Welcome to…Pet Health by the Numbers
Today’s Veterinary Practice is delighted to announce our new partnership with Banfield Pet Hospital (banfield.com), which will provide our readers with statistical insights developed through Banfield’s internal research team and Banfield Applied Research and Knowledge (BARK). This data, along with commentaries from experts in different fields of veterinary medicine, will be presented in Pet Health by the Numbers in each issue of Today’s Veterinary Practice.
Banfield’s size and scale—the company operates more than 850 hospitals in 43 states and 2 new hospitals in Puerto Rico—allows it to collect and analyze data from approximately 2.4 million unique pets each year. This data, the backbone of Banfield’s innovative research agenda, are gathered through a medical records system called PetWare; then transferred daily to a central database at Banfield’s headquarters in Portland, Oregon.
Data are analyzed by the BARK team, which is comprised of specialists in veterinary medicine, epidemiology, public health, and data analysis and statistics. The BARK team’s objectives are to:
- Conduct population-based research to support clinical decision making
- Provide insights into the current state of pet health
- Contribute to the field of evidence-based research within veterinary medicine.
Medical information collected via PetWare is distributed into structured fields (eg, diagnoses, examination findings, laboratory test results, treatments/services) and unstructured medical notes. BARK typically uses data from the structured fields to conduct its research. This may involve using simple criteria to define an illness, such as a single diagnosis, or complex criteria, such as a diagnosis coupled with laboratory test results or examination findings.
Research agendas are established on an annual basis to meet internal needs as well as those of the veterinary profession. Typical research projects may include basic summary statistics, full epidemiological studies, and clinical trials. Studies disseminated through peer-reviewed journals often involve collaboration with subject matter experts, and have included partnerships with Iowa State University, University of California–Davis, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Minnesota, and University of Nottingham.
Once finalized, BARK’s research findings are disseminated to the veterinary profession and pet owners through various avenues, including continuing education training, peer-reviewed publications, Veterinary Focus, Banfield Journal, the annual State of Pet Health Report (stateofpethealth.com), and—starting this year—Today’s Veterinary Practice.
We are excited to partner with Banfield and its research team to provide our readers with additional scientific insights into the practice of veterinary medicine.
—Nick Paolo, Publisher