MedARKS Workshop Manual by mercy2beans112


									MedARKS Workshop Manual
 Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
           1-4 April 2000

       J. Andrew Teare, DVM
         Dalen Agnew, DVM
          Cyd S. Teare, MT
         Chris Tabaka, DVM

    MedARKS Technical Support
      Voice: (904) 277-1645
       Fax: (904) 277-1645

                                                MedARKS Workshop Manual
Basic Concepts
    Computers - general information and principles for successful use ..................................................5
       A short glossary of terms...............................................................................................................5
       Things that are bad for your computer, your records and your peace of mind..............................9
       Backup copies - make them or else!............................................................................................10
       Paperless records ? ......................................................................................................................11
    MedARKS - general guidelines for using the program....................................................................11
       The Escape key (<Esc>)..............................................................................................................12
       Function keys ..............................................................................................................................12
       Menu organization.......................................................................................................................13
       Utilities and data dictionaries......................................................................................................15
MedARKS modules
    Anesthesia records ...........................................................................................................................18
       Data entry ....................................................................................................................................18
        1. Animal Identification ............................................................................................................18
        2. Baseline animal information .................................................................................................19
        3. Anesthetic drug, dose and related information .....................................................................20
        4. Information regarding the immobilization and the recovery ................................................21
        5. Physiological data .................................................................................................................22
        6. Comments .............................................................................................................................23
       Anesthesia Reports......................................................................................................................23
       Anesthesia Utilities .....................................................................................................................24
    Parasitology records .........................................................................................................................25
       Data entry ....................................................................................................................................25
       Parasitology Examination Schedule............................................................................................26
       Parasitology Reports....................................................................................................................26
       Parasitology Utilities ...................................................................................................................27
    Prescription (treatment) records.......................................................................................................27
       Data entry ....................................................................................................................................27
       Prescription Scheduling...............................................................................................................31
       Prescription Reports ....................................................................................................................31
       Prescription Utilities....................................................................................................................32
    Analysis of Blood, Urine and Other Fluids......................................................................................32
       Data entry ....................................................................................................................................33
       Blood, Urine and Other Fluid Analysis Reports .........................................................................33
       Blood, Urine and Other Fluid Analysis Utilities .........................................................................34
    Cryopreservation (Serum) Bank Records - Sample storage.............................................................35
       Data entry ....................................................................................................................................35
       Cryopreservation Bank Reports ..................................................................................................35
       Cryopreservation Bank Utilities ..................................................................................................36
    Clinical text records .........................................................................................................................36
       Data entry ....................................................................................................................................37
       Master Problem List Options ......................................................................................................38
       Clinical Notes Reports ................................................................................................................38
      Clinical Notes Utilities................................................................................................................ 39
   Pathology records ............................................................................................................................ 40
      Data entry.................................................................................................................................... 40
      Pathology Reports ....................................................................................................................... 42
      Pathology Utilities ...................................................................................................................... 43
      Pathology Module - Special Features ......................................................................................... 45
   Reports and Record Selection Criteria
      Filters explained.......................................................................................................................... 46
   Electronic Data Transfer and Information Sharing
      Sending clinical pathology records to ISIS ................................................................................. 47
        Creating an ISIS data transfer file - the nuts and bolts ............................................................. 47
      Library disks ............................................................................................................................... 48
      Sending a medical history to another institution: ....................................................................... 48
      Sending medical records to SSP Medical advisors..................................................................... 49
      Loading a medical history from another institution.................................................................... 49
   Special features
      Standard Text Dictionary (< F5> pick list)................................................................................ 49
      Non-accessioned specimens........................................................................................................ 49
      Full-screen browse of reports...................................................................................................... 50
   Exercises ......................................................................................................................................... 51
Advanced Topics
   General data consistency
      Abbreviations.............................................................................................................................. 55
      Dictionaries ................................................................................................................................. 55
      User-defined pick lists ................................................................................................................ 56
      Data Quality Utilities .................................................................................................................. 56
   Clinical Notes - Problems and Text
      Text Editing (MedARKS temporary clipboard) ......................................................................... 56
      Standard Text Entries (MedARKS permanent clipboard) .......................................................... 57
      Defining a Formal Clinical Problem and Adding to the Master Problem List ........................... 57
      Organizing your text records (pseudoclinicians) ........................................................................ 58
      Interface with the prescription and weight modules ................................................................... 59
      Interface with other modules from within Clinical Notes........................................................... 60
   Pathology Records
      User-defined field ....................................................................................................................... 61
      SSP Necropsy, Sample collection and Research protocols......................................................... 61
      Importing Computerized Text into MedARKS: ......................................................................... 62
   Exercises ......................................................................................................................................... 63
   Hardware requirements and recommendations for MedARKS 5 .................................................... 64
   Critical files in MedARKS 5 ........................................................................................................... 66
   Suggested Backup Procedures for MedARKS ................................................................................ 68
   Creating an icon for MedARKS in Windows 3®............................................................................ 70
   Creating an icon for MedARKS in Windows 95®.......................................................................... 73
   Moving the ARKS files to the MedARKS computer ...................................................................... 74
   MedARKS Files/Support on the World Wide Web ........................................................................ 75
    Accessing Library (Reference) Data Disks ......................................................................................76
    Merging records on a medical history transfer disk into MedARKS 5.3.........................................77
    Contributing blood analysis results to the ISIS Physiological Reference Values Project................78
    Suggestions for tracking experimental contraceptive methods with MedARKS.............................80
    Text editing commands in MedARKS.............................................................................................81
    Common Problems and Questions...................................................................................................83
      Error message - Corrupted or missing memo file .......................................................................83
      Can I run MedARKS on a network? ...........................................................................................83

Basic Concepts

Computers - general information and principles for successful use
There is a tendency to view computers as glorified adding machines, which is not surprising given the origins of the
computer as a glorified adding machine. However, the modern PC (personal computer) has evolved into a whole new beast
and is truly a multifunction tool. Most of us will never be involved in calculating pi to a million decimal places, so the
ability to perform vast calculations will be a side issue when compared to the capacity of this machine to manage
information (store, search, manipulate and retrieve). When it comes to medical records, think of your PC as an electronic
filing cabinet, complete with an electronic secretary and you will have a better concept of the capabilities of this little box.

This concept of your PC as an electronic file cabinet extends into the terminology that is commonly used. Information is
stored in units called “files” and some operating systems (e.g. Windows) organize those files into “folders”. In DOS, these
“folders” are called directories or subdirectories. Just as folders allow you to organize a physical file cabinet, directories
and subdirectories allow you to organize the programs and data files in your electronic file cabinet (computer).

Some keyboard basics
Anyone that has used a typewriter is familiar with the “shift” key. Computer keyboards also have a shift key and it serves
essentially the same function as on a typewriter. However, PC keyboards have other keys that allow the user to interact with
the program to trigger specific events or actions. Two of these keys, the control and alternate keys are used like another
shift key (i.e., these keys are held down and used in combination with another key). These two keys are commonly
abbreviated <Ctrl> and <Alt>. Your keyboards should also have a series of 12 general function keys that are usually
abbreviated <F1> through <F12>, 4 arrow keys (up, down, left and right) and 6 specific function keys (insert, delete, home,
end, page up and page down). In this manuscript, specific key combinations will be expressed in the format <Ctrl><A> and
should be interpreted as “hold down the control key and then press the A key”.

A short glossary of terms
Hardware and Software - what is the difference?
Hardware is all the physical parts of your computer (those things you can touch). It is the “file cabinet” portion of the
information management system. Sooner or later you will have hardware problems (i.e. some component will fail).
Historically, computer hardware problems required the service of highly trained repair technicians. The unique aspect of
PC’s is that almost anyone can learn to diagnose minor problems and make repairs by replacing the non-functioning part.
For the first time, computer users are empowered with a measure of control over hardware repairs. However, if the thought
of disassembling your PC does not appeal to you, don’t panic; there are many people happy to make a living repairing PC’s.

Computers require very detailed sets of instructions to perform useful work. Software is the set of instructions (also called
programs) that give the computer the abilities to perform tasks. Software is the “electronic secretary” portion of the
information management system. Software takes care of the retrieval and storage of information (onto hard or floppy disks)
and performs tasks that are assigned (e.g. spell checking this document). Without software, a computer is just a box of
silicon and metal that consumes power. There are many classes of software (e.g. word processing software, games,
databases, graphics, accounting and statistical). MedARKS is a database software program that is written in a database
language called FoxPro. The main function of MedARKS is to save and access information (medical records) in an
organized fashion.

Speaking Computerese - understanding your favorite computer nerd

    bit           This is the smallest piece of information handled be a computer. It is the equivalent of a single switch
                  that can be either open or closed (on or off). These switches form the binary code (0-1) that computers
                  use to store information. The good news is that you do not need to learn binary code and you will never
                  have to worry about bits to use your computer effectively. However, it may be useful concept to know
                  that your computer is not actually storing letters and numbers, but only 0's and 1's. It is also a term you
                  can use to impress colleagues at the ice breaker.
    byte          It turns out that single bits are too small to be very useful (even to computers). Reading a single bit
                  equivalent to reading the first letter in this paragraph. Just as we tend to use letters in groups (words) to
                  code information, computers handle bits in clusters that are usually a multiple of 8 (2³). A single cluster
                  of 8 bits is known as a byte. Bytes are the basic unit of measurement for hard disks, memory and files,
                  although it is often used in combination with a prefix like kilo-, mega- or giga- to make the number
                  more manageable.
    Kb            A kilobyte. Logically you would think that this is 1000 bytes. Close, but not quite correct. Remember
                  that this is a binary system at its heart, so a kilobyte is actually the binary number that first exceeds 1000
                  (210 bytes or 1024 bytes). In the real world, most of us find that rounding to 1000 is close enough.
    Mb            A megabyte. Approximately a million bytes (slightly more). Read the definition for a kilobyte and if
                  you feel ambitious you can calculate the binary number that first exceeds one million to find out exactly
                  how many bytes are in a megabyte.
    Gb            A gigabyte. Approximately a billion bytes. Again, I will leave it to you to calculate the binary number
                  that first exceeds one billion if you have a desire to find out exactly how many bytes are in a gigabyte.
    floppy disk   This is a disk of magnetic media (similar to the material in cassette tapes) that can be used to store
                  information. Just like magnetic tape usually comes packaged as a cassette, floppy disks come wrapped
                  in a protective container, and the entire assembly is called a floppy diskette. Floppy diskettes for the
                  modern PC come in 2 sizes (5.25" and 3.5") and several flavors (double-density and high-density are
                  the most common). Know what flavor and size of diskette you have available; trying to use a double
                  density diskette as a high-density diskette can make the diskette unreliable (i.e. you might lose

                  A. The 5.25" diskette was the original size but is now almost extinct. The plastic case covering the
                  magnetic media was flexible and part of the media was exposed, so you had to be quite careful with
                  these diskettes to avoid damage; folding and/or spilled coffee will quickly render these diskettes useless
                  and result in the loss of any information on the disk. For IBM - compatible computers, the 5.25"
                  diskette comes in several flavors.
                       1. Single-sided: Only stores information on one side of the disk (the original flavor!)
                       2. Double-sided, double density: Able to store information on both sides and able to store the
                       information more densely. These diskettes hold 360 Kb of information. The box holding this type
                       of diskette is usually labeled as 2 DD (2 sides, Double Density).
                       3. Double-sided, high density: The data is packed even tighter on these diskettes, so they are able
                       to hold 1.2 Mb of information. The box holding this type of diskette is usually labeled as 2 HD.

                  B. The 3.5" diskette, smaller and protected by a hard plastic case, is much more robust and in just a few
                  years has become the industry standard. In addition to the hard plastic case, the slot where the magnetic
                  disk is exposed for reading (by the computer) is covered by a retractable metal or plastic flap. When the
                  diskette is out of the computer, it is completely protected from casual damage. However, despite the
                  rigid case around the disk, it is not a hard disk (the case may be hard, but the disk inside is still very thin
                  and floppy).
                        1. Double-sided, double-density: Able to store 720 Kb of information (yes, it does hold more than
                        the 5.25" double density). You can recognize this type of diskette even without other labels since
                        the plastic case has a small hole in only one corner.
                        2. Double-sided, high-density: The diskette can hold 1.44 Mb of information. There are small
                        holes in two corners of the plastic case.

hard disk      As the name implies, this type of disk is rigid (actually made of metal). As a result, the disk can spin
               much faster which allows more data to be packed onto the same area. In 1986, the original hard disks
               for PC’s held 10 Mb of information. In just over a decade, the manufacturers have increased the
               capacity of hard disks and decreased their size, increasing the information density by incredible
               amounts. Don’t confuse memory size with hard disk size. Hard disk size controls how much
               information can be stored (i.e. the size of your file cabinet). Memory is where the instructions
               (programs) are kept when a program is running; this impacts the size of the program and the speed at
               which the program runs (i.e. the speed and capabilities of the electronic secretary).
ROM            Read Only Memory. Any form of information storage media that can be read by the computer (i.e.
               information can be accessed), but which cannot be altered by the computer. The most common form
               that you will deal with is the compact disk (CD-ROM).
RAM            Random Access Memory. The memory used by your computer to hold the operating system, the
               instructions being executed (program) and the information being manipulated. Running MedARKS in
               DOS requires only 4 Mb of RAM, while if you are using Windows 3 as the operating system, 8 Mb will
               be required. However, most new computers come with Windows 95 and 16 Mb of memory, which is
               adequate to run MedARKS under this operating system (if your computer has less than 16 Mb of
               memory, you should not even be running Windows 95, and MedARKS will not work reliably). More
               memory will make a significant difference in the speed of the program.
CPU            Central Processing Unit. As the name implies, this is the heart of the computer. All program
               instructions are processed by this unit. There are several types of CPU’s in computers. The speed at
               which a program runs is controlled by many factors, but CPU power and CPU speed are two of the most
               critical. The speed at which the CPU processes instructions is measured in megahertz (MHz). Other
               things being equal, the higher the MHz, the faster the computer will run your programs.
                     1. 8086 chip: The original CPU found in the original IBM-PC; it ran at 4 MHz. Now mainly a
                     museum piece, except in the Zoo community where they still can be found performing vital
                     functions. If this is all you have available, you do not have enough CPU power to run MedARKS
                     5. Go talk to your director about upgrading your computer equipment.
                     2. 80286 or 286 chip: The second generation of CPU for IBM-type PC’s. More powerful and still
                     (unfortunately) in fairly common use. Still not powerful enough to run MedARKS 5.
                     3. 80386 or 386 chip: The third generation of CPU for IBM-type computers. Now you can run
                     MedARKS 5 (but you will be happier with a more powerful CPU).
                     4. 80486 or 486 chip: Several million transistors packed onto a 2" by 2" wafer of silicon. Now
                     you are into serious CPU power. These units run at minimum speed of 25 MHz and units running
                     at 100 MHz (or higher) are available.
                     5. Pentium chip: Just 3 years ago, a 100 MHz Pentium was a cutting edge machine. Now, with
                     enhanced flavors of Pentium available (MMX, Pentium II and Pentium III), a “plain vanilla”
                     Pentium computer is almost dull, but it still remains an extremely powerful and extremely fast
                     computer. Computers based on this CPU are the standard for the home PC market and it is
                     possible to find a basic Pentium-based computer for well under $1000.
floppy drive   The component of the computer that accepts a floppy diskette and allows the computer to retrieve
               information from the diskette (read the disk) and to store information on the diskette (write to the disk).
                Drives are made for 5.25" or 3.5" floppy diskettes, although now that the 3.5" diskette has come to
               dominate the industry, it is becoming more difficult to locate a 5.25" drive. Most floppy drives are
               capable of reading and writing either double density or high density diskettes (on an older machine you
               may find a floppy drive that can only read double density diskettes).
hard drive     A small box that contains a hard disk (or a vertical stack of hard disks) and all the components to allow
               reading and writing of information to the disk(s). Most hard drives are bolted into the computer,
               although there are some removable hard drives that can be pulled out. Hard drive capacities of 1.2 Gb
               (a 12,000% increase in capacity from the original PC) are now routinely included in most PC’s and even
               10 Gb hard drives are available for a very reasonable price. In this day and age, buy a computer with at
               least a 6 Gb hard drive. The cost of a larger hard drive will be minimal (compared to the overall
               computer cost).

