Unpacking VMX 2024 – An Unconventional Take on Vet Med’s Biggest Conference

The Buzz About AI

At this year’s NAVC’s Veterinary Meeting & Expo (VMX), the buzzword everyone heard was definitely AI. It seemed this year that everyone has slapped AI into something, highlighting the industry’s shift towards tech-driven solutions.

However, the novelty is wearing thin, with companies making their debut without bringing anything groundbreaking to the table. The presence of AI, especially in voice dictation, has become so prevalent that it’s nearing saturation. It’s clear the industry is riding the wave of digital transformation, but with so many players in the AI game, standing out requires more than just tech speak. It’s about showing real-world impact.

Standing out as the only fully integrated AI solution in the PIMS landscape, Digitail showcases a commitment to innovation in a sea of repetitive offerings and add-on products. They’re not just riding the wave; they’re helping steer it, showing how AI can tangibly enhance veterinary practices and pet care.

A Shift in the Social and Corporate Landscape

VMX 2024 wasn’t just about the products and tech; it was also a reflection of the evolving dynamics within the veterinary community.

In terms of consolidator presence, there was a noticeable dial-down. The usual voices of large corporate groups seemed more reserved, suggesting a possible strategic shift in their market approach. It signaled a potential strategic rethinking or an adaptation to the changing narratives of the veterinary world. Were they taking a backseat intentionally or recalibrating their strategies? Only time will tell, but it’s a development worth watching.

The Rebound from COVID

A positive takeaway from VMX 2024 is its rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic. Attendance numbers seemed to finally surpass pre-pandemic levels, indicating a strong recovery and renewed interest in veterinary gatherings.

In a slightly humorous, if not ironic note, amidst all the handshakes and shared laughs, there might have been a few sneezes and sniffles, too. With such a packed house, it wouldn’t be surprising if a few attendees left with more than just brochures and business cards. It’s almost as if VMX was making up for lost time, giving a whole new meaning to ‘going viral’ in the veterinary community!

Jokes aside, the overwhelming attendance at VMX 2024 signals a vibrant future for veterinary gatherings, with the community eager to reconnect and engage face-to-face after a prolonged period of virtual interactions.

The Rise of Technician Support

This year also marked a significant step towards recognizing veterinary technicians. The debut of a dedicated technician lounge and increased focus on technician-specific continuing education (CE) reflect a growing acknowledgment of their crucial role in the veterinary field.

Technician Village: More Than Just a Space

The introduction of the Nurse and Technician Village, sponsored by Royal Canin, wasn’t just a physical space. It was a statement. Located at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, this zone became a hub for technicians to mingle, relax, and feel valued. The Bird Bath’s Ryan Leech can attest to how strict they were about only letting techs in 😜

This shift towards greater recognition and support for technicians is a win not just for them but for the entire veterinary community, as it moves towards a more inclusive and well-rounded approach to care.

CE That Speaks Directly to Techs

The CE offerings at VMX 2024 were a buffet of knowledge, with over 1,200 hours of content. What stood out was the range of topics in the Veterinary Nurses/Technicians track. It covered everything from Small Animal care to Practice Management, echoing a clear message: Technicians are multifaceted professionals deserving of a diverse and rich educational experience.

Sessions like “Think Like a Vet Tech and Not Like a Doctor” by Amy Newfield, “The Veterinary Technician’s Role in Expanded Access to Care” by Kara M Burns, and others reflected the diverse skills and roles of technicians. This focus on technician-specific education is not just a nod to their importance but a crucial step in empowering them to take on more advanced roles in veterinary care.

The Takeaway

So, what does all this mean for the veterinary community? It’s a reminder that staying ahead isn’t just about embracing the latest buzzword but understanding and responding to the nuanced shifts in the industry. It’s about recognizing the importance of every community member, from technicians to pet parents, and delivering solutions that cater to their unique needs. VMX 2024 may not have been groundbreaking in terms of technological advancements, but it was a significant step forward in understanding and adapting to the evolving landscape of veterinary care.

What’s next? Digitail has some exciting new things to share this year and looks forward to seeing everyone in Vegas for WVC 2024!