Early 2020 Updates and Important Information

Now That Most Of the Reporting Is Done..

December and January are two of the busiest months for WRMD. Reporting takes its toll on everybody. We  work really hard to make sure that everybody’s reports are functioning correctly and that giant reports are not crashing our servers, which has happened a few times. Every year or two we have to upgrade our servers to handle all of the activity that happens this time of year, and we  will be upgrading again soon. Thank you for your patience. 

NWRA Symposium

WRMD will be attending the NWRA Symposium this year in South Padre Island, Texas – Feb 25-29. If you are also attending we would love to meet you! Bring any and all questions, concerns, comments and feedback to us, or just come by and say hi.  We will also be presenting on Thursday morning from 8:30-9:30AM and hope to see you there!

We are especially looking for feedback for our proposed new Husbandry extension. If you have been waiting patiently for this extension please come and chat with us. We are looking for suggestions and advice on recording husbandry information.

Analytics

Devin, our developer, has been working extra hard to improve the Analytics section of WRMD. We want our users to be able to view their data in whatever way they need. All I can say is that what he is creating is absolutely beautiful! Seriously, the graphs are like artwork and the information they provide is invaluable. Devin  is doing everything he can to get it done so he can unveil it during our presentation at the NWRA symposium (fingers crossed). Things to look forward to!

M-Opinion & the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act is under attack and birds need you to speak for them. The language within this 100+ year old treaty has been scrutinized and recently a new proposed regulation change is underway. The M-Opinion  proposes to redefine the meaning of the “incidental take”. The change effectively allows anybody who “accidentally” destroys, kills, or harms any MBTA protected bird, nest or egg to do so with no penalty. An example of this would be an oil spill where birds are not intentionally harmed. Currently, oil spillers have to pay a price for this. The M-Opinion would make it so they could get off scot-free. The same would be true of a tree-trimming company did not intend to wipe out an entire colony of herons and their nests. They may now experience no repercussions. On a smaller level, we may no longer be able to tell the public that removing a nest that has baby birds in it is illegal. We all know how devastating this could be to all MBTA protected birds. USFW has finally opened this up for public comment and we need to comment this until they have no more space on their server to hold all the comments. Spread this far and wide. We only have until March 19, 2020. Let’s do everything we can to stop this change. https://www.regulations.gov/document

A Great Question From a User

This is from a new user and it inspired me to write this blog:

“I have just one more question as well. I am using the program for our intakes only. We are a larger facility and still growing and the rehabilitation staff have a paperwork system that works really well for them as far as exams, feedings, vet visits etc. Does utilizing your system just for what we need hurt us in anyway? I was not sure if I just used it for intakes and out comes and used our paper system for the rehab side of things if that would be an issue in anyway.”

Here is our response: 

We designed WRMD so that it could be used any way you want and need. Most wildlife rehabilitation organizations that have existed for 10 years or more started with paper records, which is completely fine. However, one of the big reasons we developed WRMD was to create a tool that can save institutional knowledge in a useful, easy-to-search format. When we ask, “What medication did we give that patient 5 years ago that worked, because we now have a similar situation?”, we can easily and quickly find the answer in WRMD. With paper you really can’t do that. So much information is lost on paperwork. On the flip side I do think that it can work great for many tasks such as husbandry charts or prescription forms that can be written on and checked off. WRMD provides many paper forms within our “Paper Form” extension that, when used, translate nicely into the digital format of WRMD. 

We have found that the normal progression of our WRMD users is to start small. Many rehabilitators just add in their intakes and dispositions to get the reports and basic stats they need. Once they get used to using WRMD and can navigate more easily, they slowly start to incorporate its’ other features. Features like the Prescriptions extension can automatically calculate the dose your patient from the last recorded weight once you add information into your Prescription Formulary. In order to do that you need to use Locations and record in weights. If you use the Rechecks feature, a daily calendar is automatically generated for you on a daily basis, but you have to add in these rechecks.  All these little features help save you time that could be used on animal care instead of paperwork and calendars.. How you use WRMD is up to you. We support you, whatever way you decide to use WRMD. Our first priority is to make things easy for our users, and everything else comes later.

