Information and communication needs are changing, and when I’m out with veterinarians I see the uptake of technology that allows them to communicate in new and different ways. It seems that almost everyone either has a smartphone that they can use to send e-mails, access the internet or download apps, or they have a cellphone that they use for texting and calling. I’ve also watched veterinarians use iPads to give client presentations or show photos.

Veterinary practices are increasingly investing in these communications devices such as tablets like iPads, and other means of communication such as websites and social media including Facebook and Twitter.

This fall, Bovine Veterinarian surveyed beef and dairy veterinarians and asked them how they are using communications technologies in their business. Over 550 beef and dairy veterinarians responded to the survey.

It’s no surprise that almost 100% of beef and dairy veterinarians said they communicated with clients in-person and on the phone. But e-mail and texting appears to be on the rise, especially with the 35-44 year old age group of respondents. The 65+ age group did very little texting with clients.

Marketing your practice via the internet is also increasing. About three-fifths of beef and dairy veterinarians who responded have a website for their practice/business, and about one-third of them had a Facebook page for the practice. Less than half of the respondents send out a printed newsletter to clients (slightly higher for dairy veterinarians than beef veterinarians). The highest users of websites and a Facebook pages were in the 25-34 age range.

Nearly 80% of both the beef and dairy veterinarian respondents use a laptop, almost half use a smartphone, and about 20% use some sort of tablet in their business. The highest users for smartphones were in the 35-44 age range, and tablet use was about evenly distributed between the 25-64 age range.

We also asked about future purchases, and about one-quarter of beef and dairy veterinarians surveyed indicated that they plan to purchase a smartphone or tablet within the next year if they don’t already have one.

So what are they using smartphones for? The most common answer was texting, followed by taking photographs/videos, accessing email, downloading/using apps, reading e-newsletters and taking/making calls only. By far, the 25-44 year old age ranges used texting and photograph/video capabilities of their smart phones more than did veterinarians in higher age ranges. This age range was also more likely to use their smartphone more for accessing email than did the higher age ranges.

So why did we ask these type of questions? Because it’s important to know how veterinarians are changing the way they communicate with clients through technology, and how they are accessing information with these newer tools.

How are you using today’s technology to communicate with your clients?