    tape drive     As you would expect, this drive accepts a tape cassette. Several sizes of cassette are available with
                   different capacities. For many years, the cassette size known as DC2120 was probably the most
                   common for PC’s, but it held a maximum of only 250 Mb of information. As hard drives became
                   larger, higher capacity tape cassettes (up to 1.6 Gb capacity) have been developed. Tape drives are
                   used to make a copy (backup) of data and programs from the hard drive. The hard drive in your PC will
                   fail at some time. When the hard drive fails, you will lose access to all the information on the disk.
                   Having a copy of the information on the hard drive is the only way to recover that information (unless
                   you want to type it all in again). With large hard drives, putting a copy of all information onto floppy
                   diskettes gets impractical (it would take several hundred floppy diskettes to backup a 1 Gb drive). Tape
                   drives are slow and not appropriate for storage of information that needs to be accessed on a regular
                   basis. However, tape drives are perfect for easy backup of large amounts of data and can be fairly
    WORM           Write Once, Read Many. A type of disk drive that accepts a disk that looks like a blank compact disk.
    drive          The drive can write to the disk (using a laser), but once written the information cannot be changed.
                   However, it can be read many times (just like a CD). The disk typically hold 300 to 600 Mb of
                   information. Good for making archival backup copies of large amounts of data that do not change (e.g.
                   used by law firms to store copies of letters and other documents that are not altered once in the final
    CD drive       A drive that accepts compact disks. There are several types of CD formats available (audio, CD-ROM,
                   Kodak photo and CD-interactive). Most newer CD drives will accept all formats and combined with the
                   correct software, allows you to listen to music, run programs or look at photographs. Most CD’s hold
                   about 600 Mb of information. Just for your information, full stereo, CD quality music requires about 10
                   Mb of data for 1 minute of sound.
    OS             Operating System. The set of instructions (program) that give a computer a basic set of functions that
                   can be used by other programs. For example, the ability to write to the computer screen is a basic
                   function that almost all software needs. The operating system takes care of this kind of basic function,
                   so the higher level programs (like word processing programs) only have to issue general instructions.
                   The original PC operating system was DOS (Disk Operating System). Currently, the two most popular
                   PC operating systems are Windows 3 and Windows 95. Novell NetWare is an example of an operating
                   system that handles basic network functions (new versions of Windows also have networking functions
                   built in). Often operating systems build on each other (e.g. Windows 3 actually adds functions on top of
                   DOS, so you cannot run Windows 3 without also having DOS). Other operating systems that you may
                   hear mentioned are System 7 (Macintosh computers) and UNIX (runs on many types of computers).
    multitasking   The ability to run several programs simultaneously (e.g. to listen to an audio CD on your computer as
                   you write the handout for the MedARKS workshop). From a physical point of view, the computer is
                   only running one program at a time, but as it can switch between tasks (programs) many times a second
                   and work on each task for a few milliseconds, it appears to the user that the tasks are running
                   simultaneously. Multitasking is a function of the operating system. Windows allows multitasking,
                   while DOS has virtually no multitasking capabilities.
    MODEM          A device that converts computer files (digital information) into sound waves (acoustical information) to
                   be transmitted over phone lines and is also capable of converting sound waves back into digital
                   information. With a modem on each end of a phone line, two computers can exchange information.
    mouse          A device that translates movement of the device into movement of a cursor on the computer screen and
                   has 2 (or more) buttons that allows the device to signal the computer and control the flow of the
                   program. MedARKS is a mouse compatible program.
    Network        Any group of computers that are connected together so that information can be exchanged or shared
                   between the computers. MedARKS will run on a network, allowing several people to enter data

    LAN             Local Area Network: The most common form of network, the computers that are connected together are
                    in relatively close proximity (usually the same building). LAN’s are available in 2 flavors:
                    1. Client-server: Most of the programs and data reside on a single, quite powerful computer known as
                    the file server. The sole function of this computer is to send and receive information (files) from the
                    workstations which are usually less powerful PC’s (clients). The advantages lie in the centralization of
                    the programs and data (when a new program is available, it only has to be loaded onto a single computer
                    to give everyone access to the program). The disadvantages also lie in the centralization of the
                    programs and data (if the file server stops working, the network stops functioning).
                    2. Peer-to-peer: All computers on the network are essentially equal (some may be faster or have larger
                    hard disk) and information transfer can occur directly between any of the computers on the network. No
                    computer is critical to the system, so if one fails, the necessary information can be transferred to another
                    computer (from a backup copy) and the remainder of the network can continue to function. The
                    disadvantage can be in locating a particular file if you simply know that it is on the network, but you do
                    not know which computer hard disk contains that particular file.
    BBS             Bulletin Board Service: A computer with a modem and running software that allows it to be accessed by
                    another computer with a modem. The BBS computer functions like an electronic bulletin board (i.e.
                    you can post messages, general information or make request for information). If someone leaves a file
                    (information) on the BBS, you can retrieve that file onto your computer. ISIS ran a BBS for many
                    years, but now offers many of the same services via the World Wide Web.
    Internet        A worldwide group of computer networks (university, government and commercial) that are connected
                    together. Access to the Internet system allows you to send and receive information around the world.
    WWW             World Wide Web. Really a protocol for exchanging information (files) across the Internet, rather than a
                    physical entity. When you look at a Web page, your computer is actually retrieving a file from another
                    computer attached to the Internet. Because the file is written in a standard language (called HTML),
                    your Web-browser program can display the file correctly and retrieve other files (graphics, video,
                    audio) that are referenced by the original file. In addition, the Web page can contain references (links)
                    to other Web pages. Clicking on a web page link starts the process of connecting to the computer
                    containing that Web page, retrieving that Web page (file) and displaying the page. It is the linking of
                    pages that gives rise to the “web” (think of a spider web, with each intersection on the web representing
                    a page and the strands representing the links between pages).
    Web Page        Also called a Web site. A file or group of related files that can be accessed on the Internet and is
                    written in a standard language (format) known as HyperText Markup Language (HTML). If your
                    computer is running a program called a Web browser, you simply have to provide the location (address)
                    of the page (file) and the Web browser program will handle the connection to that Internet computer,
                    retrieval of the file and display of the contents of the file (text, graphics, video and/or audio
    Forum           An electronic bulletin board on the Internet. Anyone with access to the forum can post a message, read
                    messages posted by others and respond to posted messages. ISIS hosts a forum for International Zoo
                    Veterinarians through their Web site (
    List Server     Essentially, an E-mail address that automatically forwards any messages received to an entire list of
                    recipients. Groups of people with a common interest can use a list server to manage the exchange of E-
                    mail messages. While most E-mail programs will let you send a message to an entire group of people,
                    having everyone in a group maintain a list of addresses for the entire group quickly gets unmanageable
                    as the group changes. The list server takes care of maintaining the list of members. To send a message
                    to everyone in the group, you just send the message to the list server and a copy is forwarded to
                    everyone without you having to worry about who belongs to the group this week.

Things that are bad for your computer, your records and your peace of mind
Power Fluctuations
Most people are aware that high voltage surges can occur in power lines and that these voltage spikes can damage your
computer. Surge protectors are almost universally used to filter out these high voltage spikes and prevent computer damage.
 Most computer users are also aware that turning off the power to your computer while it is being used, causes the loss of
whatever work was residing in computer memory that had not been saved to a disk. Even worse than just losing the last
information entered, is that power failures can often cause file damage when you are using a database program (MedARKS
is a database program). Database programs differ fundamentally from most other computer programs (e.g., word processing
programs) that manipulate one file at a time. Database programs are usually manipulating a series of related files (at times,
MedARKS will have over 100 files in simultaneous use). When you add a record in a database program, information
usually must be added to several files to complete the “data transaction”. With data base programs, there is a critical period
of time when those multiple file changes (updates) exist in memory, but not all have been written to the disk. A power
failure during this period will result in a loss of the information in memory that was not written to the disk, causing a
“partial” data transaction and resulting in data files that are damaged (corrupted). Damaged files must be repaired or
replaced (from a backup copy). Mainframe data base programs have a feature called “transaction tracking” that allows you
to recover from this kind of problem by “rolling back” the data files to the last completed transaction (essentially repairing
the file). Most PC data base programs (including FoxPro for DOS) do not include this feature (at the time FoxPro was
originally written, PC’s were not powerful enough to simultaneously run a data base program and transaction tracking). The
newest generation of PC data base programs include transaction tracking (CPU’s are now much more powerful), so future
versions of MedARKS will probably be more robust in the face of power failures.

What is not commonly realized is that voltage drops (“brownouts”) can be just as bad as a power failure. Some of you may
have had the experience of sitting at a computer when the lights dim and your computer resets itself (reboot), even though
the power does not go off completely. It is easy to understand why this can damage files, since the voltage has dropped
enough that it has become the equivalent of pulling the plug on your computer. However, even a voltage drop that does not
restart the computer can still damage files. A surge protector provides no protection against power failures or voltage drops,
but an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) will keep your computer running during a power failure and supplement the
voltage during a brownout. If you live in an area where you have a significant number of power failures or brownouts, an
UPS can provide fairly cheap protect for your computer files.

Unfortunately, most people are aware that they can restart their computer by holding down the Control (Ctrl) and Alternate
(Alt) keys and pressing the Delete (Del) key. It is also unfortunate that most people do not realize that this is equivalent to
turning off your computer and turning it back on. Windows will give you a warning that you may lose unsaved information
when using this key combination, but fails to warn you that files may be damaged (see above). Restarting the computer with
this key combination, while using MedARKS, is one of the most common causes of MedARKS file damage. In short, avoid
this key combination at all costs.

Viruses - the electronic kind
As good clinicians, we would not consider allowing an animal to enter our institution without screening it for infectious
diseases, but most of us will transfer information into our computers (from home, from another computer or from the
Internet) without even thinking twice about it. Computers are susceptible to viruses, and, like the organic viruses that we
are more familiar with, computer viruses are self-replicating and can multiply quickly in an infected host. While many
computer viruses are fairly benign, there are some that are very destructive (think rabies). Computer viruses are not just
“scare tactics” designed to sell you another piece of software; they are a real threat to anyone that accepts information
(programs or data files) from any source (there was even one case where the disks being distributed by a commercial
software maker were found to be infected with a virus). The ISIS office receives several hundred disks a year from various
institutions around the world and every year they get a few infected disks (which means that the computers at the sending
institution are infected). A good preventative “medicine” program is just as important for your computer as for your animal
collection, so invest in some software to protect your computer files against viruses.

Magnetic fields
It is probably stating the obvious, but when you are dealing with information stored on a magnetic media (floppy or hard
disks), it is prudent to avoid exposing this media to magnets or strong magnetic fields. However, sometimes we don’t pay
attention to the local environment and sometimes there are people who are not aware of the hazard posed by magnets. If
you have floppy diskettes that are mysteriously developing “bad sectors” or other read/write problems, at a rate that seems
too high for normal diskette aging, at least think about magnets and make sure the diskettes are not being accidentally
exposed to a magnetic field.

Backup copies - make them or else!
The only way to avoid needing a backup copy of a critical file is to avoid using computers. Since, in this day and age,
avoiding computers is not generally advantageous to your career, virtually everyone will need a backup of a critical file at
some point in time. Your computer files can be damaged or destroyed by accident (e.g., delete the wrong file), by deliberate
mischief (e.g., a computer virus), by computer loss (e.g., theft, fire or hurricane), by hard disk failure (all hard disks fail
eventually and often without warning), by power surges (e.g., lightning strikes to the power grid), and by power failures.
Computer files differ from paper records in a very fundamental way. Paper sheets (records) in a file folder are independent
data events, but records in a computer file are not independent; each record in a computer file is linked to the next record in
a continuous chain of data events. Break that chain and you don’t just lose a record, you lose the entire chain beyond that
point. Imagine having a file cabinet full of medical records where if you removed a single sheet of paper from that cabinet,
and destroyed that record, then you rendered the entire file cabinet useless - wouldn’t you want to have a second copy of
that file cabinet for safety? Now imagine that the cabinet is not full of paper, but contains plates of steel covered with tiny
magnets and that the orientation of those millions of magnets encodes your information - now you don’t have to remove a
metal plate, you can destroy the entire file system by simply changing the orientation of a few of those magnets (makes you
realize just how reliable computers have to be to manipulate billions of these magnets every day and keep everything linked
together). I hope that this view of a computerized records system makes it clear why good backup procedures are critical.
Fail to keep backup copies of your critical files and sooner or later you will find yourself starting over with a nice, empty
“file cabinet”.

Paperless records ?
Some people view computerized records as a paperless system and there is at least one institution that actually uses
MedARKS as a paperless medical records system. I would argue that this is not appropriate. Even in the presence of
appropriate computer data safety programs (i.e., adequate backup procedures, virus protection, etc.), paper records should
be viewed as the ultimate data backup. While we do not believe that it is necessary to have the paper record system
completely up-to-date at all times, the paper files should contain most of the day-to-day information generated on a
specimen. At the time the specimen is de-accessioned (death or shipment), the closeout process on the specimen should
result in the generation of a complete set of paper records for the archival files.

MedARKS - general guidelines for using the program
MedARKS - why bother to computerize ?
Keeping good, complete, legible records will always require much more effort than simply keeping a few scribbled,
abbreviated notes to yourself. However, it is generally no longer considered acceptable to avoid the task of maintaining
good records. Once you have made the commitment to keep complete medical records, MedARKS simply becomes a tool
to help you to accomplish that goal with less effort.

Like most activities, computerizing your records will have both positive and negative aspects. On the negative side,
MedARKS is a computer program and (like any other program) there is a learning period before you become proficient and
comfortable when using the program. MedARKS is a program that allows a great deal of flexibility, but some adaptation to
a standardized record format is required. This can be the most difficult part, since as clinicians, we tend to hold very
personal views about the structure and content of our medical records. Accepting a medical records system, even when it
was designed by your peers, can be a difficult process (the “that is not the way I have done it” syndrome). This is much less
of an obstacle when learning to use a new spreadsheet or word processing program, although the same problem is faced to
some degree when trying to get someone to switch to a new word processor after years of using the same program.

So, what does MedARKS offer? Some aspects of the MedARKS program are basically secretarial in nature (e.g., producing
typed reports and filing the medical records by animal and in date order). Other parts of the program provide some decision
support by allowing you to easily access and summarize information in your existing records (e.g., using the anesthesia
taxonomic report to quickly review drugs and dosages used in previous immobilizations). The ability to access records
from other institutions that have been compiled onto library disks can also serve as a powerful reference tool. MedARKS
also has features designed to improve your productivity, allowing you to insert predefined sections of text into your records,
to quickly and easily create a complete medical record. You can also fill out simple worksheets that then allow volunteers

or other non-medical personnel to perform the data entry on fairly complex records. Finally, the software promotes
cooperative projects between institutions by providing records in a common format and by providing the means to easily
exchange and share those records.

The Escape key (<Esc>)
For most of the MedARKS program, this key serves to cancel the current program condition and return you to the previous
step in the program. Make a mistake during data entry, and the <Esc> key will allow you quickly “back up” to the
appropriate point in the program and correct the problem entry. The <Esc> key can also be used to terminate the printing of
long reports. On menus, pressing the <Esc> key will go back one level in the menu. Essentially, when all else fails, press
the <Esc> key.

Function keys
The function keys in MedARKS are described below:

     <F1>                        Accesses the Help files. The help system is not currently functioning, but will be available
                                 at some point in the future
     <Alt><F1>                   System configuration summary. Information from this screen may be requested by
                                 MedARKS technical support staff to help them solve a problem.
     <F2>                        For institutions running with multiple collections, the <F2> key provides a quick means to
                                 switch to a new collection. This key is only active when you are at a menu.
     <Ctrl><F2>                  In most memo (free-form text) fields, pressing <CTRL><F2> activates the spell check
     <F3>                        Expands a dictionary listing to include related dictionary entries based on the groupings of
                                 the current list
     <Alt><F4>                   In the clinical notes module, this key is used to indicate that a problem is chronic.
     <Ctrl><F4>                  In the clinical notes module, this key will mark a procedure to indicate that it is scheduled.
     <F5>                        When the <F5> key is active (most memo fields), pressing the key displays a list of
                                 standard text strings. Selecting an entry from the list will insert that text into the current
                                 text record. The text strings are defined through the utilities of each module. Think of this
                                 key as giving you access to a permanent clipboard from which you can grab a commonly
                                 used text entry and insert it directly into a record, saving considerable typing and ensuring
                                 consistency in data entry.
     <Alt><F5>                   In the clinical notes module, when the <F5> key is active, pressing <ALT><F5> pops up a
                                 list of standard, multiple line, text entries (forms). Selection of one of these “forms” will
                                 place all the text into the current text record.
     <F6>                        In the clinical notes module, allows you to switch between windows. In the medical text
                                 entry area, pressing <F6> will switch the cursor from the current record to the window
                                 displaying the previous records. Pressing <F6> will return the cursor back to the data
                                 entry window. This is useful when copying text from a previous record to the current
     <F7>                        This key is only used in the anesthesia module. It allows you to insert a drug record
                                 between two existing drug entries. This may be needed when editing an anesthesia record.
     <F8>                        Signals that the record should be deleted. MedARKS will almost always require you to
                                 confirm this action before actually removing the record.
     <F9>                        Accession number help. If the accession number is not known, pressing <F9> when
                                 MedARKS is waiting for an accession number will give you access to assistance in
                                 looking up an accession number based on information that is known (species and some
                                 other identification information).

