Veterinary radiologist Dr Steve Joslyn interpreted pet’s medical images from around the world. Whilst the digital images were almost instantly available, frequently the pet’s accompanying medical data was often incorrect, misplaced or simply unavailable. With an interest in data analysis and blockchain technology, Dr Joslyn put his mind to looking at how to improve this situation. He co-founded veterinary tech start-up VetDB to improve the quality and access of veterinary healthcare data – and the result may yet revolutionise the veterinary industry.

“I’ve been fascinated with the complexities around medical data in veterinary medicine. For me as radiologist it was frustrating trying to gain access to an animal’s history, recent lab work or previous reports, even sometimes realising I’d been sent the wrong patient. The correct data for that animal must exist somewhere. The patients all have microchips, so I thought – why isn’t the microchip helping, and if it was – could I trust the information it represented to be accurate and error free?”, said Dr Joslyn.

The concept highlighted that if you could store accurate and verifiable medical data on an animal’s microchip, together with facilitating access for vets when needed, it could have substantial benefits across the industry. In order to make the idea work however, the VetDB team had identified three industry wide issues which needed to be addressed; do we always verify the patient?, is the data accurate and without errors?, and has the data changed or been corrupted?

“We solved these issues with simple steps. We scan the microchip every time an animal walks into the vet hospital. We automate the data collection process removing human errors. We time-stamp each record proving its creation forever. Vaccination certificates now take ten seconds to create and can never be lost. Each certificate is now also impossible to falsify!”, said Dr Joslyn.

With over 20,000 verified vaccine vials and 16,000 animals scanned to date, VetDB is also undertaking trials with veterinary pathology laboratories. Vetpath and the SVS pathology group are leveraging VetDB’s technology to create the world’s first truly paper-less clinical pathology system. Samples can quickly be prepared with no need for submission forms or writing on tubes.

“The VetDB system will enable data recording and appropriate access to veterinarians in all manner of settings. Like emergency vets that usually have zero information and a frantic owner at 2am, to more confidence for horse vets when dealing with Hendra virus or other zoonotic diseases. And hopefully one day it will help a frustrated radiologist trying to access previous x-rays for that well-travelled cat!”, said Dr Joslyn.

Dr Phil Tucak