When great ideas meet reality, it takes a "can-do" spirit to achieve lasting progress. And maintaining great service throughout the cycle of innovation tests the mettle of people who focus on efficiency, quality, and compassion. We honor those who make our college great.
PEOPLE: THE HEART OF THE CVM
Laurel Mager Schedin’s role is to help support the staff of the Veterinary Medical Center (VMC), and while she doesn’t have a clinical background, she hopes that in some small way she’s helping to save lives—through the use of data.
The support that Schedin provides to the veterinarians, students, technicians, researchers, and staff working in the Veterinary Medical Center is mainly done on computer. As the manager of informatics, Schedin administers and oversees the enterprise-level applications and data that support hospital operations, including clinical pathology, pharmacy, inventory, billing, medical records, and scheduling.
“Everyone I work with—faculty, students, staff, clinicians, and researchers—is fabulous,” she says. “The people here have very stressful jobs. I am continually amazed by the many things they do and the level of integrity they do it with. My role is to do everything I can to streamline their processes and make sure they have the information they need as quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible.”
For a hospital the size of the VMC, that task can be monumental. Since 2001, the VMC has handled 752,000 appointments, served 165,000 patients, filled 945,000 prescriptions, and conducted approximately 706,000 clinical pathology laboratory tests. Last year alone, the VMC saw 41,896 appointments—an average of more than 100 a day.
On any given day, Schedin, who has a bachelor’s of science degree in management information systems, can receive as many as five requests to troubleshoot problems or conduct data searches.
“For example, a researcher might want to see data for all dogs and cats that have had an ionized calcium level below 5.5 sometime over the last three years,” she says. “Within that data, I might run a subsearch for those animals that have had a specific test within seven days of the first one. I do the more complicated queries.”
Schedin joined the college in 2000 as a business analyst after spending 10 years providing computer support for a collection agency, Target Corporation, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. At that time, the VMC was still using paper records.
“My proudest and most exciting accomplishment to date was in 2010 when we—the informatics team—converted everything to electronic records,” Schedin notes. "We made a difference. Everyone can now get the data they need in a more timely manner. Records from referring veterinarians are here by the time the animal arrives, and going to electronic records has reduced costs by decreasing the amount of labor needed to manage and process paper records.”
About a year ago, Schedin started working on moving the hospital’s current system to a newer system that she expects to be fully launched in October 2017.
“The new system takes advantage of current technologies that will streamline information flow, increase accessibility, and decrease wait times,” she says. “We have spent quite a bit of time working on converting the 16 years of data in our current system to our new system, which is vital so we can continue to support retrospective research studies.”
With data migration basically complete, Schedin is now conducting unit and system testing to work out any bugs in the system and changes in protocols. Once the system goes live and is stabilized, she will begin implementing upgrades, updates, and fixes, while troubleshooting and supporting the needs of her colleagues throughout the VMC.
After a day of data and deskwork, Schedin loves to get outside and dig in her front-yard garden.
“It’s my own little habitat,” she says. “It’s fenced off from the backyard.” In addition to her numerous flower beds, Schedin’s front garden is a refuge for wild turkeys, deer, foxes, raccoons, and numerous species of birds. She offers food and water for the wildlife that visits her front yard, while her husband, Jerry, feeds and waters the backyard animals, which are almost all rescues: a horse, two goats, eight pot-bellied pigs, four dogs, two cats, and two rabbits.