    <Alt><F9>                       Non-accessioned specimen access. If the animal is not in the ARKS files (accessioned),
                                    pressing this key combination will allow you to access the non-accessioned specimen file
                                    and select an existing animal or add a new non-accessioned animal.
    <Ctrl><F9>                      An alternate means to access a specific record that used in the parasitology and pathology
                                    modules. In the parasitology module this key combination allows a search by the sample
                                    identification number. In the pathology module this combination allows a search by
                                    pathology case number.
    <F11>                           Will erase the contents of the current MedARKS data field.
    <F12>                           Will close a memo field that is being edited and save the text entered.
    <Alt><F12>                      When a report has been saved to the disk, the report may be viewed on the screen using
                                    this key combination (on page 50). Using this viewing process the viewer is able to scroll
                                    forward and backward through the report. This key combination can be used at any menu
    <Ctrl><Y>                       Same as <F11>
    <Ctrl><W>                       Same as <F12>
    <Ctrl><End>                     When editing a memo field, this is the same as <Ctrl><W> (save and exit). When inside a
                                    selection criteria window (filter), this key combination exits and closes the window.
    <+>                             When a yes/no question is posed, the plus key is the same as pressing the “Y” key.
    <->                             When a yes/no question is posed, the minus key is the same as pressing the “N” key.
    <Right Mouse Button>            Pressing the right button on the mouse is the same as the <Enter> key.

Insert Versus Typeover:
In the text editing windows, when the cursor is visible as a rectangular box you are in the typeover mode. This means that
what ever you type will overwrite anything that the cursor travels over. Pressing the <Insert> key will toggle the cursor to
an underscore (_). In this mode, text that you type will be inserted at the current cursor position (i.e., it will push all the text
following the cursor to the right).

Menu organization
MedARKS menus are organized into cascading levels, making the current menu level clear at a glance. All the modules
(parasitology, anesthesia, clinical notes, etc.) have 3 basic functions that are accessed through the module menus:
1) add or edit records (main module level)
2) retrieve data in the form of a variety of reports (module report menu)
3) utility programs (module utilities menu)

Main MedARKS Menu: The first level menu for MedARKS. This menu offers the access to the various record modules.

MedARKS second level menu: For each module, this menu provides access to Add/Edit records or to the third menu level
(report and utility menus).

MedARKS third level menu: This menu level offers a selection of reports or utilities for each module depending on which
choice was selected at the second menu level.

Utilities and data dictionaries
Utilities are programs that empower the user to validate their data, personalize each module to ease the task of data entry, or
customize the behavior of certain aspects of the module (e.g., pre-determine what reports are going to look like). When
MedARKS is delivered, there are a number of utilities that need to be run to customize your system. Some of the
parameters you set will depend on your hardware (e.g., the printer), while others will be determined by personal preference.
 Once these parameters have been set for your system, the values will be saved and used each time MedARKS is run. Of
course, the parameters can be changed if either the hardware or your preferences change.

There are system utilities and module utilities. System utilities are utilities that affect the entire MedARKS system. These
are accessed from the main MedARKS menu. Module utilities, in addition to providing customized settings for the module,
offer special functions or features that pertain only to that module. The module utilities menu can be accessed by selecting
choice number 5 from any main module menu.

Parameter setting utilities:
Within each MedARKS module are settings that control the behavior of that module or provide default values for particular
data fields. The settings that can be adjusted by the user are called parameters. An example of a parameter that can assist
with data entry is the list of default clinician initials for the clinical notes module. Rather than have to type in the clinician
initials (a data value that varies between institutions, but stays fairly constant within an institution) for each clinical text
record, a clinical notes module parameter can be set to hold this information. Then during data entry, you just pick from the
existing list. Similarly, in the clinical pathology module you can list the laboratories that your institution uses most
frequently, allowing the user to simply choose from a standard list for most records that are entered. The parameter utilities
may also allow access to the data file names for the module, but you should not attempt to reset these parameters without
consulting with MedARKS Technical Support staff.

Dictionaries utilities:
Each module has one or more dictionary (or authority) files that are used to help maintain data consistency within an
institution, and between institutions. The utility programs activated by the dictionary option will allow the user to customize
their dictionary file. MedARKS is delivered with fairly extensive set of dictionary files. The anesthesia and prescription
modules access a drug dictionary (contains most of the common generic drugs and trade names), while the parasitology
module dictionary contains a list of common parasites. The dictionary files are used to determine the full name and correct
spelling for an entry. Since data integrity is dependant on the dictionary file, it is very important that additions to the
dictionaries are accurate. The data in MedARKS can only be as accurate as the data you enter into these files.

In some modules, you may specify a preferred term as part of any dictionary entry and MedARKS then allows you to use
this preferred term in your records, but still keeps the full term behind the scenes. For example, if you prefer to see “spay”
on all of your records instead of “ovariohysterectomy”, you may select “spay” as your preferred term. MedARKS will
remember ovariohysterectomy internally but display spay in all your records and reports.

To maintain some consistency between institutions, there are some dictionary terms which are designated as ISIS standard
terms. You can modify the preferred term and/or synonyms for these terms, but you cannot modify the dictionary term


Dictionary Reports:
These utilities simply allow you to print or view the contents of a module dictionary. The format and options is dependent
on the dictionary being accessed.

Data Quality Utilities (Data Validation and Global Editing):
Over time, particularly if several different individuals are performing record entry, it becomes essential to check the quality
of the information in your records. MedARKS comes equipped to assist you in this task by providing data quality utilities
for each of the record modules. These utilities will help you locate variations or mistakes in your data and often aids in
correcting these problems. When an animals record arrives from another institution, these programs will help you identify
drugs, parasites or problems which are in the records from that institution, but not currently in your files. The validation
routines are MedARKS attempt to keep the “garbage in, garbage out” problem to a minimum. However, it should also be
stated that these utility programs should be used with great care since many are very powerful, global (potentially impacting
all records) editing routines.

The data validation and editing routines are as follows:
        Anesthesia:                                                    Fluid Analysis (Clinical Pathology):
        Drugs not in the dictionary file                               Verify against test dictionary
        Missing drug route code                                        Check differentials (add to 100%)
        Missing time that drug was given                               Check hematology records against normal range
        Missing bottle number entry for narcotic drugs                 Check chemistry records against normal range
        Missing an overall rating                                      Check for possible duplicate entries
        Missing clinician initials                                     Check that baseline and restraint data is complete
        Check for possible duplicate records                           Global edit of collection site
                                                                       Global edit of “Collected By” initials
          Parasitology:                                                Global edit of Hematology Laboratory
          Global edit of “Collected By” initials                       Global edit of “Hematology Analysis By” initials
          Global edit of “Examination By” initials                     Global edit of Chemistry Laboratory
          Global edit of “Purpose of Examination”                      Global edit of “Chemistry Analysis By” initials
          Global edit of Enclosure information
          Global edit of Department                                    Clinical Notes:
          Search and replace of Sample Descriptions                    Verify against Problem Dictionary
          Search and replace of Comments
          Validate Tests against Standard Choices                      Pathology:
          Validate Results Against Dictionary File                     Verify Diagnosis Records

          Remove old scheduled prescriptions
          Tuberculin tests without final results
          Global editing of clinician initials
          Global editing of prescribing initials

Sort, Pack and Index Utilities:
This utility allows for "housekeeping" of your files. When records are deleted, they are really just hidden from sight by the
program. Although they are no longer visible as part of your MedARKS records, they do take up space on your hard disk.
This utility will sort through your records, permanently eliminate those that were "deleted" (but still taking up space), and
reorder the remaining records. It is a good idea to use this utility once in a while as part of your MedARKS maintenance
tasks. There is a sort, pack and index utility for each module that accesses only the files for that module. In addition, there
is a sort, pack and index utility on the system utilities menu which will do the housekeeping on all of the modules of
MedARKS at one time. You will also be given the option to pack, sort and index the ARKS data files with the system sort,
pack and index. If you are having a problem with MedARKS, the sort, pack and index utility is often a good place to begin
trouble shooting and often simply running these utilities will resolve your problems.

Other Useful Utilities:
Calculate in-house reference values. This utility, found on the clinical pathology utility menu, will calculate the normal in-
house hematology and chemistry values for either a single species or all species with samples in your data base. Only
samples from animals with normal health will normally be included in the calculations. Occasionally you will need to
recalculate the reference ranges, as you add more data to MedARKS, to ensure that your in-house reference ranges reflect
your current data.

Set Order of Tests for Data Entry: This utility is found on the clinical pathology utility menu. This routine allows you to
specify a list of routine tests and the order of these tests for data entry for each laboratory in your routine laboratory list.
Since reports from different laboratories often have a different format, this utility allows you to "customize" your data entry
screens to request test results in the same order that they are reported by that laboratory. Obviously, this makes data entry a
much easier process.

Hematology/Chemistry/Serology ISIS Data Transfer: Found on the clinical pathology utility menu, this utility is used to
transfer clinical pathology information to ISIS (on page 78).

Edit/Update Sample Request File: Found on the pathology utilities menu, this utility assists with the tracking of in-house
live and dead animal sample requests, and SSP/TAG research protocols, tissue requests, and necropsy protocols.

Print Sample Request File: Also on the pathology utilities menu, this program will print one or more records from the
sample request file.

Medical records Data transfer: Located on the “Inventory and Medical History menu”, this utility will allow you to transfer
medical records to a floppy diskette or merge into your MedARKS records, medical information that has been sent on a
diskette from another institution ( on page 48 and on page 77).

                                                MedARKS modules
Anesthesia records
Value to the user!
Anesthesia is arguably the most important use of computerized medical data for the zoo veterinarian. If anesthesia is ever
going to become more standardized and leave the realm of personal cookbooks, we must pool the experiences of
veterinarians around the world. Collecting a standard set of information allows a veterinarian the opportunity to review all
the past anesthetic protocols, episodes, and experiences of an institution and access the experiences of other veterinarians in
an efficient and organized manner.

Overall Comments:
Like most of the MedARKS record modules, the anesthesia module can collect, organize and standardize a large amount of
information, perform calculations, pass relevant information to other record modules and retrieve information based on
selection criteria that can be either simple or quite complex. The initial design of the module, involving about a dozen zoo
veterinarians, resulted in broad specifications for the information that the program should be able to collect, and requests for
improvements from the users have lead to the addition of further data fields when the program was revised. A MedARKS
anesthesia record must contain a very basic set of facts, but the program is capable of collecting and organizing a very
comprehensive set of information related to the immobilization procedure.

Data collection:
In general, a record is generated every time an animal is anesthetized. The entire anesthetic episode, from initial evaluation
to induction to recovery is documented. While many veterinarians have developed their own anesthesia form, using the
suggested anesthesia data collection form (see appendix) will make MedARKS data entry very easy. Of course, any
personalized adaptation of this form that retains the basic organization and flow of the information will make life easier for
the data entry person. The worksheet also has many check boxes that makes the task of data recording much simpler and a
list of the common codes for use when filling out the record.

Data entry
After filling out the anesthesia form completely, it is time to enter the information into MedARKS. Select the anesthesia
module (main menu, option 1), and then select data entry (anesthesia menu, option 1). There are 6 basic sections to the data
entry process:
     1. Animal Identification
     2. Baseline animal information
     3. Anesthetic drug, dose and related information
     4. Information regarding the immobilization and the recovery
     5. Physiological data

1. Animal Identification

The initial prompt requests animal identification information. The default request is for entry of the ARKS accession
number (this is the simplest and most common way to identify an animal and is used throughout MedARKS). However,
when you do not know the accession number or when the animal does not have an accession number, there are 2 additional
options that will be useful. Your choices for identifying the animal are:

a)   Enter the accession number. The program checks the ARKS inventory files for information on this specimen. If the
     accession number exists, the program will display the species, accession number, house name, age, and sex on the
     screen. If the animal information is not correct or the program cannot locate the animal, the three most common
     reasons are:
     I. you entered the wrong accession number
     II. the animal has not been entered yet into ARKS. (i.e., it is new or your registrar made a mistake). You may either
              set this record aside until the ARKS inventory is updated or enter the record as a non-accessioned animal and
              convert to the correct number once the ARKS files are up-to-date.
     III. you have a multiple collection system and the wrong collection is active. Under these conditions, you are given the
              option to switch to another collection.

b) Get help locating the correct accession number. If you know some information about an animal (e.g., a name or band
   number), but not the accession number, then press <F9> to produce a help screen to track down the accession number
   for that specimen. You will be prompted to enter the species (common names will work, but the genus and/or species
   are the fastest if you know it!). A filter screen is produced, but unless you are dealing with a large group of individuals
   and need to filter to produce a shorter list, just press <Ctrl><End> to accept the default selection criteria. You will be
   shown a list of the accessioned animals that meet the selection criteria for that species. The list includes the accession
   number, sex, housename, tag/band, tattoo, and birth date. From this data, you should be able to identify the animal and
   you can simply point and click at the appropriate specimen. The program will automatically transfer the correct
   accession number to the data entry program.

c)   Enter a non-accessioned specimen record. If you are dealing with a non-accessioned specimen (on page 49), then press
     <Alt><F9>. This allows you to enter data for a non-accessioned animal. Again, you must first specify the genus and
     species. If there are any existing non-accessioned specimens for this species, a list will pop up. You can choose from
     this list or add a new one. If you add a specimen, you will be able to provide sex (unknown is valid), birth date or age
     (again, UNK or unknown is a valid response) and other identification information (e.g., a rehabilitation case number).
     Non-accessioned specimen records are not as convenient as accessioned records for either data entry or retrieval, but
     allow you to record medical records on specimens that are not in ARKS.

Once you have a specimen identified, the program will check to see if there are any previous anesthetic records on this
specimen. Existing records will be listed in date order. Your options at this point are to choose one of the existing records
for editing or add a new record. Click on the appropriate choice.

2. Baseline animal information

You will now be prompted to enter the baseline information for the animal. This is all information that can be collected
prior to the start of the immobilization procedure. Some of the baseline information is required (the program will not allow
you continue until an answer is specified), while other fields are optional. In addition, some data fields have an “auto-skip”
feature that can be switched on when you customize this module to your needs. The data fields and their status are:

     •   Date of the anesthetic procedure (required)
     •   Health status (required.)
     •   Pre-anesthesia fasting time (required.)
     •   Activity at the start of the procedure (required.)
     •   Demeanor (optional) (auto-skip)
     •   Environmental temperature (optional) (auto-skip)
     •   Humidity (optional) (auto-skip)
     •   Physical status/Anesthetic risk (optional)
     •   Immobilizing conditions (optional)
     •   Body condition (optional) (auto-skip)

Note: When there is a limited list of possible responses, a list of the valid responses appears on the screen. To make data
entry quick and easy, you need only press the number key next to the desired response (as listed on the worksheet). For
example, when prompted for health status, simply pressing either a <1> or <2> to indicate an answer of Normal or
Abnormal respectively. You can also indicate your choice by using the up and down arrow keys to select the appropriate
choice and then press <enter> to accept that choice or click on the correct response with the mouse.

Special notes:
Temperature: If a temperature is entered, the user will then be prompted to indicate if the units are Fahrenheit or Celsius.
The program will accept either <1> or <F> for Fahrenheit, or <2> or <C> for Celsius. All Fahrenheit values will be
converted to Celsius in the display, but both are printed on reports.
Physical status: The program will compare this entry to the health status entry and the user will be warned of any
discrepancies (like all warnings, this one can be ignored at the user's risk).
Body condition: The program will compare this entry to the health status. A warning is issued if the health status was
normal and the body condition was emaciated.
The <Esc> key can be used at any time also to back up one or more steps to correct data entry mistakes

3. Anesthetic drug, dose and related information

Any drug given during the procedure can be entered in this section. Data entry for each drug consists of a series of
questions relating to the drug's administration and effect. When performing data entry from the anesthesia worksheet, the
data prompts for each drug will comprise one row from the worksheet.

Classification of drug dose: (optional field) This field, in part, records your intention (or expected outcome) for the drug
dose being entered. If the initial drug(s) you give have the intent of producing immobilization, then this dose would be
classified as the immobilizing dose. Should the initial dose be too low, and more drug is required to reach the required
depth of anesthesia, then the extra drug given would be the supplemental dose. Finally, the doses of drug given during a
prolonged procedure to maintain the desired depth of anesthesia should be classified as maintenance doses. Confusion of
supplemental and maintenance doses is probably the most common misuse of this data field. However, once you understand
that supplemental doses are to supplement an initial immobilizing dose that failed to produce the desired effect, while
maintenance doses are to maintain the desired degree of anesthesia, the correct use of this data field should be clear. All the
dose classifications and their quick entry codes are as follows:
          P = Preanesthetic dose
          I = Immobilizing dose
          S = Supplemental dose
          M = Maintenance dose
          A or R = Antagonist or Reversal dose
          O = Other drug dose (i.e., antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, contraceptive implants, etc.)

