook , Instagram , and Twitter .

Contact Information: Megan Palsa, Executive Director of Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; mpalsa@cvm.tamu.edu ; 979-862-4216; 979-421-3121 (cell)



↑ Back to Top
« Back to Press Releases