On Jun 8, 2011, I attended the SAP Summit 2011 - The Future State. The 9.10 am topic for the panelists was "The Secrets of Making A Best-Run Government Run Better; The Changing Mandate; The Shocking Disasters; The Future State
The Panelists were: Dr Anthony M Cresswell, Deputy Director, Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany, NY, USA; Zaqy Mohamad, Member of Parliament, Choa Chu Kang GRC, Singapore and Adaire Fox-Martin, SVP, Industry Business Solutions, SAP Asia Pacific Japan.
Mr Zaqy spoke about the better use of social media by politicians to engage the segment of the public. Apparently this had not been done effectively in the recent General Elections in Singapore if I heard Mr Zaqy Mohamad correctly.
The other panelist, Dr Anthony Cresswell talked about President Obama's Open Government's initiatives in the US and the difficulty of evaluating the key performance indicators of the services provided. It was an eye-opener for me when he said that over 80% of government computerisation projects fail.
What is the relevance of social media to veterinary surgeons in practice? There is a segment of the pet owners who are younger and would only be engaged through the use of social media. They will search for topics of relevance to their pet's illness and want to know which vet has the ability and experience to treat their beloved pets. Their own vet may not provide such a service.
Social media using webpages or blog requires the content to be created daily. There is now the twitter novel (short novels of 140 words are popular with netizens of China). Whatever the form, the contents must be updated daily or weekly to get a stream of "fans". Writing is very hard work for those who prefer not to touch a pen as there need to be research to produce a useful article. There are so many distractions and better things to do than to create good content after a hard day's work at the Surgery!
To illustrate the amount of work involved to produce a useful article, I will let readers know how I produced the article, "What Makes A Horse Racing Club Profitable?" This article was written in 1989 and the scanned pages are at Horses, starting with the first page at: http://www.asiahomes.com/dev/Stc1.JPG
On a recent encounter, 2 days ago on Jun 9, 2011, I met an aunty and her niece who brought a hamster with a large dangling ear wart to Toa Payoh Vets. This wart was initially very small but her vet said she would not operate due to the high anaesthetic risks. As the wart grew bigger over the last 4-5 months, her vet referred her to another vet whose location was quite far to her residence. So this aunty googled for "hamster, warts" and an asiahomes webpage, probably similar http://www.asiahomes.com/singaporetpvet/ popped out.
I was at the Surgery at that time and so I got the above-mentioned feedback from her. This episode demonstrated the culture and lifestyle of the younger generation. The aunty was around 30-40 years old. The niece was a teenager. I paid special attention to this case as I collaborated with Dr Vanessa to ensure that the outcome of anaesthesia was what the aunty hoped for. Signing an informed anaesthesia consent form is one thing. I don't usually request it but Dr Vanessa does.
What was important was that the hamster come out of the surgery room alive and biting (this hamster bites, the aunty had said). Obviously, I would bite if anybody messes around with my wart. The hamster was anaesthesized under isoflurane gas.
I kept a close eye on my assistant Mr Min telling him not to be distracted by looking for sutures etc while anaesthesizing the hamster. At one time, his eyes and one hand were on a drawer to take out a packet of suture for Dr Vanessa.
I told him off not to do it. "Hamsters die because there is no 100% focus on anaesthesia by one person or the vet." Unfortunately, new vet assistants and new vets need to be mentored closely. There is no other way to prevent anaesthetic deaths in hamsters. Deaths on the operating table damages the reputation of Toa Payoh Vets and I am very strict on anaesthetic training and procedures to ensure that no healthy pets should die on the operating table at all times.
Dr Vanessa excised the wart and sutured the wound. I proposed no suturing as the wound in the ear was so small and that bleeding would stop with pressure. As each vet has his or her own ideas, I will not interfere whenever an associate vet operates in most cases but I do monitor the handwork - the post-operation complications and the complaints. This is my duty of care for Toa Payoh Vets clientele.
Dr Vanessa decided to stitch up the wound. I recommended potassium permanganate to stop the bleeding. Each vet has his or her approach to a surgical case and there are several satisfactory outcomes on any approach. Bleeding still came back as I had predicted in this case. This bleeding was not life-threatening.
The hamster was now free of "shouldering" a burden. Actually, the wart of 1.5 cm x 1.2 cm x 0.5 cm looked so much like one of those big dangling ear rings worn by some ladies. The hamster scratched his left ear where the wound was. The aunty was concerned. So I proposed a paper e-collar. "The hamster hates it very much," I said to the aunty as she put the e-collar on. The hamster used all his two hands to pull out the hamster. Vigorously and angrily I think. So, no more e-collar. "Just use the clean tissue to wipe off the blood," I advised the aunty. "And take the medication." The niece did not say a word but I presumed she was the real owner of this beloved hamster and was happy.
P.S. What are the Secrets of Making A Best-Run Government Run Better? There were no clear list of secrets enumerated as far as I know. The political party who knows how to engage the Generation Y effectively will be the one to win their votes and get the increased mandate to govern if the Generation Y is the vote swinger. The Government is now said to be a business. So, the Government who provides "public value" to the citizens will be a better-run government.