Drug: (required field) Enter the first 4 letters of the drug administered using either the generic or trade name. The program
will check the master drug dictionary and locate one or more matching entries. If only a single entry is found, the program
will automatically fill in the full drug name. When there is more than one possible drug, a list of the possible drugs (based
on the letters entered) will be displayed and you will need to choose the appropriate entry from the list. If the drug is not
found (no matching entries), the user has, at this time, the option to add the drug to the drug dictionary.

Amount given: (required field) Only the digits need to be entered. The master drug list maintains a set of default units for
each drug and will add in the units portion automatically. If you are not using the normal default units for a particular dose,
the units can be edited.

Route: (optional field) Use a one or two letter code to specify the delivery route for the drug dose. The second letter codes
can only be used in cases where the first code indicates an injectable route. Any of the second letter codes can be used with
a valid first letter code. The codes are as follows:
          First code letter                                      Second code letter
          P = Polesyringe                                        M = intraMuscular
          B = Blowdart                                           V = intraVenous
          D = capture (metal) Dart                               P = intraPeritoneal
          N = Non-metal (plastic) dart                           S = Subcutaneous
          H = Hand syringe
          O = Oral
          F = Facemask
          T = endotracheal Tube
          V = Venous catheter
          C = Induction Chamber

In addition, IV, IM, IP and SQ are valid 2 letter codes that give the expected results. Finally, intraosseous and
intracoelomic can be chosen as valid delivery routes, but must be chosen from the list of routes during data entry (no
available short-cut code letters for the data entry process).

Time drug is given: (optional field) Enter the time the drug was administered (in 24 hour format!).
Note: In the module parameters, you can specify whether times will be given in absolute time (24 hour format) or relative to
the time of the first dose. The first time must always be given in absolute time.

Success of delivery: (optional field) The amount of drug actually delivered into the animal. Use one of the following
         C = Complete
         P = Partial
         1 = 10%
         2 = 20%
         3 = 30%
         4 = 40%
         5 = 50%
         6 = 60%
         7 = 70%
         8 = 80%
         9 = 90%
         N = None
The last success entry (none) is useful when attempting to account for controlled drugs. A missed dart has a delivery
success of 0% (none), but the narcotic or other controlled drug must still be accounted for. Entering the drug dose with a
success of none ensures that your controlled drug log will be accurate.

Effect or stage of anesthesia: (optional field) This field is only requested for anesthetic drugs and this is where you
indicate the maximum result observed (effect), for the drug and dose given to this point in the procedure. The short cut,
data entry codes are:
          0 = no effect
          1 = light sedation
          2 = heavy sedation
          3 = light anesthesia
          4 = surgical anesthesia
          5 = excessively deep
          6 = dead (think "deep 6!")

Time of effect: (optional field) The time that the effect recorded in the previous field was reached (in absolute or relative

Bottle number: (optional field) Usually used for tracking controlled drug usage. MedARKS can report on drug usage by
bottle number if this field is being used. If you are making full use of the drug tracking system, then for controlled
substances, MedARKS will validate the bottle number entered against the bottles that have been registered in the tracking

This section of the anesthesia record can contain as many drug entries as are needed. As soon as you finish one drug entry
(all fields), you will be prompted to start another drug entry. Essentially you will be in a continuous loop to collect drug and
dose information until you signal MedARKS that drug entry is complete. You signal to MedARKS that drug entry is
complete by either pressing <Ctrl><End> at the start of a new drug record.

4. Information regarding the immobilization and the recovery

This section of the record contains information that is generally collected after the start of the anesthetic procedure, but is
information that is only collected once for each anesthesia (e.g., weight). This section also contains your assessment of the
procedure; information that you will use in the future to help optimize drug dosages.

Time of initial effect: (optional field) This is the time at which you first observe some effect that can be attributed to the
initial dose of drug.

Time of sternal / lateral recumbency: (optional field) This is the time at which you first observe sternal or lateral

Body weight: (required field) Either an actual or estimated weight is acceptable. The weight may be entered in pounds or
kilograms, but all units will be converted to kilograms for storage. Both pounds and kilograms will be displayed in reports.

Endotracheal Tube Size: (optional field) If the route of administration for any drug has been by endotracheal tube, you
will be able to record the size of the tube for future reference. If no drug was given by endotracheal tube, the program will
automatically skip this field.

Occurrence of anesthetic complications: (optional field) There are 4 options for classification of anesthetic procedures
with regards to complications.
         1. None - no complications
         2. Minor - e.g., mild bradycardia
         3. Major - e.g., regurgitation that could lead to inhalation pneumonia
         4. Fatal - self-explanatory

Anesthetic recovery: (optional field) There are 5 options for classification of anesthetic procedures with regards to the
recovery period. There is a generic “abnormal” recovery choice and 3 more specific abnormal recovery categories. In all
cases of abnormal recovery, further details can be included in the comments section of the record. Recoveries can be
classified as:
          1. Normal
          2. Abnormal
          3. Prolonged
          4. Violent
          5. Renarcotized

Induction rating: (optional field) The first of 3 rating (induction, muscle relaxation and overall) for the anesthetic
procedure. This is your rating of the induction period for the anesthetic procedure. All the rating fields are categorized on
the same scale (poor to excellent).
        1. Excellent
        2. Good
        3. Fair
        4. Poor

Degree of muscle relaxation: (optional field) The rating for the state of muscular relaxation during the anesthetic

Overall Rating: (optional field) The overall rating for the anesthetic procedure.

Time of recovery and Recovery stage (at that time): (optional field) There are 2 places to record the stages of recovery
(same scale as used for drug effects) and the time that the animal reached that stage.

Veterinarian's initials: (optional field) The initials of the veterinarian responsible for the procedure.

Recorder's initials: (optional field)

5. Physiological data

The MedARKS anesthesia record allows you to record physiological data (heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure,
oxygen saturation and body temperature) that is collected during the procedure. You can also record the time that blood
samples are collected and the type of sample obtained (serum, EDTA, heparin, etc.). There are no limits on the number of
physiological data record that can be associated with each anesthetic procedure. As with drug entry, the program enters a
loop and continues to request physiological data until you signal that data entry is complete by pressing <Ctrl><End> or

<PgDn>. All physiological and blood collection data fields are optional and this entire section of the record can be turned
off through the module parameters. Information from the blood sample data fields will be passed to the hematology and
chemistry module to reduce data entry effort for those records.

Physiological data fields are:
        Time (of data collection): The absolute time must be entered here.
        Body Temperature: You will be asked to specify Fahrenheit or Celsius
        Heart rate: Measured in beats per minute.
        Respiratory rate: Measured in breathes per minute.
        Oxygen saturation: Measured in percentage.
        Blood pressure: Measured in mm of mercury with room for systolic, diastolic and average pressure.

Blood sample collection data fields are:
        Time (of sample collection): The absolute time must be entered here.
        Hematology sample: Indicate the type of anticoagulant used.
        Chemistry sample: Indicate serum or plasma.
        Collection site: The vein or artery used for sample collection.
        Collected by: Initials of person collecting the sample.


The final section of the anesthesia record allows you free-style text entry. The program has some text editing abilities (on
page 81). This area can be used to comment on any aspect of the anesthetic procedure; details on any complications,
problems during induction, the purpose of the procedure, or any notes on how the next procedure might be improved.
MedARKS will allow some record retrieval based on information in the comments, so consistency of data entry is helpful.
Standard text entries can be defined through the anesthesia module parameters, allowing to produce a list of common
purposes or problems that can be chosen from a pop-up list (see the section on data dictionaries starting on page 15).

Anesthesia Reports
Once the data is entered, you will want to retrieve it for use. Your choices are:

Individual Specimen report: This option allow the production of a complete anesthesia report on an individual specimen.
Records may be selected individually (from a list of all anesthesia records for that animals) or filtered by select criteria that
you apply to the records (e.g., only records where the animal was in normal health and fasted for 8-24 hours). Refer to the
section on filters (starting on page 46) for more information on selection criteria during record retrieval.

Taxonomic Group report: This option allows for the retrieval of all anesthesia records for a taxonomic group that you
specify. Again, selection criteria may be set to filter the records shown in the final report. Three output formats are
Full record: This prints the entire anesthesia record for each selected record
Long summary: A summary of each anesthesia record is distilled into 3 lines of procedure information plus one line for each
drug given during the procedure
Short summary: A summary of each anesthesia record is distilled into 2 lines of procedure information plus one line for each
anesthetic drug given during the procedure

Drug usage report: This option is mainly designed to account for all usage of narcotic and controlled substances.
However, it can print a report for any drug recognized by MedARKS. When prompted by the program, the user enters the
drug and the range of dates to be included in the report. The report consists of two sections:
        Summary of the drug usage organized by immobilization
        Summary of the drug usage organized by taxonomic group

Body weights report: This report allows access to weight records in several different formats (useful for quickly accessing
weight data or transferring this information to curators and keepers).

Daily activity report: Provides a simple, day by day listing of all immobilizations performed during a time period that you
specify. The report merely lists the date, common and scientific name of the animal immobilized, the accession number,
sex, and the first 30 characters of the comment section (it may be useful to remember this and use the first 30 characters for
a brief description of the purpose of each immobilization). At the end, a summary is produced which totals the number of
immobilizations performed on each taxonomic group recognized by ARKS (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish).
This last summary is available without the daily listing, allowing you to determine the total number of immobilizations in a
given period (useful for an annual report to the director of medical department activities).

Count of records report: This report gives an actual count of anesthesia records. The report can summarize for the entire
anesthesia data file, producing a list of the number of records for each species/subspecies. The report will also summarize
within a species or subspecies, producing a history of previous experiences and drugs used for that taxonomic grouping.

Retrieve a sequence of records: Sometimes there is a printing problem after data entry. Rather than having to print file
copies one at a time, this allows you to print a series of anesthesia records all at once.

Anesthesia Utilities
These are the nuts and bolts activities of the anesthesia module. With the options offered here, you can make the anesthesia
module work for you.

Edit/Update module parameters: This utility program is used to change the parameters that control data collection and
data entry choices for the anesthesia module. It is very important to run this utility to start the process of customizing
MedARKS to meet your preferences and needs (on page 15). Within the anesthesia module are several data fields which
can be turned "on" or "off" and lists that you can create to make data entry easier. The system is delivered with all the data
fields turned on and the custom lists empty. So, if you never collect humidity data, you can turn off this field, saving data
entry time.

Drug Dictionary Editing: MedARKS is delivered with an extensive list of drugs (generic and trade names) that are
recognized by the program. This utility program allows the user to customize the drug list that arrives with the program;
new generic and trade names can be added and drugs not used can be deleted.

Drug dictionary reports: Since the list of drugs can be expanded and customized, this option allows you to examine the
contents of the master drug list using any one of the four different report formats.
         Generic drugs in alphabetical order
         Trade name drugs and their generic drug contents
         Drugs with multiple components (compound drugs)
         Generic drugs and all the trade names and synonyms associated with each generic drug

Sort, Pack, and Index: This is a housekeeping function that is normally used to repair damaged index files (on page 16).

Transfer records for a specific drug: This allows an institution's anesthesia data to be easily downloaded and transferred
for cooperative programs.

Data quality: These utilities can be used to check your records for a variety of problems, including inconsistencies in data
entry, duplicate records and drug entries that are not in the dictionary.

Controlled Drug Tracking: MedARKS has always assisted with tracking of controlled drug usage (required by DEA), but
this group of utilities significantly expanded the capabilities of the system. The enhanced capabilities not only track the
drug usage for a particular bottle, but also can track other required information for the bottle, including the supplier, the lot
number, invoice number, and drug usage or losses. This is information important for DEA reporting, but information that
is not recorded in the MedARKS anesthesia record.

         Edit Bottle Information: The routine that allows you to record and edit information about a specific bottle

                  Bottle number
                  Date received
                  Manufacturing Lot Number
                  Expiration date
                  Invoice number
                  Total Amount in bottle
                  General notes on the bottle
                  Amount discarded and reasons for discard
                  Amount lost and reasons for loss
                  Date bottle was finished

         Report for a bottle: Searches both anesthesia and prescription records for records of drug use from a specific bottle
         number and prints a summary of all usage, any losses from the bottle and lists the amount that should be remaining
         in the bottle.

         Report for a vendor: Lists the bottles of controlled drugs that have been obtained from a specified vendor.

         List bottle numbers used in existing records: Searches existing records for bottle number information for a
         particular drug and produces a list of the bottle numbers that have been entered. Very useful for identifying
         typographical errors in the existing records. Having the correct bottle numbers is critical for retrieval in the drug
         usage reports.

Parasitology records
Value to the user!
One of the most common preventative medicine programs in zoological medicine is parasite control. This module of
MedARKS not only records the types of parasites seen within collection animals but also assists the clinician and technician
in scheduling regular parasite examinations. This module can be used for any type of parasitology evaluation, which
includes samples such as skin scrapings, or ear swabs as well as fecal samples.

Data Collection:
When a parasitology sample is submitted to the laboratory for evaluation, the results must be recorded. As with the
anesthesia module, a worksheet is usually used to record the data in a standard format to simplify the data entry process (see
appendix). Since the parasite control program is dependent on having up-to-date records available to the program, the data
entry step should as important as any other step in the parasitology examination process. With some experience, very rapid
record entry is possible into the parasitology module, so there is little excuse for not providing the clinician with printed
results for all parasitology examinations.

Data entry
Add/Edit Update Parasitology Examination Records:
Allows you to add new records and edit or delete existing parasitology records. MedARKS will accept data from both
accessioned and non-accessioned specimens and samples can linked to a single animal or to an entire group of animals. As
with all basic data entry options, the access password is required for access.

Change Parasitology Sample Identification Number:
Each sample examined and entered will be assigned a unique sample identification. All aspects of the data for that sample

(baseline information, animal(s), tests and results) are linked via that identification. If for some reason this sample
identification number needs to be changed, this option allows access to the routine that allows the sample identification to
be changed. The access password is required for use of this option.

Parasitology Examination Schedule
This feature assists with arranging the parasitology examination workload by providing a summary of parasitology samples
that are expected (scheduled examinations). This pending list of samples can be quickly examined and, if necessary, sample
requests can be moved to a different date to produce a more evenly distributed workload. This option will also produce
reports listing parasitology examinations that are on the schedule. One report is in a format suitable for the laboratory
personnel, while the other report will print “sample request forms” which can be distributed to the keepers.

Parasitology Reports:
Once parasite examination data has been entered there are several different retrieval capabilities. This menu option results
in the display of a third level menu that lists the various reports available.

Individual Specimen Records Report: This option will produce a report of the parasitology records for an accessioned
specimen. The report can contain the complete history for that accession number or retrieval may be specified to produce a
subset of the available examination records (e.g., records after a specified date).

Taxonomic Group Records Report: The taxonomic group report provides a summary of parasitology examination records
based on retrieval by the taxonomic group (species or subspecies). The report can be further restricted using the selection
criteria filter. The report is designed to enable a rapid evaluation of previous parasite problems in an entire taxonomic

Individual Parasitology Records: This report is similar to the Individual Specimen Report, however, the records may be
retrieved either by date of sample collection or sample identification number. The report can be further restricted using the
selection criteria filter. There is also an option to print a separate copy for each individual listed in a group sample record.

Due for Parasitology Examination: The last piece of data collected during entry of parasitology records is the date for
which the next parasitology examination should be scheduled. This option uses that information to produce a report of the
specimens due for an examination during a time period that you specify (e.g., next month). Two output formats are
available; a list format that is most useful for laboratory personnel and a “sample request form” that can be distributed to
keepers. These are the same reports that can be accessed through the parasitology examination schedule option.

Delinquent Parasitology Examinations: The Delinquent Examinations report will assist in running a parasite control
program by providing a list of accessioned specimens that have not been examined within a specified time period. For
example, if the parasite control program calls for examinations on all mammals every 6 months, this report can be used to
generate a list of mammals that have not been examined within the last 6 months. Any specimens listed on the report are
overdue for an examination (delinquent) and the appropriate sample requests can be made.

Count of Records Report: This report gives a counting summary of how many parasitology samples were submitted and/or
examined. The report can be further restricted using the selection criteria filter. The report is done for each taxon and each
type of test performed (useful for an annual report to the director regarding the activities of the medical department).

Summarize Parasitology Examinations: This summary report gives a simple report listing only the animals, date of
sample, tests and results. This report can be further restricted using the selection criteria filter.

