Analysis looks at Idexx data on preventive care

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An analysis of Idexx Laboratories Inc. preventive care screening profiles from more than 5,000 practices found that for animals in all adult life stages, laboratory testing included in these screenings regularly yielded results that potentially warranted further action.

The analysis appears in the new publication "Promoting Preventive Care Protocols: Evidence, Enactment, and Economics" from the American Animal Hospital Association, developed with the support of an educational grant from Idexx.

Idexx offers practice management software as well as laboratory services. The section of the paper on "The Medical Case for Preventive Care Screenings" describes the analysis of Idexx data as follows:

"Using data gathered from practice management software, investigators examined the records from 5,016 North American veterinary practices. The objective was 'to use a big-data approach to investigate the frequency of clinically significant abnormal profiles for apparently healthy adult dogs and cats of all adult life stages.'

"Investigators looked for profiles associated with consultations invoiced as a 'wellness examination' that included blood chemistry, complete blood count (CBC), and symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA) tests. This yielded 268,817 profiles."

Investigators categorized dogs age 3-6 years and cats age 2-8 years as adults, dogs age 7-10 years and cats age 9-13 years as seniors, and dogs age 11-plus years and cats age 14-plus years as geriatrics. The data from the wellness visits revealed findings requiring veterinary follow-up in 15 percent of adults, 21 percent of seniors, and 42 percent of geriatrics.

"Findings from the analysis of big data and traditional scientific inquiry seem to indicate that veterinarians who screen pets may find significant results for some pets that require additional discussion, monitoring, or workups," according to the paper.

The publication provides a guide to help veterinary teams implement preventive care protocols and highlights the value of client communication. Another section of the paper covers "The Financial Case for Preventive Care Screenings." The paper includes medical case examples for three cats and two dogs as well as financial case examples at two veterinary practices.

Related JAVMA content:

AAHA Connexity takes on topics that keep veterinarians up at night (Nov. 15, 2018)