The AVMA is moving ahead with plans to develop a veterinary clinic database and Web-based clinic locator program.
The Executive Board authorized $152,075 from the Strategic Goal Fund in 2008-2009 for the development, implementation, and promotion of the database and locator program. Beginning with the 2010 budget, $22,500 will be allocated as an ongoing budgeted cost for hosting and supporting the initiative.
AVMA CEO W. Ron DeHaven and Karl Wise, PhD, AVMA associate executive vice president, recommended the database and locator program as a means of strengthening demand for veterinary services, which is in keeping with one of the Association's five strategic goals— economic viability.
One way of increasing demand is by providing a veterinary clinic database and Web-based clinic locator tool, according to the recommendation. The 2006 AVMA member needs assessment survey revealed most companion animal and equine veterinarians support this concept, the recommendation added.
"What better way to serve our members and promote access to veterinary care than to provide a Web site that will assist the public in connecting to veterinarians in their local area. There's just no downside for our members," Dr. DeHaven said after the board vote.
The database would include the name and address of the veterinary hospital or clinic (including GPS and maps); names of veterinarians at the location; phone and fax numbers and e-mail address for the clinic; linkable Web site for the clinic; and species focus, services provided, and hours of operation.
Since 85 percent of active U.S. veterinarians are members of the AVMA, the Association is best positioned to oversee the development of a veterinary locator database, according to the recommendation.
In addition, the database could be used by government agencies and other organizations for disaster preparedness and response to identify and locate veterinary practices and veterinarians.
The database tool may be a source of revenue for the AVMA. Potential funding exists through federal agencies and industry partners for the tool's ongoing operations, and the final product may be a net revenue generator for the Association after initial investment.
Outcomes assessment of the database and locator tool program will include metrics on number of searches by the public using the locator tool, number of veterinarians who link their practice Web sites to the locator tool, and impact of the locator tool program on organizational goals of government agencies and nongovernmental organizations.