Monday, February 26, 2024

Livestock vets to get AI boost

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That’s artificial intelligence, not insemination, as app promises to make invoicing, notes and disease detection easier.
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An app being beta-tested across New Zealand will use AI to make clinical notes for veterinarians, do their invoicing, help predict disease outbreaks and give them instant access to thousands of journal articles while they are on farm.

The chief technology officer at Qrious, Christopher Laing, said software used in the Ingenum app was first developed to store clinical data and help predict livestock disease outbreaks.

However, once Qrious and other partners wanted to populate the software with data, they realised there was very little reliable data in New Zealand.

The app, which is a first of its kind for NZ, was developed to help in the quest to store reliable veterinary data, he said.

Livestock veterinarians are notoriously bad at writing up clinical notes, he said.

“We started building an app for vets that uses AI [artificial intelligence] to automate a bunch of the annoying stuff that they have to do each day, in particular invoicing. Often they write notes on a piece of paper and only submit it to someone for invoicing at the end of the week,” he said.

The Ingenum app uses AI that converts voice to text after a veterinarian speaks into their phone, he said.

“AI takes that [voice note] and produces an invoice. It will itemise everything you mentioned according to, for example, your prices per hour or for specific types of medicine. The invoice is then added to any invoicing system or practice management tool you use,” Laing said.

The app also produces a “really comprehensive clinical note” that can be edited by the veterinarian at a later stage, he said.

Such a clinical note will also be available on whatever practice management service a veterinary practice uses, he said.

The notes are fed into a larger database that stores data and can help model possible disease outbreaks, Laing said.

“The software inputs animal health data into a database, with an AI system that is constantly learning the pattern of animal health across the country.”

“It will [also] describe the last six months of history on farm, even if it was another vet in your practice.”

From left, Chief technology officer at Qrious Christopher Laing and Tom Brownlie, veterinary epidemiologist and founder of Ingenum. They say the app will help predict disease outbreaks and also make admin easier for vets.

Once a veterinarian makes clinical notes, the AI will find peer-reviewed articles from a New Zealand Veterinary Association database and will attach these articles to the clinical note.

A veterinarian can then choose to use the notes or not, or cite them as additional information on top of a diagnosis, he said.

The app is being tested by four practices across the country, he said.

The app will hopefully be launched nationwide in a couple of months, Laing said.

Production animal veterinarian at Totally Vets in Feilding Barny Askin is part of the beta testing group and said the app would benefit him on two levels.

The feature that allows him to dictate a diagnosis and have an invoice generated from it will make day-to-day administration much easier.

“A lot of that just gets done every couple of days, or when you get chased by the admin staff because you haven’t done any billing,” Askin said.

An app feature that will notify him of clinical findings that other veterinarians from his practice made on a specific farm will also be valuable, and will alert him to possible outbreaks of disease before they happen, he said.

“The app makes personal life easier, but affects the wider profession as it draws conclusions from data sourced from across the country,” he said.

The app was written for livestock veterinarians but there is a product in the pipeline that will target companion animals, Laing said.

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