‘RAPTORMED’ Improving the Process of Caring for Birds of Prey

Screen shot of the RAPTORMED program
RAPTORMED has made it possible for the Southeastern Raptor Center at the College of Veterinary Medicine to maintain complete medical case records on its web site.

Most who have seen it will agree that seeing the eagle pre-game flight at Auburn University home football games is one of the most exciting and dramatic traditions in Southeastern Conference sports.

The eagle flight, though, is only one part of the mission of the Southeastern Raptor Center. Few might be aware of its rehabilitation mission – medically treating and rehabilitating sick or injured birds of prey for recovery and release back into the wild. The efficiency of that work has been dramatically improved with the addition of an online case management software, “RAPTORMED.”

RAPTORMED, developed by Dr. Dave Scott, a veterinarian with the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville, N.C., was purchased by the Southeastern Raptor Center at Auburn’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2015. It was expanded this year, and now, the center has its complete case management system on its web site with information fully accessible to the public.

“I cannot overly describe how much RAPTORMED has helped us in our operation,” said Dr. Seth Oster, an assistant clinical professor in the college’s Avian and Exotics Service, who serves as the primary veterinarian with the Southeastern Raptor Center.

“Before, all of our medical case records were manually developed and managed,” Dr. Oster said. “This took hours for a staff that basically is comprised of two full-time employees and a small group of volunteers.”

In addition to improving the process and management of medical case records, Dr. Oster says RAPTORMED also generates a number of reports and other documents that are federally required for raptor care programs.
RAPTORMED is designed for simplicity, Dr. Oster adds.

“The program has multiple screens,” he said. “The first is a list of the birds currently being cared for and treated at the center. There also is some center history that includes the total number of patients treated to-date; the number admitted in the current year; the number released, and other data.”
Searchers can click on the case number link to go to the next screen, which is the case record for that individual bird.

“It is a full and complete on-line medical record system,” Dr. Oster said.

RAPTORMED has proven to be valuable for teaching and research as well, according to Dr. Oster.

“We have a large number of veterinary students who serve part of their educational training in the avian service area,” he said. “RAPTORMED has made it easier for those students to access patient case information for their training and educational needs.”

The program also have value to researchers. “The records are an effective method of obtaining case information, and will allow for further research opportunities in the future,” Dr. Oster said.

The Southeastern Raptor Center handles more than 350 injured birds of prey annually, according to Dr. Oster. All patients are brought in by individuals or conservation groups. These birds are treated for medical illnesses or injuries, rehabilitated to the extent possible, and ultimately, birds whose recovery is sufficient to ensure survival, are released back into the wild.

Center staff also conduct educational programs throughout the Southeast using non-releasable raptors.
For more information about the Southeast Raptor Center, or, to access RAPTORMED, visit the center’s web site at: https://www.vetmed.auburn.edu/raptor/.

— Written by Mitch Emmons