KADENA AIR FORCE BASE, Okinawa, Japan (Jan. 22, 2015) -- The digital age has made all the difference for pet owners on Okinawa.
Pet owners with military-issued identification cards are no longer weighed down with a lifetime of veterinary records, thanks to an electronic records system that the Okinawa Veterinary Treatment Facility at Kadena Air Force Base implemented in April, 2014. With a quick scan of a pet's microchip, the secure web-based application called Remote Online Veterinary Record can digitally transfer records from Department of Defense veterinary clinics worldwide as customers move throughout the world.
"The new ROVR system is a great benefit to our customers because they no longer need to hand carry their pets' medical records to each new duty station," said Capt. Andrew Armstrong, officer-in-charge of the VTF military working dog and training section. "It is one less thing to worry about during a move."
Armstrong explained that ROVR also helps ensure continuity of care for pets, as new veterinarians can quickly view and understand a pet's medical and vaccination history. VTF staff can also add and update owners' contact information so lost pets can be identified by their microchip at vet clinics or animal shelters and reunited with their owners.
Customers like Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Rolando Brooks are already reaping the benefits. Brooks and his family recently moved to Okinawa with their dog Roscoe, a rat terrier and miniature Yorkshire terrier mix. "It was quick and easy," Brooks said of their experience transferring Roscoe's records during his first appointment Jan. 21.
Adding a new patient to the ROVR system takes 20-30 minutes. However, Okinawa VTF staff members work with pet owners to upload and transcribe their pet's information prior to the first appointment so owners spend less time waiting.
"We greatly appreciate our customers' understanding and patience since first implementing ROVR last year," said Armstrong. "There is a learning curve with any new technology and our customers may have experienced longer wait times for appointments, but we are back to seeing the same amount of patients as before," he said.
Referrals to other vet clinics
Some pet owners may have their pets seen at civilian veterinary clinics outside of Kadena Air Force Base, perhaps for the convenience of a clinic closer to home or for a service not offered at the Okinawa VTF, such as emergency and after hours care. Okinawa pet owners can turn to on the Okinawa VTF staff for a list of recommended facilities throughout the island.
"We encourage our customers to bring in copies of their pets' records after they are seen at a veterinary clinic other than the Okinawa VTF so we can add the visit information to their pets' electronic medical records in the ROVR system, ensuring their pets' medical history is complete," said Armstrong. Clinic staff can upload everything from typed or handwritten information to photos, lab results and X-rays.
After a recent change in telephone systems, customers may now schedule and cancel appointments by calling 050-5865-3083. For general information, call 03-4580-0135 then dial 6-7597. From the United States, please call 1-512-672-7597. The VTF is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., except Wednesdays when they open at 10 a.m.
"We strive to provide the best possible care and service to our customers," said Armstrong. "As we care for more than 9,000 pets on Okinawa, we ask that everyone arrive on time for scheduled appointments and call to cancel if they will not be able to make it."
Customers are encouraged to like the Okinawa VTF Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OkinawaVeterinaryTreatmentFacility to stay up to date on news, social events and changes to services as well as helpful information regarding owning and caring for pets.
The clinic is located in Building 731, near the end of Davis Drive and north of the 18th Medical Group and the Erwin Professional Military Education Center.