Parasitology Results and Prescription Records: This report is a summary of parasitology examinations and
corresponding prescriptions. This report will help determine whether treatments have been prescribed, and their

Parasitology Utilities
This option also produces a tertiary level menu that gives access to the various utility programs used by the parasitology
module. The utility programs include:

Edit/Update module parameters: This utility program is used to change the parameters that control data collection and
data entry choices for the parasitology module. It is very important to run this utility to start the process of customizing
MedARKS to meet your preferences and needs (on page 15).

Add/Edit/Update Parasitology Dictionary: MedARKS is delivered with a file of parasites that are recognized by the
program. This utility program allows the user to customize the parasite list that arrives with the program.

Parasite Dictionary Reports: This option allows you to examine the contents of the dictionary file.

Sort, Pack, and Index: This is a housekeeping function, which is normally used to repair damaged index files (on page 16).

Rebuild Pointers File: More computer housekeeping. Don't worry about this unless you're really in trouble and you have
consulted a MedARKS expert.

Update Standardized Text and Forms Dictionary: This utility allows you to create and edit text entries that can easily be
inserted into your records during data entry with just a few keystrokes (on page 49).

Remove Old Sample Requests from Schedule: This utility is another housekeeping tool. This purges the scheduler of old
sample requests prior to a given date.

Data Quality – Validation and Edit Routines: These utilities can be used to check your records for a variety of problems,
including inconsistencies in data entry and parasite entries that are not in the dictionary file.

Prescription (treatment) records
Value to the user!
Tracking prescription and treatment success and failure is critical in monitoring animal health. Without a "Zoo Formulary,"
most zoo veterinarians are dependent on past experience to guide treatment decisions - a computer data base of this
information keeps this data safer and more easily retrievable than most human memories! Communication between the
prescriber, dispenser, and administrator of a treatment can also easily break down resulting in dangerous lapses in
medication or inaccurate assumptions about the success or failure of a treatment. Computer data bases can smooth over all
these problems, as well as assist in the calculations necessary to determine an animal's correct dose.

Overall comments:
In general, a record is generated every time a drug is given to an animal for a particular reason. The treatment module is
similar to other modules in that there are essentially 3 sections, a place to enter or edit prescriptions, a reports menu and a
utility menu. In this module, editing includes one program to convert scheduled treatments to active prescriptions, and
another to discontinue active prescriptions (i.e., it got better or it died!).

Data entry
Every time you wish to prescribe a drug (whether it be a vaccine, anthelmintic, antibiotic, or contraceptive), this program
can be used. As with the rest of the modules, MedARKS will accept data from both accessioned and non-accessioned
specimens. Prescription records in MedARKS may be written for an individual specimen or for an entire group of
specimens. The individual specimen prescription is the more common record, but in some cases it is not possible to know
the drug dose received by each individual (e.g., anthelmintic treatment of a herd by adding the drug to feed to which all
animals have access). Under these conditions, the MedARKS group prescription record is appropriate. With a group
prescription, the drug and the dose given to the entire group is recorded, along with information about the composition of
the group at the time of treatment. In a group record, no information is available about how the total drug amount was
divided among the specimens (although to calculate the total dose, you may have assumed that each animal was going to get
a particular dosage, like 10 mg/kg, and you should have also recorded this assumption in the prescription record). You can
also have the option of treating only those animals in the taxonomic group within a certain enclosure (assuming your ARKS
records are up to date.)

One of the more common misuses of the MedARKS prescription records is to enter a series of individual treatments as a
group record (e.g., individually vaccinating each zebra in your herd and then entering this as a group vaccination). While
most clinicians looking at the record would realize that the specified dose (e.g., 1 ml) of the vaccine was probably not
divided among the 23 zebras listed, the MedARKS program is not able to make this judgement. In addition, there are a few
situations where other clinicians may have difficulty deciding which is the correct interpretation of the information, so it is
imperative to understand the correct usage of these two types of records. In general, group prescriptions are for herds of
animals which are medicated all at once without separating them at all (i.e., Panacur to a herd of oryx mixed in their pellets.)

Recording multiple individual prescriptions as a group prescription will also cause other problems with MedARKS. First,
the default keeper instructions will be incorrect, since they will indicate that the drug dose should be given to the entire
group, rather than to each individual. This will require retyping the keeper instructions to provide the necessary clarity,
which is data entry effort that probably would not be needed if the records had been entered for each individual. In
addition, the program will only print a single copy of the keeper instructions form for recording compliance with the
prescription. While it is possible to record what treatment success was obtained for each animal on one sheet, it then
requires copying that single sheet to file in multiple individual animal records. Entering separate prescriptions for each
individual will result in a keeper instruction sheet for each animal and this sheet (when returned with keeper notations) can
then simply be filed with the rest of the medical records for this individual. Finally, when attempting to calculate drug usage
(useful for planning drug purchases and annual budget requirements), MedARKS will underestimate the total drug used for
each incorrect group record, since the program will assume that the recorded dose was the total dose used and not multiply
that amount by the number of individuals in the group.

It might appear that increased data entry time would be a major problem for multiple individual prescriptions, but after
entering the first prescription, MedARKS will allow you to simply duplicate the previous prescription for a new specimen.
This feature was added specifically to make it easier to handle multiple individual prescriptions, and as a result, it takes
only slightly more effort to enter multiple identical prescriptions that it takes to enter a single group prescription.

Add/Edit Prescription Information:
Accession number(s): The animal or animals associated with a prescription are the first information requested by the
program and is required information.

Drug to be Administered: (required field) Enter the drug using either the trade name or generic name. You may enter as
little as the first 3 letters of the name, and the program will then display all of the names from the drug dictionary that are
similar, allowing you to choose the most appropriate name and formulation. If a drug does not appear in the list, it is not in
the dictionary. You will be offered an opportunity to add the drug to the dictionary - make sure that you spell any additions
correctly as all your future records will be validated against this dictionary entry. It is also useful at some point to enter the
various concentrations and formulations available for an individual drug, as this will save data entry effort in the future.

Note: TB tests are slightly different. All TB tests should be entered as tuberculin. A list of the various types of tuberculin
will be displayed for your selection.

The date treatment is/will be started: (required field).

The Drug Calculator window will now appear. The calculator is designed to assist with the prescription process by
performing many common calculations for you. The fields available in this window include:

Loading Dose: This gives the opportunity to set a different initial dose for a prescription which may enable to the
drug to reach therapeutic levels faster. This field does not interact with the dosage calculator.

Dose: Enter just the digits of the dose - units of measurement are entered in a different field.

Units: The default units of measurement are determined by the dictionary, but can be changed if necessary (e.g. mg
may not be a useful measurement for phenylbutazone when dosing an elephant). The program also allows you to
prescribe in dispensing units. For example, it is possible to write a dose of 4 with units of "tablets" and if the size
of the tablet is defined in the drug concentration area, the program will convert the dose to the more appropriate
units (as defined by the units of measurement for the tablet). This is not very valuable for 500 mg tablets where the
calculation is easier to do in your head, but when prescribing 3.5 tablets containing 56.8 mg of a drug, it is a useful

Frequency of administration:. The standard choices are:

         SID                q24h
         BID                q48h
         TID                q72h
         QID                q7d
         q4h                q14d
         q6h                ad libitum
         q8h                as needed

Other choices can be entered by using the formula: qNh or qNd where N is the number of hours (h) or days (d).

Duration: The treatment duration can be entered as the number of days, or the number of treatments to give, or
UFN (until further notice). If you enter a number, the program will assume (default) that it is for days unless you
indicate that it is the total number of treatments.

Treatment duration units: You must decide if the number you entered for treatment duration is for days or
treatments. Simply check the appropriate one (point and click or just <enter>).

Route: There are 18 standard choices. Type in any of the standard two letter codes that you use routinely (e.g., PO,
IP, IM, IV, SQ, etc). If the program does not recognize the code that you have entered, the full list of routes will
be displayed. If the route that you desire is on the list, simply pick the appropriate choice from the list. When the
route is not on the default list, you can always use your own 2-letter code.

Formulation: Default values will often be obtained from the drug dictionary, but check the entry and correct if
necessary. There are many standard formulations; start by using the first two letters of the formulation when
entering data (e.g., SO = solution and SU = suspension). Again, if the program does not recognize the code that
you have entered, the full list of formulations will be displayed

Concentration: Default values are also obtained from the drug dictionary, but check that the information is correct.

Weight: The program will obtain the most recent actual weight available from the historical records. If no recent
actual weights are available, you can click on the "Get Last Weight" button to see if there are any recent estimates
in the prescription file. You can enter a weight if the program cannot locate the information or if you have more
recent information than is available on the computer.

Dosage: When combined with a treatment weight, the program can calculate the drug dose (amount of drug) from
this dosage (drug per unit body weight) information or the program can calculate the dosage prescribed if you
provide dose and weight information. Both these calculations can be useful.

          Dilution Calculation - You can enter the dilution factor you will use to prepare the final solution to administer.
          This will allow the computer to calculate the final volume of solution you will need to administer.

          Calculator Buttons (bottom right of window)
                   <Calculate Dose> Will fill in the dose and units fields if you have provided dosage and weight
                   <Calculate Dosage> Will fill in the dosage and dosage units fields if you have provided dose and weight
                   <Calculate Volume> With liquid prescriptions, this will show you the volume that will be given, based on
                   dose and concentration information.
                   <Get last weight> If the weight field is empty, this will check the medical records for weight information.
                   <Ok - done> Click on this button to move to the next data entry section.

The next few fields record the initials of the clinician writing the prescription and the person that dispenses the prescription,
along with date information and drug response information. The prescribing clinician initials are required if you want
MedARKS to insert a one-line summary of the prescription into the clinical text records.

Prescription purpose: The animal's active problems (obtained from clinical notes module) are automatically entered here.
You may edit, delete or add your own text to this field.

Comments and notes: This may contain a computer generated note (depending on your module parameters) that details the
preparation of the drug for administration (i.e., how many doses and what dilution and what size dose should be
administered). Any computer-generated notes can be deleted or edited. Other comments on the prescription can also be
entered here.

Keeper instructions: This part of the prescription record is printed directly onto the prescription compliance form that is
given to the keeper with the drug. The computer will generate a default set of instructions for the keeper and these are
generally accurate and concise. However, you can edit these instructions if necessary and your customized instructions will
be printed on the keeper form. Your description of the location for a topical treatment will also be entered here. You can
use the <F5> function key to access your own "pick list" of standard comments and/or keeper instructions (such as "Do not
give with milk products."). You can paste any of these comments into the keeper instructions with just a few keystrokes.

Daily Treatment Log: This section of the record collects information about the actual administration of the treatment, such
as the date, time, success of delivery, who administered the treatment, and any comments (such as "ate well in a banana.").
This information may not be available when you first write the prescription, but can be easily entered at a later time.

Prescription schedule: If this prescription needs to be repeated at a future date, you can now easily add that information to
the prescription scheduler. Simply indicate either the number of days to the next treatment (calculated from the end of the
current prescription) or enter an absolute date for the repeat of the current prescription. That information will be saved and
one of the standard reports will show you what prescriptions are coming due.

MedARKS can generate a one-line summary of the prescription and enter it into clinical notes. One parameter setting offers
you the opportunity to edit this line before it is saved into the clinical text records.

Finally, MedARKS will mark the prescription that you have just entered for printing when you exit the module. The
marking options are to:
         mark to print a keeper instruction/compliance sheet and a file copy
         mark to print just the keeper sheet
         mark to print just a file copy
         do not mark the record (no printed copy of the prescription will be produced)

You are now ready to go on to the next entry. MedARKS offers several options to help save data entry time for multiple

     1.   New prescription: Sends you back to the "Accession number:" prompt, ready for a completely new prescription


    2.   Different drug for same animal(s) as last prescription: Sends you back to the drug prompt and bypasses all the
         animal information, which remains the same as for the last prescription. Useful when you give several drugs to the
         same animal.

    3.   Same drug as previous prescription, but new animal(s) and dose: This sends you back to the accession number
         prompt, but as you go through the record, many of the data values from the previous prescription will already
         appear and the user need only press <enter> to keep the existing entry. You can edit as necessary.

    4.   Duplicate last prescription for new animal(s): This duplicates the previous prescription information exactly, and
         allows only changing the animal information (very useful when you vaccinate a large group of animals).

    5.   Repeat a prescription for the same animal and dose, but with a new date: This is useful for anthelmintics and
         scheduled procedures (such as Panacur - Rx for 3 days SID and then repeat in 2 weeks). This option allows you
         enter only the first prescription (rx for 3 days SID) and then duplicate the record for a future date (in 2 weeks),
         essentially halving your data entry time.

    6.   Quit data entry: This brings you back to the main prescription menu. When quitting, the computer will ask you
         how to process the records that are marked for output. You can print the reports immediately, write the reports to
         your hard disk and print the file when you leave MedARKS, leave the records marked (come back and print later)
         or remove all the marks from those reports and forget about printing them.

Prescription Scheduling
Scheduling prescriptions for the future can be done in several ways. One method is simply to write (enter) a prescription
using a starting date in the future and simply store the paper copy until the prescription comes due. The disadvantage of this
method is that if the animals dies or is shipped out prior to the start of the prescription, you have to go into the medical
records and delete the existing prescription record that was not actually filled.

The second method is actually a reminder to repeat a current prescription at some point in the future. If the animal leaves
the collection prior to the reminder coming due, there is no record cleanup required. When the prescription comes due, you
can use the "convert scheduled treatment to prescription " option on the main treatment menu to very quickly enter the new

Discontinue an Active Prescription: When you write a prescription on an "until further notice" basis, there will come a
time when you issue that "further notice" and stop the treatment. You could at this point go back and edit the original
prescription to indicate the correct duration of the treatment, but MedARKS offers a quicker and easier means to do this.
From the main menu, select the "Discontinue an Active Prescription" option, enter the accession number and choose the
appropriate prescription is from the list of prescriptions associated with that animal. You will be asked for the date that the
prescription was discontinued and MedARKS will calculate the duration of treatment and make appropriate changes in the
prescription record. A few keystrokes and the prescription is inactive and your records are accurate.

Prescription Reports
Once prescription information has been entered there are several different retrieval options that can be accessed from the
prescription reports menu.

Individual specimen records: This option results in a complete treatment and vaccination record for a specified animal.
To generate this report, enter the animal's accession number. As with most of the report programs, a filter is available to
help select records for retrieval (on page 46).

Taxonomic group records: This option allows you to examine treatment records for an entire taxonomic group.
Treatment instructions/ Compliance (Keeper) form: This form is designed for use by the keeper or medical staff
responsible for treatment administration. The first section identifies the animal(s) to be treated; the second section identifies
the drug and provides directions for drug administration (amount, frequency, etc.). The final section provides spaces for the
keeper(s) to record the date, time, delivery success, their name, and any other comments.

Due for treatment report: This report identifies animals which are due for scheduled treatments during a specific time. A
range of dates must be entered (this can be on a day by day basis or printed monthly - whatever works in your hospital).

Drug usage report: This report is mainly designed to account for all use of controlled drugs or vaccination lot numbers. It
can, however, generate a report for any drug recognized by the MedARKS dictionary. This is a very similar report to that
generated in the anesthesia module.

Active prescriptions/treatments report: This option produces a listing of currently active treatments. This can help
monitor treatments which are designated "Until further notice" or can serve as a communication tool among veterinarians
and staff so that all know which animals are being actively treated at all times.

List prescriptions written report: This option lists all treatments prescribed for all animals for a specified period of time.
This report is initiated by entering a desired range of dates.

Count of records report: This report summarizes the total prescriptions started and total specimens treated. The records
are also summarized by major taxonomic group (i.e., fish, amphibians, etc.)

Prescription Utilities
This option also produces a tertiary level menu that gives access to the various utility programs used by the prescription
module. The utility programs include:

Add/edit/update module parameters: This utility program is used to change the parameters that control data collection
and data entry choices for the prescription module. It is very important to run this utility to start the process of customizing
MedARKS to meet your preferences and needs (on page 15).

Add/edit/update drug dictionary: Same utility that you can access from the anesthesia module.

Drug dictionary reports: Same utility that you can access from the anesthesia module.

Sort, Pack, and Index: This is a housekeeping function that is normally used to repair damaged index files (on page 16).

Rebuild pointers file: More computer housekeeping. Don't worry about this unless you're really in trouble and a you have
consulted a MedARKS expert.

Update Standardized Text and Forms Dictionary: This is your opportunity to add phrases and even entire paragraphs of
instructions you want to enter on prescriptions with the click of a few keys (specifically the <F5> key when you have a text
entry box on the screen).

Data quality: The MedARKS program has several methods to check data for inappropriateness (such as scheduled
prescriptions that were never done and are long overdue and need to be deleted).

