WSVMA efforts to include veterinarians in HEAL-WA journal access program will proceed

  |   Legislative

Earlier this summer, the WSVMA sent a survey to members asking for input on a potential and meaningful resource for veterinarians, access to Health Evidence Resource for Washington State (HEAL-WA). HEAL-WA is the affordable online database of current, authoritative clinical information and educational resources for eligible healthcare practitioners in Washington State.

Veterinarians in private practice generally don’t have access to large collections of journals similar to human physicians and as a result, veterinarians rely on textbooks, conferences and online discussion forums like VIN for new information. Textbooks, expert opinion and discussion forums do not always provide the highest level of evidence for clinical decision making.

Thanks to a high response to our survey, we received overwhelming support directing the WSVMA to pass legislation in order to bring this program to the Washington veterinary community.

HEAL-WA is managed by the University of Washington in partnership with the Washington State Department of Health and is provided through an annual license surcharge to physicians, osteopaths, physician assistants, naturopaths, nurses, nurse practitioners, psychologists and other providers. Available resources include electronic textbooks, evidence-based and reference databases, and full text journals. The vast majority of current HEAL-WA users report that HEAL-WA contributes to higher quality of care, provides clinical value, results in better-informed clinical decisions, and provides them with new knowledge.

Passage of the bill authorizes an annual license surcharge of up to $25 for the service, although current fees for providers are set at $16 within Washington Administrative Code, a substantial discount to what it would cost to access full text journals individually.

As we prepare to move forward, the WSVMA has submitted a list of over 70 veterinary journals to HEAL-WA with the anticipation that a majority of them will be accessible, although the exact number won’t be known until the legislation is passed.

Stay tuned for more information after the first of the year. We’ll ask members to contact legislators with the message that this legislation is extremely important for animal health in Washington.


October 6, 2017