– Rachel Avilla

We’re Hiring a Technical Writer!

Organization Description

The Wild Neighbors Database Project is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization which supports international wildlife rehabilitation by developing online data management software and helping implement its use worldwide. Through the continuing development of data management software, including WRMD, we are enabling wildlife rehabilitators to collect, manage and analyze data from their patients, so that together we can continue to improve our best practices and make a difference in all wild lives.

Reports To

The Technical Writer will report to Rachel Avilla, Customer Relations Manager.

Job Overview

This position will be responsible for creating content for the WRMD knowledge base. We are looking for a person that can take the detailed and nuanced technical attributes of WRMD and distill them down to conceptual and task-based documentation that any end user can understand and use.

This is a contracted job until the project is completed. After that point the contract may be extended for maintenance of the knowledge base and to help answer daily questions that come through WRMD’s forum.

Responsibilities and Duties include but are not limited to:

  • Developing and writing user documentation on how to use WRMD’s many features.
  • Developing and applying uniform style guide for the formatting, approval, presentation, and release of technical documents.
  • Help create online video tutorial screencasts that compliment the written tutorials.
  • Create a glossary of WRMD terms and uses.
  • Write descriptions and overviews of WRMD’s extensions.

Qualifications

  • Two years of experience working in wildlife rehabilitation.
  • Experience using WRMD.
  • Excellent technical writing skills.
  • Experience with WordPress.
  • Proficiency with computers and learning new software.
  • Ability to be a self-starter and take a project and run with it.

Budget

The Wild Neighbors Database Project has a budget of $10,000 for this project. Payment plan will be negotiated depending on skills, output of work and timeline.

How to Apply

Please send a cover letter, resume, and an example written tutorial of any WRMD task to [email protected]. We will be accepting submissions until October 15, 2019.

2018 Recap and Plans for 2019

I’ll admit it. We’ve been terrible at keeping you informed about how WRMD is doing and what updates we are making. Sorry!

2018 was another busy year for us with lots of new wildlife rehabilitation organizations signing up, some major new features added. We also traveled to meet with our users as often as we could afford it.

In 2018 WRMD admitted an incredible 231,903 patients! That is a major increase over past years. These patients were admitted in by over 500 accounts across 15 countries. Speaking of countries, we are proud to welcome organizations from South Korea, Ireland and Trinidad and Tobago!

We had some amazing milestones in 2018 that we are very proud of:

Wildlife Rehabilitation Medical Database was written into California legislation in Assembly Bill 1031. The Native California Wildlife Rehabilitation Voluntary Tax Contribution Fund allows California tax payers to make voluntary contributions into a competitive grant program whereby California wildlife rehabilitation organizations can apply for a grant, for the purposes of the recovery and rehabilitation of injured, sick, or orphaned wildlife, and conservation education. To be eligible to grant funding “The applicant shall maintain active participation in the Wildlife Rehabilitation Medical Database.”

On October 26 2018 the 1,000,000th patient was admitted into WRMD! A Great Horned Owl from Raymond California admitted to Fresno Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Services.

We (The Wild Neighbors Database Project) have been accepted as an Oiled Wildlife Care Network (OWCN) member organization. The OWCN is a statewide collective of trained wildlife care providers, regulatory agencies, academic institutions and wildlife organizations working to rescue and rehabilitate oiled wildlife in California. Over the past few years we have been developing a specialized version of WRMD to work specifically for oiled wildlife events. That project is nearing completion and we are now proud to be part of the OWCN response team if (hopefully never) an oil spill occurs in California.

Plans for 2019

In 2019 there will surely be many tweaks and updates but we do have 3 major changes to announce.

Entirely New Way to Generate Reports

Very very soon, WRMD, will have a new way to view and generate reports. In this new way, you will be able to favorite reports for quicker access and preview reports before printing, emailing or exporting them. Each reports will also have unique filters to allow you to modify them as needed. For example, in some reports you will be able to set the reporting dates or exclude certain species taxonomies. This new feature will be available in about 1 week. Expect a blog post detailing how this works.