Analysis of Blood, Urine and Other Fluids

Value to the user!
Diagnostic medicine in zoo veterinary medicine frequently revolves around clinical pathology results. This module of
MedARKS organizes the blood sample results that you obtain on the animals in your collection. In addition, this module
will provide you with reference values derived either from the animals in your collection or from the ISIS physiological
values data base.

Data Collection:
This will be somewhat dependent on the paper flow at each institution. Ideally the results should be entered as soon as the
results are returned from the laboratory. This affords the clinician the convenience of seeing the laboratory results in
relation to the reference values as the medical assessment is being made.

Data entry
Add/Edit - Fluid Analysis Record:
Allows you to add new clinical pathology records to the data file, and allows you to edit or delete existing records. As with
all other modules, MedARKS will accept data from both accessioned and non-accessioned specimens. The original module
accepted only blood sample analysis information, but recently the program was enhanced to accept analysis information for
a number of body fluids (urine, CSF, saliva, joint fluid, etc.).

Link to Anesthesia Records:
Goals of MedARKS include reducing data entry effort and encouraging data consistency. Towards that end, blood samples
collected using chemical restraint will attempt to link to a record in the anesthesia module. If you have been tracking blood
sample data on the anesthesia worksheets, that information will be forwarded to the clinical pathology record during the data
entry process. You can certainly enter a clinical pathology record without ever linking it to an anesthesia record in
MedARKS, but in cases where the anesthesia record is entered after the clinical pathology record, this option will attempt to
link the records. When it appears that an anesthesia record now exists for an unlinked clinical pathology record, you will be
given the opportunity to link the anesthesia record to the matching clinical pathology results. If you do link the records, the
program will warn you of any data inconsistencies (e.g., in the anesthesia record the sample collection time is given as
10:20, but the clinical pathology record says 10:02). This program can also print a list of clinical pathology records where
chemical restraint was specified that are not currently linked to an anesthesia record.

Blood, Urine and Other Fluid Analysis Reports
Once clinical pathology data has been entered there are several different retrieval alternatives. Choosing this menu option
results in the display of a third level menu that lists the various reports available.

Individual Specimen Records Report: This option will produce a report of the clinical pathology records for an
accessioned or non-accessioned specimen. The report can contain the complete history for that accession number or
retrieval may be specified to produce a subset of the available records using selection criteria or by selecting individual

Taxonomic Group Results by Sex and/or Age: The taxonomic group report calculates the mean, and standard deviation
for all test results from the records of an entire species. A standard selection criteria window lets you specify various filters
and in addition, the population that is of interest to you can be filtered by sex and/or age criteria. The result can be
reference ranges for a very specific subpopulation of your collection (e.g., healthy, female kudu less than a week of age).
The results are calculated from your records and not the ISIS pooled data, so it will probably take time to accumulate
enough records to make this report useful for calculating more than an overall average.

Individual Specimen Spreadsheet Report: The spreadsheet report allows you to print up to 3 hematology and/or
chemistry records, from a single individual, on the same sheet of paper. The test results are printed in columns to allow
easier comparison of data from different blood samples. This report also has a graphing option, (if you have sufficient
memory), which allows you to produce a visual representation of the changes in test results over time. Up to 4 different
tests can be plotted on a single graph.
Count of Records Report: This report counts all the clinical pathology records for all taxonomic classes during the time
period identified. This option allows you to easily generate a summary of activities for such things as annual reports.

In-house and ISIS Reference Range Report: The In-house and ISIS Reference Range Report allows you to print a
summary of in-house and ISIS hematology and chemistry reference ranges for either a particular species or the entire
reference values file. This report essentially gives you the ability to print the ISIS Physiological Reference Values book, or
any part of it, at your own institution.

Values for a Specified Test Report: This report allows you to list specific test results for an individual, an entire species, a
taxonomic class or all results for the specified test in the data base. You have the option to produce a frequency distribution
graph (if you have sufficient memory). You can also specify specific criteria such as results from a specific laboratory or
from a specific date range.

Blood, Urine and Other Fluid Analysis Utilities
This option also produces a tertiary level menu that gives access to the various utility programs used by the clinical
pathology module. The utility programs include:

Edit/Update module parameters: This utility program is used to change the parameters that control data collection and
data entry choices for the fluid analysis module. It is very important to run this utility to start the process of customizing
MedARKS to meet your preferences and needs (on page 15), particularly with this module.

Test Dictionary Editing: MedARKS is delivered with a file of clinical pathology tests that are recognized by the program.
This utility program allows the user to customize the test list that arrives with the program. This is also your opportunity to
create and edit text entries that can easily be inserted into your records during data entry with the click of a few keys
(specifically the <F5> key when you have a text entry box on the screen). This utility allows the addition of those phrases
and even entire paragraphs of text.

Test Dictionary Reports: This option allows you to examine the contents of the dictionary file.

Calculate In-house Reference Values: This utility will proceed through your entire set of clinical pathology records and
calculate overall reference ranges for each species where you have records that meet the criteria you have specified.

Hematology/Chemistry/Serology ISIS Data Transfer: This utility will extract information from your records to submit to
ISIS for inclusion in the Physiological Reference Values Project (on page 78). The utility creates a data transfer file
containing the necessary information on your hard disk. The file can be sent to ISIS on a floppy diskette or by E-mail. This
replaces the old method of copying the information onto paper forms. Institutions that provide data to ISIS will receive
annual updates of the ISIS reference values file for use with MedARKS.

Sort, Pack, and Index: This is a housekeeping function that is normally used to repair damaged index files (on page 16).

Data Quality – Verify Against Test Dictionary: These utility can be used to check your records for test entries that are not
in the dictionary file.

Data Quality – Suspect Test Results Report: This utility will help find test results that are possibly incorrect, assists with
finding data entry errors.

Data Quality – Global Edit of Select Fields: This data validation utility searches, and enables correction of, data fields
that may have problems such as inconsistencies in data entry.

Set Order of Tests for Data Entry: One of the most useful and overlooked utilities. For each default laboratory that you
have specified in the module parameters (see first utility above), you can specify the tests and the order of the tests that
appear on the data entry screen for that laboratory. Thus, the data entry order for the laboratory can be made to match the

order of results on the report from the laboratory, which greatly simplifies the data entry process.

Cryopreservation (Serum) Bank Records - Sample storage
Value to the user!
Many different types of sample are often kept long term in zoos. These may be serum, plasma, tissue, semen, whole blood
or urine to name a few. To be a useful resource, it is essential to know what material is available and to be able to retrieve
samples in a timely fashion. The cryopreservation bank keeps track of all information about samples, including their
location, the quantity and quality of those samples and where samples have been sent. Once your freezer is organized, the
material becomes a useful resource and not a “black hole” where samples are tossed, never to be seen again. This module
also keeps track of empty storage space in your freezer(s), allowing you to recycle space that is available because samples
have been sent elsewhere.

Data Collection:
Samples should not be placed into the bank or removed from the bank without recording the pertinent sample data. It is
quite easy to record sample information onto worksheets as the sample is placed into the freezer. The information can then
be entered into MedARKS at a later time, although much of the value of this resource will be lost if records are not kept
current. On the positive side, data entry is simple when worksheets are completed properly, so data entry is definitely a task
that can be assigned to volunteers with minimal training.

Data entry
Add Cryopreservation Bank Record
Allows you to add new records to the data file. MedARKS will accept data from both accessioned and non-accessioned
specimens. To add a new record, you will need to identify a unique location where the sample will be held. The address for
this unique location can make use of primary, secondary, and tertiary location information. For example, the primary
location code may specify a rack in the freezer, the secondary location may specify the particular storage box in the rack,
and the tertiary location could identify the specific grid location within the box. If a sample location system has already
been established for your institution, it should be possible to adapt this system for use within this MedARKS module.

Edit/Update Cryopreservation Record
This option allows you to edit or delete existing cryopreservation bank records. To begin editing serum/tissue record, you
must first identify the location of the sample.

Remove, Discard, or Change Location of Samples
When a sample is removed from storage for any reason, it must be logged out of the MedARKS records as well. This
option provides the mechanism to easily record sample removal information. To remove or change the location of the
sample within MedARKS, you must first identify the exact location of the sample. When you are sending a sample out
(e.g., send to a laboratory for analysis), MedARKS will generate a list of addresses where you have previously sent samples
to assist in maintaining data consistency.

Cryopreservation Bank Reports
Once cryopreservation bank data has been entered, there are, several different methods for retrieval. Selecting this menu
option results in the display of a third level menu that lists the various reports available.

Individual Specimen Records Report: This option will produce a report of the samples (current or historical) that have
been placed into the cryopreservation bank for an accessioned or non-accessioned individual. The report can contain the
complete history for that individual or retrieval may be specified to produce a subset of the available records using selection
criteria. Those criteria may include such things as date, sample types, or quality to name a few.

Taxonomic Group Records Report: This report retrieves the locations of all of the banked samples for a species. This
report is particularly useful when a researcher requests “serum from all of your cheetahs”. As with the other reports,
retrieval may be filtered by a variety of selection criteria.

Samples Removed From Storage: This report is a log of the disposition of samples. You have the option of reporting
samples that have been discarded, sent elsewhere or all removed samples. This report will also list the recipient when
samples have been sent out and any information in the sample comments (e.g., the reason for sending out the sample).

Samples Currently in Storage: This report lists the current contents of the bank by sample type. This report can be limited
by location, so it is most useful for listing all the samples in a particular box or tray. There is also an option to limit the
retrieval to human samples for those institutions that are storing baseline serum samples from staff members.

Empty Storage Locations: Keeping track of open space in a storage freezer or container is difficult to do without this
report. This listing of open locations in your bank makes it easy to reuse locations that have been vacated by removed

Recorded Data for Individual Samples: This report requests a sample location and then summarizes all the information
about the sample stored in that location. The output includes information about the animal (species, sex, age, etc.) and the
sample (type of material, quality, quantity, date collected, etc.). This report can be sent to researchers with the actual
samples so that they have information about both the sample and the animal.

List of Valid Sample Locations: This report gives a list of valid locations for sample storage within your bank. This is
most useful for assisting with data quality issues.

Cryopreservation Bank Utilities
This option produces a tertiary level menu that gives access to the various utility programs used by the sample storage
module. The utility programs include:

Edit/Update module parameters: This utility program is used to change the parameters that control data collection and
data entry choices for the cryopreservation bank module. It is very important to run this utility to start the process of
customizing MedARKS to meet your preferences and needs (on page 15).

Update Standardized Text and Forms Dictionary: Allows you to create and edit text entries that can easily be inserted
into your records during data entry with the click of a few keys (specifically the <F5> key when you have a text entry box
on the screen). This utility allows the addition of those phrases and even entire paragraphs of text.

Standard Text and Forms Report: This report allows you to examine or print the contents of the standard text and forms

Sort, Pack, and Index: This is a housekeeping function that is normally used to repair damaged index files (on page 16).

Sample Recipient Report: Lists all the people or facilities that have received samples from your institution.

Data quality – Global Edit of Selected Fields: This utility gives you access to global search and edit routines for the
samples comments or the recipient address information.

Clinical text records
Value to the user!
The clinical notes module enables free-form, medical text records to be recorded in a systematic manner, retrieved for use
within an institution, and merged with records from other institutions. The heart of this module is a combination of a
narrative text record and a more formal diagnosis entry (master problem list).

Overall Comments:
The clinical notes module is the first text based module for MedARKS. As a text based module it is very different from the
other modules in which you are primarily entering quantitative data. It gives the user tremendous power, since virtually
anything can be entered into this module (medical observations, speculations, urinalysis or microbiology results, etc.). At
the same time, if the information is to be retrievable, this module also requires the user to exert the greatest discipline to
maintain consistency during data entry.

Data entry
Add/Edit - Clinical Note Record:
Once the clinician has entered his or her initials and identified the animal for which a record is being added or edited, you
will be presented with a fairly complex screen. The top of the screen shows the active animal identification information.
Immediately below this is an area showing the active problems for this animal as well as the last actual weight. The last
medical text entry will be displayed in the lower middle portion of the screen. Along the bottom edge of the screen are a
series of “buttons” that give you access to various parts of the clinical notes records as well as limited access to most of the
other MedARKS modules. The menu options along the bottom of the screen are:

         Weights: Allows you to add, edit, or delete actual weights for the active animal. So, if part of the neonatal
         examination on the kudu included obtaining a weight, you do not need to exit from the clinical notes module to add
         that weight. Click on the weight button, enter the date and the weight and you will return to the clinical notes

         Medical Text: Clicking on this button allows you to enter or edit the narrative records for this animal. The
         existing records will be listed in order by date and clinician. Choosing an existing record allows you to edit that
         record. You can also add a new record and then the program will prompt you for the date of the record. Text is
         entered as freely as the clinician wishes. Pressing the <F5> key will access a list of Standard Text Strings (on page
         49). This is a list of phrases that you commonly use in your text narrative. Choosing entries from the standardized
         text list will save a considerable amount of typing effort. In addition, by choosing items off of the list, you are
         entering them in a standardized format (i.e. the same words and spelling are used each time) which enhances your
         data consistency. A spell checker can be accessed with the <CTRL><F2> key combination.

         When editing narrative records, the screen will be split with previous records shown in the upper half and the
         record you are editing in the lower half. It is possible to change the record displayed in the upper window and to
         make that window active (this is useful if you wish to copy text from a previous medical text record into the current

         Problems: This button will actually display a pop-up menu of options. These options give you access to
         adding\editing the more formal diagnoses, displaying all of the past and current problems, and adding\editing terms
         in the master problem dictionary. A diagnosis consists of a "problem" (clinical sign, procedure, infectious disease,
         or other problem) combined with an optional "qualifier". Qualifiers are topographies (parts of the body),
         etiologies, or other qualifiers which describe the problem.

         Text Strings: Another means to access to the utility that allows editing of the standard text string dictionary. Find
         that you are typing the same phrase over and over? Simply add it to your standard text strings and you can access
         that phrase from the <F5> list.

         Previous: The text narrative record displayed on the initial clinical notes screen will be the most recent entry. The
         previous button will show you the previous text narrative record (if one exists).

         Next: Once you have started moving back through the text narrative records, this button will allow you to move
         forward through the records.

         Quit: Exits you from medical notes for the active animal. You can then access the records for another animal or
         leave the clinical notes add/edit mode by pressing <Esc>.

         Rx Records: This option accesses the prescription records for the active animal. It is very convenient during the
         addition of a clinical note on an animal to be able to jump directly to the prescription module to record the
         antibiotic or vaccine that was administered during the procedure and then be returned immediately to clinical notes.
         The prescription module also makes your life a little easier by inserting a one-line summary of the prescription into
         your narrative record thus saving the effort of having to type in the data.

         View Other Module Records: This option is the “one stop shopping center”, providing a viewing window for
         records of an animal from each MedARKS module. It allows direct viewing access from the clinical notes module
         to the pertinent anesthesia, parasitology, treatment, blood and other fluid analysis, clinical notes, and even ARKS3
         notes. The records in each of the above modules can be viewed (cannot be modified in this area) to get a complete
         look at the various details regarding that specimen. Text can be copied from this viewing window into the clinical
         text record (on page 81).

Key Field Edit-Clinical Notes Record:
This menu selection allows you to edit the accession number, date, or veterinarian who wrote the clinical note. For
example, if you entered a clinical notes record for an incorrect accession number, you can use this utility to easily change
the respective entry to the correct animal.

Master Problem List Options
This selection is similar to the Add/Edit Clinical Notes Record option except that it is geared for the formal master problem
list instead.

         Enter the Same Problem for Multiple Animals: As titled, this option allows you to enter the same problem for
         multiple animals. For example, if you took liver biopsies on a dozen birds, this utility would allow you to enter
         “biopsy” / “liver” for each animal without having to type the data for each individual.

         Add/Edit Problem List for an Individual Specimen: This option is simply another way of adding or updating a
         specimen’s problem list without going through the “clinical notes record” entry section.

         Display Problem List for an Individual Specimen: This option displays the entire formal problem list for a

Clinical Notes Reports
The report menu selections allow you to print or view clinical note records based upon selection criteria that you specify.
The available reports are:

Individual Specimen Records: This report prints the clinical notes records for an individual animal with filtering based on
the selection criteria chosen.

Taxonomic Group Records: This report is a listing of the formal problems (diagnoses) recorded for a species. The output
can be limited to a specified date span. This list can be used to give you an idea of the particular problems you are seeing in
a species. You can elect to run the report to include or exclude qualifiers.

Daily Activity Report: This report prints all of the clinical notes entered for a particular day or span of days. This can be
used to print the clinical notes for the animals examined on a particular day by a particular vet. It is a very useful report for
keeping hospital staff informed of active cases, particularly in institutions with multiple clinicians, this report will quickly
bring someone up to date after being off work for a few days. This report can also serve as a method of archiving medical
records by printing out and binding the daily activity reports.

