Features and Upgrades Planned for WRMD

First off, we would like to thank all our users and their flexibility in adapting their organization to use Wildlife Rehabilitation MD. From our travels to other facilities we have seen many different ways to record and disseminate information. It is not easy to change procedures within any wildlife rehabilitation organization, yet our users have done it! Wildlife will benefit greatly, from your actions.

One of our goals has been to incorporate the best ideas from what individuals and organizations have shared with us, and to add them into WRMD. We want to share with you what new features and upgrades are planned for WRMD. Below is our to do list for the next year. Our list is endless, but we are trying to keep to a development plan. Our hope  is to have accomplished many of the items before the end of 2014. Some features will be added very soon. Others will be added during the 2014-2015 change over.

Features and Upgrades to Come Sooner Than Later

  1. Add the ability to choose which fields you see in the “List Records” screen (done).
  2. Allow users to log into multiple accounts with the same credentials (done).
  3. Allow users to search for records across all years (done).
  4. Add Lab and Prescription rechecks which will show up in the recheck reports.
  5. Create a more useful husbandry extension.
  6. A complete redesign of the analytics section with more user control of what data is being reported.

Features and Upgrades That Will Occur at the End of the Year

  1. Add the ability to identify siblings and/or foster families.
  2. Add the ability to transfer records to another facility.
  3. Allow homecare users, sub-permitted and satellite rehabers to login and only see their records as well as allow other accounts to see and collaborate on their records.
  4. Update how enclosure’s are recorded to better track where an animal is and where it has been.
  5. Add the ability to identify feathers and anatomical locations of concern on body map images.
  6. Update the age terms to standardized terminology.
  7. Adoption of the Clinical Wildlife Health Initiative terminology.

Many of the above features will require user input before being adopted into WRMD. As we begin to work on a new feature we will be reaching out to our users for their input as well as presenting our ideas of how a new feature might work.

We continue to appreciate feedback from our users. If you think you have an amazing idea that would benefit WRMD and our community please do not hesitate to let us know.

Extension of the Month: Prescriptions

The Prescriptions extension is the very first extension we created and one of the most valuable, long term. Every veterinarian and every rehabilitator has their own prescriptions they give to wildlife and it is hard to know what is right and what is not. If our community can correctly record medications and the overall effectiveness of these prescriptions, we may finally have solid evidence of what seems to work and what obviously does not work. Please consider using this extension.

If you need to learn how to activate prescriptions please visit http://help.wrmd.org/video/extending-wildlife-rehabilitation-md/

About the Prescriptions Extension

Prescriptions is a very important extension. Ideally this one should be activated at all times. Any animal on medications should have their prescriptions recorded in this extension. This is great information to be collected so that later you can do simple research to see how well medications worked or didn’t work. You may get in a unique case and use certain drugs that work successfully. Years later, you may see a similar case and want to know what worked last time. It also can help you keep track of the entire medication history of the animal.

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 5.53.03 PM

How to use the Prescriptions Extension

When the Prescription extension is activated it will show up as one of the main tabs on top of the screen. This extension records the dose, the actual prescription, start date, end date and if the medication is a controlled substance. Frequency, dosage and route should be recorded within the Prescription field.

To fill in a prescription first click on the arrow icon. A box will pop up with a form to fill in your prescription. Once completed click submit. If you need to edit or delete the entry, click on the circle arrow icon to edit it or the trash can icon to delete it.

Preferably write your prescriptions similar to this format “Meloxicam 1.5mg/ml PO BID (0.5mg/kg)” If you do, then the prescription has a better chance of being printed properly. Prescriptions can be printed by clicking the checkbox to the left of the prescription and then clicking the printer icon above the checkboxes.

There are two prescription reports available on the Reports page. One reports the Prescriptions due today and the other is a Controlled substance log of all prescriptions that use a controlled substance.

The Autocomplete extension can be a very useful extension to the Prescription field if you use the same prescriptions many times.


Heartbleed Bug, What You Need To Know

heartbleedYou may have already heard about the internet security Heartbleed Bug that is making big news at the moment. To spare you the details and to just get to what the bug is; websites that have an S in the https://… part of the url are supposed transmit your data securely. As it turns out, many were not. This was not because of their malicious intent but simply a programing error in the protocol that makes the S do it’s job.

As you can see, https://wrmd.org has the S in it because we want(ed) your data to be transmitted securely. Fortunately the fix to the Heartbleed Bug is very simple. The software that implements the security just needs to be upgraded. We have already made this change on our servers and https://wrmd.org is no longer effected by this bug.