Prescription Formulary

A commonly requested features is to allow users to maintain their own prescription formulary for common drug/medication prescriptions. This is number 2 on the to-do list. In the formulary you will be able to define a drug, dosage, concentration, route, frequency, duration and many other things. When your formulary is created, you can then choose a formula when writing a prescription to autopopulate the prescription fields. You will also be able to set the dose to be automatically calculated based on the patients last weight.

Species Notifications

Another common request is to have automatically triggered notifications if (for example) a certain species is admitted. We think this is a cool idea. These notifications could be sent by email and/or text message. We need to gather more information about how this might work and how you might use it so please tell us your thoughts.

Contributors

Lastly but not least, we would like to thank everybody that has made donations to our 501(c)(3). Your generosity is what keeps WRMD going, creating new features and answering your questions. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

The 2017 New Update is Coming!!!

This has been a very busy year for WRMD! During the last 12 months we have attended 7 events where WRMD was represented. We got to travel to 5 states and had the pleasure of visiting over a dozen organizations, most using WRMD and some not using WRMD. Never in our wildest dreams did we think our little database project would travel around the globe and be used by nearly 400 organizations in 46 US states and 11 countries!!!

Who do you Love?:

We appreciate all of the support and gratitude we receive from our dedicated wildlife rehabilitation community. It makes us so happy to know that WRMD has made a positive impact on your organizations. If anybody would like to add to our testimonials page we would happily post it during the new year. Just email me at [email protected] (Yes, I finally have an easy email address). If you email me a testimonial by Feb 1, 2018, you will be entered in a raffle to win a free Med, Large or X-Large WRMD teeshirt, or a Sergio Lub Wild Neighbors bracelet.

Annual Report Reminder:

This is the time of year most organizations are beginning to think about state and or federal reports. Please let us know if there is something not right with your report so we can fix it ASAP, and hopefully not at the last minute.

IMPORTANT: If your species are not coming up correctly on your reports, it is likely because you have species whose common names have been entered incorrectly, which categorizes them as “unidentified”. If you do a full search and export your patients class, order and family, you will be able to see all patients in your database that are unidentified.

2017 Update Release on Dec 25 (SERVER WILL BE DOWN):

We have been working all year on a very big update. This update has most of the additional suggestions and features that we have accumulated over the year. With this update we are also updating our servers, which should help in WRMD’s  overall speed and performance. After this update is released PLEASE feel free to contact us if something is not working as it should. With all updates not everything will be 100% perfect, but we have made sure that all reporting is as perfect as we can get it.

****IMPORTANT:  On December 25th WRMD will be down all day! Please plan to have no access to WRMD this day. Hopefully, you can take a much needed day off from data entry. On Dec 26th there will be a new and improved WRMD to use. ****

In the next Blog post we will outline all of the updates and new features we’ve  added to WRMD.

Thank you and have a good holiday season!!!

Resiliency in the Face of Disaster

Hi all,

This year Devin and I (Rachel) went to the Florida Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference just 10 days after hurricane Irma wrecked havoc on Florida. It was beautiful to see that even after such devastation the group still came together, supported each other and had their conference. It was a beautiful thing to see. Now in my home town, I am seeing the same thing happen.

As you may know by now, Northern California is experiencing a devastating series of fires. The Tubbs Fire, Atlas Fire, Sulfur Fire, Redwood Complex Fire, Pocket Fire, Nuns Fire…. The list goes on. It is my home turf and several of my family and friends have been affected and lost homes. Devin and I are however, safe for now. We may be surround on all sides, but our little valley seems to be okay this year. We just wanted everybody to know we are safe, vigilant and okay.

In the midst of this terrible tragedy our surrounding Wildlife Rehabilitation organizations have been helping each other out, sharing, switching and transporting patients. We are part of such a compassionate, caring, and wonderful community.

After hurricane Harvey, Irma and Maria it almost gives you hope, despite all of our differences, we can join together and help each other out. Especially our awesome worldwide Wildlife Rehabilitation Community.

The Power of Appreciation

It is mid-August! Hopefully there is light at the other end of the tunnel for most. During season we lay low. The last thing a wildlife rehabilitator needs in the middle of season is more stuff thrown at them. We understand.