Search by Key Word: This report offers very powerful text search capabilities to this module. The report searches medical
text records for a key word or combination of key words. The report may be filtered by date span, by clinicians initials, and
may include or exclude non-accessioned animals. You have the ability to select the search text from your standard list of
text strings or you can create your own key word combinations by simply typing in the text.

Search by Problem: Similar to the search by key word, but searches the formal diagnosis (problem) records instead of the
text narrative records.

Unresolved (Active) Problems Report: This report lists those animals with problems that are not resolved on a specified
date. The report may include all active problems in the collection or it can be filtered to locate only active problems for an
individual, a taxonomic group, or a taxonomic class. The report may include long term chronic problems (e.g., diabetes in
your orangutan) or the chronic problems can be ignored to give you a list of problems that you have a chance of resolving.

Scheduled Activities Report: This menu selection will print a report of all scheduled procedures which have not been
completed by a specified date. This selection serves as a reminder for such procedures as vaccinations, annual
examinations, or MGA implant removals (in the case of the latter, it’s always nice to have a computerized reminder rather
than a newborn on the ground!).

Clinical Note - File Copies: This report will print hard copies of the clinical notes entered for all animals over a specified
date range. This report can be used periodically to print out hard copies to update an animal's paper file or as a form of data
backup for the computer.

Activity Summary Report: This report provides a summary of clinical notes for a specific time frame. Included in this
report are the total number of clinical notes entered, the number of individual specimens evaluated, and the most common
problems. Useful for that end of the year report to show your director just how busy you have been!

Master Problem List: This report will print a list of the problems for an individual along with onset and resolution dates.
This corresponds to the master problem list found in many traditional paper record systems. It is also similar to the “Master
Problem List Options- Display Problem List for an Individual Specimen” with the added benefit of allowing you to specify
a specific date range for record retrieval.

Clinical Notes Utilities
This option produces a tertiary level menu that gives access to the various utility programs used by the clinical notes
module. The utility programs include:

Edit/Update module parameters: This utility program is used to change the parameters that control data collection and
data entry choices for the clinical notes module. It is very important to run this utility to start the process of customizing
MedARKS to meet your preferences and needs (on page 15).

Add/Edit/Update Dictionary Entries: MedARKS is delivered with a file of clinical problems that are recognized by the
program. This utility program allows the user to customize the problem dictionary as well as the standard text strings

Problem Dictionary reports: This option allows you to examine the contents of the dictionary file including clinical
problems and qualifiers, groupings, and the standardized text and forms.

Sort, Pack, and Index: This is a housekeeping function that is normally used to repair damaged index files (on page 16).

Data quality- Verify against Problem Dictionary: This utility can be used to validate your problem records against the
dictionary file.

Data quality- Validation and Edit Routines: This utility can be used to do a global edit of clinician initials. For example,
if you used to enter records using only two initials and wanted to go to your current 3 initial name, you can use this routine
to convert all of the old records to your current format.

Global Search/Replace of Clinical Notes: This menu selection starts one of the data quality utilities that permits you to
search for and, if desired, replace text in clinical notes records. You have the option to either edit a record manually or
replace the term automatically. For example, if you have previously made a clinical note entry of "surgery" and you wish to
change the term to "Surgical Procedure:", this utility will search every text record to locate all occurrences of the term
"surgery" and allow you to replace each occurrence with "Surgical Procedure". Use this option carefully, since it is just as
easy to turn every occurrence of “surgery” into “lameness” or “obesity” or any other nonsense that you can imagine.

Pathology records
Value to the user!
The necropsy may be the end point of an individual medical record, but complete pathology records are clearly valuable for
monitoring the long-term health status of a collection. The MedARKS pathology module allows you create complete
necropsy and biopsy records that can be organized and searched to reveal patterns that otherwise might not be noticed. The
ultimate goal is to use this information to modify either preventative health programs or animal management.

Data entry
The pathology record is fairly complex and consists of more than 40 different data fields (some of which can repeated as
often as needed). The data entry flow is envisioned as follows:

Step 1. When an animal dies or a biopsy is collected, the pathology record is started immediately. The initial information
consists of the specimen accession number, date of death (or biopsy), carcass weight, enclosure, person submitting the
biopsy or carcass, a keeper history and some other baseline information. With the completion of this initial information, the
program will print a report that gives:
         A summary of the recent medical history (extracted from the MedARKS records)
         The baseline specimen information that was just entered
         A blank necropsy form (you can enter your own form)
         Research protocols that can use samples/parts from a dead animal of this species
         A TAG/SSP necropsy protocol (when available for this species)

This entire printout can then be given to the pathologist/prosector to provide some background on the animal, a blank
necropsy form for recording notes and a list of samples/tissues that need to be collected for special projects. Currently there
are a limited number of SSP/TAG protocols available, but the AAZV Information Management committee is in the process
of collecting other research protocols/sample requests and necropsy protocols for inclusion in the release version. There are
utilities that allow you to add your own research protocols, so if you have research interests for a particular species, enter a
research protocol for that species and at each necropsy you will be reminded of what samples and/or measurements you
wanted to collect for that species.

During this initial baseline data entry, you will also have the option to terminate all clinical problems that are active on the
date of death and MedARKS can also insert “death” into the clinical problem file (if you set this feature in the pathology
module parameters). This feature saves having to remember to go clean up the clinical problem file at a later time.

Another pathology option is to simply assign a death number (no necropsy). This routine allows you to enter all the initial

baseline information, then skip all the gross and histopathological information (since there is no necropsy) and proceed
immediately to a final “cause of death”. This allows you to quickly track deaths due to predation, missing and presumed
dead (MIAs), or large groups of animals that die at one time but which are not all necropsied (e.g. 50 froglets die during a
power outage).

Step 2. After the necropsy is completed, you can return to the record using the accession number or the necropsy case
number (using <Ctrl><F9>). Use the <PgDn> key to skip through the initial part of the pathology record to get to the new
data fields or press <Ctrl><G> when you first start editing the record to skip directly to the gross necropsy report section of
the existing record. The information to be added to the record includes:
          the prosector
          necropsy date
          necropsy interval
          gross necropsy report,
          gross diagnoses,
          organ weights
          laboratory samples

The gross diagnosis entry may be a little confusing at first. You can type all the terms into a diagnosis, separating the terms
with a comma (e.g., Lung, pneumonia, chronic, lobar, unilateral) or you can type in each term, validate the term against the
dictionary, and then add the next term. When multiple terms are entered, the program will attempt to validate each term in
the initial entry and then allow you to add other terms. There is no limit on the number of gross diagnoses that can be added
to a pathology record.

Each gross diagnosis must contain a topography term (organ/tissue/body part) and a disease process/lesion term as the
absolute minimum standard. For example “Liver, hepatitis” is a complete diagnosis and is acceptable to MedARKS.
However, you can add further terms to each diagnosis, including:
         modifier terms (e.g., interstitial, bacterial or granulomatous),
         a severity term (e.g., mild),
         a lesion duration term (e.g., peracute),
         a lesion distribution term (e.g., multifocal),
         an etiology term (e.g., Mycobacterium avium), and,
         when appropriate, a lesion symmetry term (e.g. unilateral).

New diagnostic terms can be added to the dictionary, either through the utilities or at the time of entry. If you attempt to
add a diagnostic term that the dictionary does not recognize, it will ask you if you want to add this term to the dictionary.
You may, but think seriously first - for the program to be a useful international pool of information, we need to use as
standard a dictionary as possible. Diagnostic terms found only in your dictionary will make your data slightly incompatible
with other pools of data around the world.

Step 3. If you are using an outside pathologist for the histopathology, the pathology record to this point (including the gross
examination and diagnoses) can be printed and included with the tissues to give the pathologist a complete history on the

Step 4. When the histopathology and laboratory data come back, you can return again to the record and edit the record to
add such information as the pathologist, the histopathology report, laboratory results, histopathology diagnoses and the
cause of death. As with gross diagnoses, it is possible to add your own diagnostic terms to the histopathology diagnoses,
but again, do this with caution and forethought.

The laboratory results and cause of death are modified versions of the gross and histopathology diagnoses. For example, a
culture result consists of a topography term (organ or tissue that was cultured) and an etiology term (organism isolated). In
addition, you can add a comment to a laboratory result by starting the comment with an “equals sign". A valid culture result
"diagnosis" entry would be "Kidney, Salmonella sp., =many". The comments portion of the diagnosis is not validated
against the dictionary, so do not use it for terms that you may want to search for in the future (i.e., comments are not

validated for spelling like the rest of the diagnosis).

Three type of laboratory results are recognized:
        culture results
        toxicology results
        other laboratory results (e.g., fluorescent antibody testing)

The advantage to putting your laboratory results in as a form of diagnosis is that you will be able to retrieve results more
easily and consistently. For example, it would be possible to easily retrieve and print all kidney mercury measurements for
a particular species, by selecting for toxicology diagnoses containing kidney and mercury and restricting to a specified

The cause of death diagnosis is like the gross and histopathology diagnoses, in that it requires a topography term and a
disease process term, but only a single "cause of death" diagnosis is allowed. The cause of death entry should reflect the
ultimate underlying cause for the death of the animal (yes, "body as a whole, undetermined" is a valid cause of death).

Step 5. Once all the reports, diagnoses, laboratory results and pathologist's comments have been entered, the record needs to
be marked as being finalized. Once finalized, the editing of the pathology report is restricted to people with "master"
password clearance. However, an addendum can still be added to the report by anyone with data entry access. To make it
easy to locate records that need to be finalized, one of the standard reports will print a list of pathology records that have not
been finalized.

Global Search/Replace of Pathology Text:
As in the clinical notes module (on page 40), the pathology module allows you to search out particular text and edit this text
or replace it with a predefined text string. It is crucial that this be used with caution, as this is a powerful editing tool. By
entering the exact text you wish to replace, you can change or update a phrase that is no longer valid, or is confusing. For
example, if you have used “x-ray” and “radiograph” throughout your records and would like consistency, this utility will
help solve the problem. Entering “x-ray,” as the search term and replacing with “radiograph” will improve your records
throughout the module. The program will allow you to confirm each replacement, so if you really want “x-ray” left in a
certain context, you can skip that particular replacement. Finally, you could also search and replace for "xray" and "x ray"
just in case you were inconsistent in your use of the abbreviation.

Pathology Reports
As with the other modules, various reports can be generated and customized by the use of filters (on page 46).

Individual Specimen Record: This record allows you to pull up a pathology record by the individual’s accession number.
By entering the accession number, all the pathology reports available for a specimen are displayed (biopsies and necropsy).
You can choose to print the record(s) of your choice.

Taxonomic group records: This option can display various collections of pathology data from a particular taxonomic
group. Again filters can be used.

Individual pathology records: This allows the user to print out any part or parts of a pathology record (or the whole
thing). Same as the first report, except the record desired is specified by the pathology case number. There are 12 different
parts available for each report.
         Medical history
         Baseline data
         Special requests for pathologist
         Gross examination narrative
         Gross diagnoses/findings
         Laboratory studies
         Histopathology examination (narrative)

         Histopathology diagnoses/findings
         Cause of death
         Pathologist, finalization data and comments
         Report addendum
         Organ weights
This option also allows for rapid selection of multiple reports, so that at the end of a data entry session, full pathology
reports of a group of pathology records can be rapidly printed.

Pathology Diagnoses and Associated Case Numbers: This allows the user to seek out and retrieve case numbers
associated with a particular diagnosis.

Count of records report: This report provides simple totals for records meeting certain criteria (i.e., a filter!).

Search by diagnosis: This allows records to be sought out and selected by diagnosis.

Search by Key Word: This allows records to be sought out by a key word in the text (such as seeking all records where the
ovaries were specifically examined and noted in the gross necropsy or histopathologist’s report).

Unfinished /Pending pathology Records: This report will seek out and list all pathology cases which are still in need of
more information or attention (especially useful if these tasks are delegated).

Pathology case summary: A listing of all pathology cases, the specimen ID, the final diagnosis, and the status during a
specified period of time. Useful for keeping a running tab on all cases in a brief format.

Pathology Utilities:
Edit/Update module parameters:: As always, this utility program is used to change the parameters that control data
collection and data entry choices for the pathology module. It is very important to run this utility to start the process of
customizing MedARKS to meet your preferences and needs (on page 15). Setting the pathology module parameters before
you start to enter pathology records will make the data entry easier and ensure that your records have consistency. The
parameters that can be set are:

         Prosector: A list of the staff that routinely perform necropsies can be entered, allowing a quick pick from the list
         during data entry. Remember, that these lists will be used with just a point and click of the mouse - it behooves
         you to use full names for prosectors, pathologists, staff, and institutions (disposition and necropsy location) since
         this data may be pooled internationally at some time. (e.g. “MSU” means different things to people in Michigan,
         Mississippi, and Missouri!).

         Pathologist: A list of the staff or consultants that routinely have responsibility for finalizing pathology cases can be
         entered, allowing a quick pick from the list during data entry (for many institutions this will probably be the same
         as prosector list).

         Necropsy Locations: A list of the common locations where necropsies are performed - will be most useful for
         institutions that send cases to outside facilities for necropsy (like the local veterinary school, state diagnostic
         laboratory, or primate center).

         Staff: The list of staff that routinely submit carcasses for necropsy. For many institutions, this will include keeper
         and curatorial staff, so it may take some effort to create a complete list. However, there is no limit on the number
         of names that can be included in the list and picking from a complete list will be easier than typing in a full name
         for each record.

         Carcass Disposition: A list of the routine methods used by your institution to dispose of a carcass after necropsy
         (e.g., burial on zoo grounds, rendering, incineration, local museum, researcher, university biology program).

         Institutional Category: This is something new for MedARKS - a searchable data field where you get to decide on
         the information that will be stored in the field. If there is some piece of information that you want to routinely
         track on pathology cases (and even retrieve records based on this information) and the pathology record does not
         already handle this information, then this is the field that you can use to track this information (30 character limit).
         Confused? all right, here is an example (the only one I can think of). Your institution has a standing policy that
         the appropriate curator receives a copy of the final pathology record, so you need to track the information about
         which of the 8 specialty curators gets the report for this specimen - here is the perfect place to do it. Your
         institutional category list will consist of the names of the 8 specialty curators so that this information is easily
         added to the pathology record making it is elementary to ensure that the copy of the final report goes to the correct
         person. Anyway, think about this one for a while. If you do not need an institutional category list, leave it blank
         and the program will skip this portion of the record during data entry.

         Report heading: If you defined an Institutional Category list, then this is the heading that will appear on the
         pathology reports (for the above example, the heading might be "Curator" or "Copy final report to"). If you did
         not define a list, you will not be asked for this information.

         Pathology Case Numbering Scheme: You are given 3 choices.
                   Sequential numbering,
                   Sequential numbering within a year and
                   manual numbering.
         The first 2 methods assign the appropriate case number when you start a pathology record, while the last method
         forces you to assign a unique case number to each pathology record.

         Reporting period for prior medical problems: When the pathology program generates a summary of recent medical
         events from the MedARKS records, it will look back through the records for this period of time. Choose the time
         span that you (or your pathologist) find most appropriate.

         Resident/Intern/Student question: If your institution is involved in a training program, it will probably be necessary
         to track information on the resident, intern or student with responsibility for the case. The resident reading the
         histopathology slides may not always be the prosector and is not the pathologist with responsibility for "signing
         off" on the case and this field allows you to record this information. If this information does not apply to your
         institution, answer "no" to this question and you will "turn off" this portion of the data entry program.

         Custom Report Formats: When the pathology records are printed, there are 12 different sections to the report. You
         can choose to print any or all of these report sections. In addition, you can predefine 2 custom report formats for
         your institution. Time for another example? Do you send a copy of the gross examination (necropsy) report to the
         curator? You might decide (in the interest of saving paper) that the curator does not need a copy of the recent
         medical history section, the special instructions to the pathologist section, or the laboratory samples submitted
         section, so one of your custom formats would be to print the baseline data section, the gross examination report
         section and the gross diagnoses section (a custom format that prints only 3 of the 12 possible sections). When you
         need to print a copy of a record to send to a curator, you simply pick this predefined custom format (the report
         program will ask about the report format to be printed) and the appropriate sections are printed.

Add/Edit/Update Dictionary Entries: MedARKS is delivered with a file of pathology terms that are recognized by the
program. This utility program allows the user to customize the pathology dictionary as well as the standard text strings

Problem Dictionary Reports: This option allows you to examine the contents of the pathology dictionary file by term
categories and by grouping. You can also retrieve entries from the standardized text and forms list.

Sort, Pack, and Index: This is a housekeeping function that is normally used to repair damaged index files (on page 16).