As for the other 958,919,788 websites out there in the world all you can do is hope they update their software as well. It is reasonable to believe that all the major online companies will very soon or have done so already.

What Happens if Devin Gets Hit by a Bus?

Devin DombrowskiAs much as I don’t like the thought of getting hit by a bus, it’s something that I have to think about as Wildlife Rehabilitation MD grows. What happens if I really do get hit by a bus? What happens if I decide I’ve had enough of this and I move to Belize permanently? What happens if California falls into the ocean? What happens if…

Basically, What is the Backup Plan?

First of all, I don’t have any plans to run away or get hit by a bus. That said, life is unpredictable and Wildlife Rehabilitation MD is becoming a really big deal, so a backup plan has become more and more relevant. When we first started envisioning Wildlife Rehabilitation MD there were three guiding rules that we wanted to always adhere by. The first rule is that we wanted the database to be as user-friendly as possible. From the feedback we are getting it sounds like we’re doing well on that front. The second rule is to ensure the integrity of the data, which includes the integrity and longevity of the entire service. Since day one, I have been planting seeds and documenting things that could be used in the event of my demise. For example all of the code that is used to create Wildlife Rehabilitation MD is documented and version controlled. In other words it can always be re-created, redeployed or rolled back in the event that any of those are needed. Also, the entire database is backed up twice a day and could be easily restored if there was a catastrophic failure.

But Who Would Do This If Devin Really Was Hit by a Bus?

Many of the seeds that I’ve been planting are the people I/we’ve brought in to help do all the work that’s needed. For example, we now have another developer and a designer working with us. We also have a couple of people doing some customer support and tutorial writings. We’ve also given a confidential document with all of the passwords and authentication for all the services we use, to a lawyer.

What About the Financial Longevity?

Another good and common question, since we are offering a free service to a community that is not known for its financial abundance. The simple answer is that right now we are fortunate that our expenses are not too much and we have been very fortunate with our donations received. It’s true that as we grow our expenses will likely increase, so we are exploring alternative ways to help fund our cause and welcome the chance to speak with potential investors. Ultimately our most valuable assets are the users, so as we grow and our expense increase we are also becoming more relevant and catching the attention of agencies and universities that want to help us.

I Believe That We Are Here to Stay

Like any fledgling start-up we are as fragile as a baby. But the truth is that we are achieving great growth and actually developing a solution to a worldwide problem. The people that have joined us and are supporting us financially all believe in our cause. We are not only helping the wildlife rehabilitation community but can also make a true impact in wildlife conservation.

Wildlife Rehabilitation MD is stable and if from this point on we never made any changes then all would be well. But life demands changes and if I do get hit by a bus, I feel confident that the WRMD team as well as the WRMD users will join together and continue this service.

Devin Dombrowski
Wildlife Rehabilitation MD co-founder

A Critical Moment in the Development of WRMD

To all Wildlife Rehabilitation MD Users,

Devin and RachelWe feel that WRMD is at a critical moment in it’s development. It has been designed, tested and used and we are now at a time where we are very visible to the entire rehabilitation community. We now need to help support our fellow rehabilitators who are attempting this transitions. When you first sign-up and look at the database, it might be intimidating. There is a lot to work with and navigate around, especially if you are not familiar with computers. We have noticed that some centers get excited, sign-up and stop using the database. It is important that everybody understands that this database can be as simple or as complex as you want and it can adapt to your needs. If all you record is the species, date admitted and final disposition, you have made a giant contribution to wildlife rehabilitation. The more data recorded, the larger your contribution to the rehabilitation community and the wildlife we serve.

We are doing our best to share this database and help as many facilities as possible. We want you and your rehabilitation community to help support our efforts in getting the word out and helping other facilities in your area that might be transitioning to a digital system. Many centers and individuals are doing this in their communities already and the impact is obvious. We are noticing that as rehabilitation centers begin to actively use WRMD, other centers near them begin to sign up.

Our only invested interest in your decision to use WRMD is what the data can accomplish for wildlife. This is an amazing gift for all of us, because of what can be achieved as a community. Our mission stands firm “Sharing our experiences to save more lives”. The reason we have poured our heart and soul into this system is to make it easier for rehabilitation centers to record data for their own needs and for the needs of wildlife rehabilitation and it’s future.

At some later date, if your facility decides to participate, we may have enough data collected amongst all the wildlife systems to make a significant change in the welfare of wildlife. Imagine having enough data to really monitor the effects of cats, rodenticides, windmills and other impacts on wildlife. With this data, we could contribute to nation wide policy changes. This could possibly be one of the greatest scientific contributions to wildlife, ever.