However, this year we were taking a trip to New Mexico for other reasons. Now, when we travel anywhere, for any reason, it usually becomes a WRMD trip as well. We contacted 4 organizations in New Mexico that have accounts with us to see if they were able to take time in July, yes July, to quickly “haha” meet with us.

All 4 of the brave organizations agreed. So, in mid-July we visited:

Wildlife Rescue Inc, of New Mexico and Hawks Aloft joined our meeting with Wildlife Rescue Inc, as they work together a lot. We visited for a few hours and they had some really good questions as well as some very good suggestions, some of which will be implemented in the New Update (ETA in Oct.).

We also visited On a Wing and a Prayer, a small one woman operation working her tail off. Then we ended the trip visiting New Mexico Wildlife Center.

We would like to thank all these organizations and the people who welcomed us in and helped coordinate our visit (Cecilia, Jim, Mikal and Melissa), mid-season, for a chance to discuss what is working well with WRMD, what has been challenging, and where could we improve the user experience.

This is how we operate. This is how we develop and grow. This is how we can keep our finger on the pulse of wildlife rehabilitation. It is exhausting and a lot of work. However, every time we travel and visit our users we are rewarded ten fold with new ideas, suggestions and even sometimes praise, which is very nice…

I have to suggest to everybody, if you are a wildlife rehabilitator and you are traveling, find the organizations near you, call them up and try to visit. You will learn more then you can imagine and it continues to strengthen our community and the feeling that we are not doing this alone. We all do it a little different and we all do our best with what we have. Give appreciation to one another, we all are sacrificing parts of our lives to this crazy thing we do.

In the Heat of the Summer

Happy July to everybody. Hopefully by now patient loads have peaked and the beautiful light of autumn is just around the corner. We know that this is just about the most difficult time of year for most rehabbers. So, let me apologize immensely for the upsets in WRMD service.

It is not at all our intention to have issues in the middle of summer, we know how this can effect the daily routine. What appears to be happening right now, at the very peak of season, is an overwhelming amount of activity within WRMD. When this happens little ugly gremlins, that were not issues before, pop their heads up. There is so much traffic that certain functions get clogged up in the system and they can’t seem to clear themselves up.

As soon as we know there is an issue we go in and try to find the clog and fix it. Sometimes this takes a little time to fix. Every few years we also have to upgrade our severs, so this year we are likely to do it again. This will allow for more space and speed.

Thank you for your patience. We would also like to thank those individuals that notice an issue right away and contact us directly. That is a big help!

Spring Reminders: Please Read

The WRMD team is currently working to publish more information on how best to use WRMD. It is one thing to transition to using a whole new system. It is quite another to get to the point of using it appropriately.

In the past I have seen some very creative uses of WRMD that made sense, however they did not work with the use of a database. When WRMD is used appropriately it can be a powerful tool, when used a little to creatively it will muddle up your data and analytics. Here are a few reminders of appropriate use that I find are most commonly done a little, too creatively.

Choose a Common Name from the drop down menu

This one correction alone, can make the biggest difference to your data. I have Blogged a few times about the importance of species identification, The Issue with Common Names, February WRMD Update. In the background, WRMD has nearly every species that could possibly be brought into wildlife rehabilitation, globally. We have imported the IUCN Red List to WRMD, which list almost every species and its status, whether it is Least Threatened to Extinct (we didn’t import extinct animals). In a few cases, we have found species not on our list, and we added them as soon as we found out about them. Along with this import we also added the most commonly recognized Common Names for that species. That is why sometimes you can have both Common Pigeon and Rock Dove. In the background they are the same species and the first Common Name used, will be the name used in any reports or analytics.

Please identify your patients and use the Common Name from the drop down menu or your data will be inaccurate. Sometimes you have to type it in completely in order to see it on the drop down. If you can’t find it, message us so we can look into it. 

Record ages in the field for Age

On several occasions I have seen Duckling, Fawn or even Baby Bird as a Common Name. These are not Common Names. It is slang for the age of a species. The database will pretty much ignore this Common Name and your data will be completely off. You need to record the Common Name as Mallard, Mule Deer or House Finch and then in the Initial Exam tab you can record the age.

