Are we ready to assess?

A simple way of assessing your own performance as an EBVM practitioner is to ask yourself some questions, and to provide truthful answers!

Some suggested questions are:

  • Do I identify and prioritise problems to be solved (specifically in relation to what information I need to make my best decisions)?
  • Do I perform a competent and complete examination of each animal, in order to establish the likelihood of alternative diagnoses?
  • Do I have an accurate knowledge of disease manifestations, the sensitivities and specificities of the clinical signs I am looking for, and the frequency of occurrence of different combinations of clinical signs within a disease?
  • Do I search for missing information when I know I am lacking it?
  • Do I appraise information I am given in terms of scientific validity?
  • Do I understand terms such as specificity and sensitivity, which enable me to interpret important information in my daily practice?
  • Do I have the resources to access the Internet and use these to the best of my ability?
  • Am I aware of the veterinary information databases?
  • Do I actively consider if the application of new information I am given is scientifically justified and sensible for the situation to which I might apply it?
  • Do I explain the pros and cons of the different options to owners, taking into account and making clear their different utilities?

Of course none of us would be able to answer ‘yes’ to all of these questions for each case we see. Equally, there are probably many more questions that we should be asking ourselves as we aspire to be better clinicians. Nonetheless, EBVM provides an approach that seeks to address the ever increasing information overload that veterinary clinicians face in the 21st century.