VetCompass is a fantastic project with incredible potential. It will benefit vets, pets, owners, researchers, students and lecturers. Please note that there is no cost involved for practices and we have designed the process to have no impact on clinic time.
VetCompass is essentially a software application that harvests de-identified clinical records from veterinary practices into a centralised repository. Researchers can then analyse this data to investigate the frequency and distribution of health problems seen by veterinary surgeons working in general practice and to identify risk factors for those problems. This project will bring big data benefits and epidemiology expertise to the companion animal and equine sectors of veterinary science and patient care.
The VetCompass system will provide a better understanding of disease risk factors for common disorders. This type of information about the overall companion animal population in Australia, which has great relevance for practicing veterinarians, is currently difficult to access. Information in the database will enable us to rank the welfare impact of different disorders and prioritise future disease-prevention strategies.
VetCompass will collect the health records of each animal’s visit from standard practice clinical records. These data will include the sex, age, breed, microchip number, presenting complaint, diagnosis, treatment and cost. VetCompass will not collect or hold any client information, apart from the postcode. The postcode will allow for geographical surveillance of diseases and conditions. By collecting data from a huge number of animals we can make more accurate information available on the general dog, cat and horse population of Australia, so the success of VetCompass depends on the collaboration of many practices and their clients.
VetCompass has the support of all of Australia’s veterinary schools: the University of Sydney, University of Adelaide, University of Melbourne, University of Queensland, Murdoch University, Charles Sturt University and James Cook University. These schools formed a consortium that succeeded in securing Australian Research Council funding to establish the program in 2016. We are also working in collaboration with the Royal Veterinary College in London where VetCompass is already well established. In the UK, the project has the support of more than 450 clinics, includes over 40 million episodes of care which represent 4 million unique animals.
We will promote participating practices by adding their logo and links to our website. We will also provide posters and information for clients, and over time, a series of short articles to use in practice newsletters or websites as desired.
To find out more or to get involved, go to vetcompass.com.au or email firstname.lastname@example.org.