Do not use an age term as a Common Name.

Each patients needs it’s own record

Something else I have seen that really kinda hurts, is when a Common Name is recorded as ducklings x5. This defeats the whole purpose of using a database. Not only can the Common Name not be identified but you are losing your overall numbers. Right below the Common Name field there is a field for Number of Patients, it is really easy to create 5 records. What happens if 2 of those ducklings die and 3 are released. How do you record that? How does that get translated on your State Report or the Federal Report? There are locations for all that information within WRMD, there is not need to jumble it up and make your data of no use to you.

Each patient needs it’s own record.

Educational animals have a spot for their Name and should recorded as Residents

A few times I have seen in Common Name (Education Barn Owl) or (Billy Bob the Barn Owl). Well, this is much like everything I have mentioned above. There is a location for the Name of an animal in the Cage Card, specifically for education animals and the large secret group or rehabbers that name their patients… For Resident patients they should maintain a pending Disposition and in the Location box you should record them as Resident within Holding at.

Education Animals can be recorded as Resident in the Location box and their Names can be recorded in the Cage Card box, in the Name field.

 

We have been told that one of the best things about WRMD is it’s ease of use. The compromise of allowing WRMD to be easy to use, we lose the ability to control how it is used. We think it is more important to have a system people can easily use then to be very strict and rigid on how it is used. Only through training and outreach can we eventually help people use it more efficiently, for their own benefit.

WRMD is NOT Hacked

Today we were alerted to a hacking event on our blog. It could easily bee seen with the message “Hacked By SA3D HaCk3D” on the dashboard within WRMD.

WRMD itself was NOT hacked. Your Data Is Safe.

Fortunately it was an easily resolution and all is safe now.

PS: If you are using WordPress for your organizations website, you should upgrade to version 4.7.2.

The Miracle of OWRMD

Oiled Wildlife Care Netowrk

The article below was written by Christine Fiorello, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACZM of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network. Christine, along with her colleagues at the OWCN, have commissioned us to develop a version of WRMD (called OWRMD) that specifically meets the record keeping needs of wildlife affected by oil spills in California. Our project has been under development for over a year and we are already seeing some very exciting results! A HUGE thanks to Christine Fiorello, Mike Ziccardi and the entire OWCN staff for including us in the project!

https://owcnblog.wordpress.com


Unlike my six-year-old, whose list to Santa is comprised mostly of toy weapons, my wishes for the New Year are less tangible. Less war, less poverty, less hunger, less deforestation, fewer emerging diseases, fewer extinctions, lower carbon emissions, no oil spills . . . . you get the idea. Given the current state of the world, it would probably take a miracle for any of those wishes to come true. But one miracle I am counting on is the promise of OWRMD!

Many, many years ago, Mike realized that an electronic medical record keeping system would be a huge boost to animal care during a spill response. After a LOT of work, angst, pain, blood, sweat, tears, and electronic device purchases, we are close to having a truly game-changing system in OWRMD, thanks to Devin Dombrowski and the Wild Neighbors Database Project (a non-profit that is already doing great work providing a free online medical records option for wildlife rehabilitators – follow the link to learn more or to donate).

OWRMD is a medical records database system that is purpose-built for the care of animals during an oil spill response, and it has been worth waiting for.  OWRMD is not exactly the same as the WRMD that is currently used in dozens of rehabilitation centers, but it is closely related. Many operations will be the same, and if you are comfortable with WRMD, getting comfortable with OWRMD will be a snap. It’s intuitive and has a lovely interface design, so even those who are not used to electronic medical records will become accustomed to it in no time.

It’s not quite finished yet, but for those of you who already use WRMD, you can understand how great a tool OWRMD will be. In the coming months, look out for opportunities to learn more about OWRMD, such as participating in drills or specific training sessions. At first, OWRMD will be for birds only, but we will be integrating other species into it as we move forward.

This holiday season, be safe, be healthy, be happy  . . . . and be thankful for whatever miracles come your way!

Thanks Christine!