Data quality- Verify Diagnosis Records: This utility can be used to validate your pathology diagnosis records against the
pathology dictionary file.

Print Sample Request Information: Allows you to extract information from the sample request file (see below).

Edit\Update Sample Request File: The utility allows you add protocols that are specific for your institution, to update SSP
and TAG protocols from a master file maintained by ISIS and to delete expired protocols.

Pathology Module - Special Features
< F5> pick list:
As with all other modules in MedARKS, you can define a list of standard text phrases or paragraphs that can be chosen from
a pop-up menu and inserted into your pathology record with just a few keystrokes. This <F5> list is separate from the lists
for clinical notes or other modules. By default the list is empty when you receive the program - it must be filled in by YOU.
The pop-up list is available by pressing the <F5> key when you are editing the keeper history, the special requests for the
pathologist, the laboratory sample submissions, the gross examination report, histopathology report, and the comment
section of the record. For example, if you always find yourself typing "Please perform a cosmetic necropsy - museum wants
carcass" into the "requests to the pathologist" section, then you can reduce this entry to just a few keystrokes (or clicks of
the mouse) by putting this phrase in the <F5> pick list.

The standard text list of the pathology module also has a special entry that can be made. Here is where you can define a
blank necropsy form for your institution that can be printed from the pathology dictionary report utility. In addition, if this
form is specifically called "Blank Necropsy Form" in the standard text list, the program will automatically locate and print a
copy of this form whenever a necropsy record is started (along with the recent medical history and baseline death
information). The prosector then receives not only the animal and recent medical history information, but also a blank
necropsy form that has been customized to meet the needs of your institution.

ASCII File Import:
Many institutions use consulting pathologists to perform all or part of their pathology work. If the pathologist will send you
their report on a floppy disk, as an ASCII text file (most word processing programs will allow you to save a document in
this format), then you can import this text directly into the gross examination or histopathology report section of the
pathology record. This can potentially save considerable data entry time and avoids the problems associated with retyping a
printed copy of the report into the pathology record. Even when the necropsy report and histopathology report are delivered
on a floppy disk as a single file, it will be quicker to import the entire file and delete the sections that are not applicable.
The mouse and delete key can be used to quickly block out and delete text that does not apply to the section being edited.

Some university laboratories (e.g. Michigan State University Animal Health Diagnostic Lab) offer their reports on a web
site - easily downloadable in ASCII form. Other pathologists can also E-mail the report, either as part of the mail message
or as an attached file. For those of you with historical pathology records saved as word processing files, it should be
possible to save those reports in ASCII format and import those old reports into MedARKS, considerably reducing the
amount of work required to get your historical pathology records on-line.

SSP Necropsy, Sample collection and Research protocols
The pathology records module includes a file that is designed to help you manage the requests for samples, requests for
body parts, research protocols, experimental treatment protocols and necropsy protocols that generally accumulate in large
piles on our desks or in file cabinets. Originally this protocol management system was designed for necropsy related
samples, but there is no fundamental difference between an experimental treatment protocol or a blood sample request and a
necropsy sample request (other than the fact that the animal is dead in one case). As a result, the protocol manager was
generalized to enable MedARKS to assist you with managing requests for live animal samples in addition to the important
pathology functions. As you start a necropsy record and have identified an animal (and thereby a species), the protocol
manager checks for sample requests that pertain to that species, and will automatically remind you about applicable sample
requests or necropsy protocols.

Reports and Record Selection Criteria
Much of the value of computerized data is not the process of collecting that data, but in using the data to help make
decisions and to learn either from a historical perspective at your institution or from a more global perspective when records
from multiple institutions are merged. One of the most important parts of every module is the report section, where you get
the opportunity to make the data work for you (and the zoo community). To a large extent, the issue of reports has been
addressed in the individual module sections, but there is one general concept that applies to many of the report programs
that does need to be explained. Retrieving every piece of information is frequently too overwhelming to be very useful, so
you have to be able to control what data is retrieved. The tool you use to select a portion of the available data is called a

Filters explained
Every report is filtering data at some level (e.g., selecting anesthesia records for a particular specimen is filtering all the
available records so that you only see the records for that specimen). MedARKS will frequently give you the chance to
specify filters prior to retrieving the records. These filter windows vary in details from module to module and range from
simple to very complex, but all have the same basic appearance and function. The filters in MedARKS are referred to as
Selection Criteria.

Filters allow the user to pick and choose the data that is presented. By putting restrictions on the data (e.g., you only want
data from the past 2 years and you don’t want data from sick animals) you can limit the number of records reported, and
thus improve the usefulness of that report. Like sand running through a series of filters, only a select fine grade of very
valuable sand finally passes out the bottom of the filtration system.

While prudent use of filters is often helpful, there are clearly times when it can be “too much of a good thing”. Some
thought must go into choosing the filtration for a record retrieval. Just as you can make a sand filter so fine so that no sand
comes out the bottom, too many selection criteria on a record retrieval can leave you with no data to examine. The simplest
example would be using two mutually exclusive filters. Records that pass one criteria for inclusion cannot pass the second
test for inclusion in the retrieval. Less obviously, if you simply add too many restrictions (selection criteria) you may end
up with no records retrieved. However, if you are looking for one specific record in a large data set, then multiple selection
criteria are justified since having one record at the end of the retrieval is the goal.

In MedARKS, the selection criteria windows have a fairly standard appearance. The selection criteria window will offer a
list of items that you can activate as filters. Activate none and you get all the records available (no filter). If you click on
any of the filter options offered you apply a filter to the retrieval process. While multiple filter options offer the ability to
perform complex filtering of the data, the types of filter options are actually quite limited (not all filter types may be present
on a selection criteria window). The basic filter option types are:
      1. A text search on a particular field: Records selected will contain a specific word or phrase (that you choose) in that
           particular field. For example, a filter could offer the ability to select for a specific word or phrase in the comment
           section of the record. Activate this filter and you are given the opportunity to type in a word or phrase; now only
           records with that word in the comments will be retrieved.
      2. Filter by date: Click on this type of option and you get to specify the starting and ending date for the record
           retrieval. For example, you only want records for the past 2 years; activate this type of filter option and you can
           specify the desired date range.
      3. “OR” lists: Click on this type of filter option and you are presented with a list of choices. You may click on one or
           more items on the list to build the filter. When you choose more than one item, records are retrieved when they
           include any of the items. Essentially you should interpret this filter option as saying: Select records that contain
           this item OR that item. An example is from the anesthesia selection criteria window. If you choose the “Overall
           rating” option, you are presented with a list of 4 items (excellent, good, fair, poor) and if you if you choose to filter
           on both excellent and good, then the records retrieved will be rated as either excellent or good. When you have
           finished making selections from an OR list, click off the list or press <enter> to return to the main filter window.
      4. Range options: This type of filter allows you to specify a range of values for the field specified by the option.
           Click on the option and you will be prompted for minimum and maximum values. An example is from the
           anesthesia module where you can filter by body weight, allowing you retrieve records where, for example, the
           animal weighed between 75 and 150 pounds.
    5.   Toggle options: These filter options allow you to choose between a limited list of mutually exclusive options. Like
         a toggle switch that can flip between a limited number of positions, these options work the same way. Click on a
         two-position toggle and the other option becomes visible. Click on a 3-way toggle and you get a list from which
         you can choose one option.

As stated earlier, you can activate as many or as few of the filter options as you desire, but remember, that the more options
you activate, the longer the filtration process will take and the fewer records will be retrieved in the end. When you have
activated all the filter options that you need in a selection criteria window, press <Ctrl><End> to signal the program that
you are done with building the filter.

The power of filters to control your data and give you meaningful reports will be demonstrated in the exercises. The final
thing to say about filters is that applying a filter implicitly states that you have been consistent with your data entry. There is
little point in searching for all records containing “left tarsus” if you have sometimes made the entry as “l. tarsus” or “lt.
tarsus” or “left hock”. MedARKS offers tools to assist with data consistency, but in the end, the responsibility falls on your

Electronic Data Transfer and Information Sharing
General information
One of the advantages of having multiple institutions keeping medical records in a standard format is that it is much easier
to share and merge that information. The ability to transfer (or export) information has been included as part of the
MedARKS program. Several record transfer routines are available. You can transfer MedARKS records based on
accession number, based on genus or species, or based on a date range. Each of these transfer options is most useful for
particular circumstances. In addition, you can transfer anesthesia records based on the use of a particular drug. Finally, you
are able to export hematology and serum/plasma chemistry results for ISIS to include in the Physiological Reference Values

Sending clinical pathology records to ISIS
Background on the Physiological Reference Values Project
ISIS has been collecting hematology and serum chemistry information from member institutions for about 20 years. The
goal of this project was to provide reference ranges for a variety of species by combining information from multiple
institutions. Most institutions have a fairly limited population of any particular species, so it can take years to gather
sufficient information to generate useful reference ranges, but combining (or pooling) information from multiple institutions
can quickly generate larger sample sizes. While there are potential problems with combining information from different
institutions (different test methods and transcription errors), these are the often the same problems faced even within a single
institution that sends samples to multiple laboratories. Rigorous screening of the test results submitted to ISIS helps to
eliminate erroneous results.

For most of the past 20 years, data was submitted to ISIS by transcribing results onto paper forms and mailing those forms
to the ISIS offices. This was a fairly labor intensive process, and the combined data set grew fairly slowly. With the release
of the MedARKS hematology and chemistry records module, it became possible to submit the information electronically.
Anyone that is using MedARKS to maintain their clinical pathology records, has already done most of the work required to
submit information to ISIS. We ask that all institutions send their information, to ISIS, once or twice a year. In return, all
institutions submitting records to ISIS will receive an updated set of reference values for use with the MedARKS program.

Creating an ISIS data transfer file - the nuts and bolts
After you have been using MedARKS to handle your hematology, chemistry and serology records for a few months it is
time to transfer some of those records to ISIS. Start the MedARKS program, go to the analysis of blood, urine and other
fluids menu and choose the “utilities” option. This will display the blood, urine and other fluid analysis utility menu. Choice
#5 is the utility that assists with the transfer of information to ISIS. Starting this utility gives you the following 4 choices.

a) Create transfer file containing data records for ISIS: This choice will browse through your records, locate records that
   have information that should be sent to ISIS and create a data transfer file that contains a summary of these records. If
   you have more that 1000 records to send to ISIS, multiple data transfer files will be created; each data transfer file can
   contain up to 1000 records. Once all your records have been processed, you will be given the chance to copy the data
   transfer file(s) to a floppy diskette. If you are familiar with E-mail, you can also attach the file(s) to a message and send
   the file(s) to The subject line should contain the phrase "MedARKS FILES".
b) Copy previously created ISIS transfer file to floppy disk: Usually, you will have transferred the ISIS file to a floppy
   diskette at the time it is created. However, there are situations when you will need to copy the ISIS data transfer file(s)
   to a floppy disk at a later time. This routine will list the ISIS data transfer files on your hard disk and allow you to copy
   them to a floppy diskette.
c) Mark all records for complete transfer to ISIS again: The MedARKS data transfer system is designed to keep the ISIS
   data set synchronized with your records, and normally only changes in your records are sent to ISIS. However,
   occasionally it may be necessary to have you send all your records to ISIS again. This utility marks all your records as
   in need of transfer to ISIS and then when you create the data transfer file (see above, section a.), it will contain
   information from all appropriate records.
d) Count the records available for transfer: Curious about how many records you have that may need to be sent to ISIS?
   This routine will quickly count the records that are currently marked for transfer to ISIS.

Note: There are several factors that control the actual transfer of records to ISIS, so the number given by this routine is the
highest possible record transfer number. At the time you create a data transfer file, some records may not pass all the tests
for inclusion, so fewer records may be in the actual data transfer file than was initially indicated by this routine.

Library disks
Library (or reference) diskettes represent a compilation of information from a single institution or a number of institutions.
These diskettes can include records from all modules of MedARKS or just a single module (e.g., only anesthesia records).
Library diskettes can be accessed by the MedARKS program and the records searched and examined using the standard
MedARKS reports. You can create your own single institution library diskettes by requesting a MedARKS data transfer
diskette from any institution using MedARKS. For example, you have just received your first chimpanzees, so you request
chimpanzee data diskettes from several institutions. You then examine these records, using the MedARKS library
functions, to see what problems and routine procedures are common at these institutions. Library diskettes from ISIS all
contain information compiled from multiple institutions. This merging of records from multiple institution requires a
special utility that is not included as part of the MedARKS program. However, the MedARKS technical support office will
combine records to generate library diskettes for SSP medical advisors if the advisors will collect the institutional diskettes.
 Library diskettes, representing the combined experience of multiple institutions, currently exist for okapi, New world tapirs
and Old world tapirs. There is also a carfentanil anesthesia library diskette.

Detailed instructions for accessing Library diskettes are included in the appendix of this manual (on page 76).

Sending a medical history to another institution:
The medical history data transfer routine allows you to specify an accession number (or a series of accession numbers) and
then copy the appropriate medical records to a floppy diskette. This feature was designed to make your job easier when you
ship an animal (or animals) to another institution. No longer is there a need to pull paper files and run dozens of sheets
through the copy machine. Instead, just start the MedARKS program, choose #7 from the main menu and then start the
“Medical History - Data Transfer” utility (choice #4). Choose to transfer records to a diskette and then choose to transfer
records based on accession number. Enter the accession number (or a series of numbers), place a blank diskette in the
floppy drive and all the medical records will be copied to that diskette. At the receiving institution, the records on the
diskette can be loaded into their copy of MedARKS, making the complete medical history of the specimen(s) available in a
familiar and searchable format.

Sending medical records to SSP Medical advisors
This is essentially the same as sending a medical history to another institution, but you want to send the records on multiple
animals. You could enter all the accession numbers (current and historical) for the species requested, but the MedARKS
data transfer routine offers a much more convenient option - transfer by taxonomic group. This option allows you to copy
records for an entire species (or genus) to a floppy diskette. The SSP medical advisor can use MedARKS to access the
records on each diskette or MedARKS technical support can assemble all the diskettes into a single data set to allow easier
searching of the available information.

IMPORTANT NOTE: This utility should only be run once per diskette. If you are transferring records on more than one
genus or species, you need a separate diskette each time you run the transfer routine. Running this utility more than one
time per diskette will overwrite the data that you have previously transferred and the diskette will contain only information
on the last genus or species that you transferred.

Loading a medical history from another institution
When you receive a MedARKS data transfer diskette along with a new specimen, you can merge the medical records on that
diskette into your MedARKS records (once the new specimen has been entered into your ARKS records). Start the medical
records data transfer utility (see above), but choose the option to transfer records from a floppy diskette. The program will
display the accession number (used at the previous institution) of the first specimen on the diskette and you will be
prompted to enter the accession number that has been assigned by your institution. If there is more than one specimen on
the diskette, the next specimen will then be displayed and you will be prompted for the new accession number of this
specimen. Once all the specimens on the diskette have been associated with their new accession number, the program will
begin reading the medical records on the diskette and adding the records to the appropriate specimen in your system. Once
the program is complete, the medical history of the specimen(s) should be available through the MedARKS program.

Special features

Standard Text Dictionary (< F5> pick list)
Every module in MedARKS allows you to define a list of standard text phrases or paragraphs. When you receive the
program, the clinical notes list contains some text entries (as examples), but the standard text lists for the other modules are
empty. Adding routinely used text entries to these lists can significantly ease data entry effort and provide more consistency
within your text records.

When you are working in a section of the record where the <F5> key is active, that information is displayed at the bottom of
the screen. The list of standard text entries for the module will be displayed if you press the <F5> key and selecting an
entry on the list will cause that text to be inserted into the record. The <F5> list for each module is separate from the lists
for the other modules, so the list of choices is specific for the currently active module.

Non-accessioned specimens
MedARKS version 5 introduced the ability to maintain medical records on individual animals that are not in the ARKS
inventory files. This feature was originally designed into MedARKS 5 to allow clinicians to maintain medical records on
injured wild animals or other specimens (e.g. fish) that would not be accessioned into the institutional ARKS data files.
However, other functions have been found for non-accessioned specimen records and the MedARKS 5 program was
enhanced to make this feature even more useful. Examples for use of the non-accessioned specimen feature include:

     1.   Wildlife Rehabilitation: Many zoo hospitals function as the local treatment center for injured wildlife, although it is
          much rarer to for an institution to accession these wild specimens into ARKS. A non-accessioned specimen record
          can be established in MedARKS for each individual treated and complete medical records maintained on each
          animal, with notes on the ultimate disposition of the specimen.

     2.   Wildlife Research: Many zoos are involved in conservation projects or ecological studies that involve monitoring
          of wild populations and often this involves collection of medical information. For example, if an animal is
          immobilized to attach a radio tracking device and a blood sample is collected, the non-accessioned specimen
          feature can be used to maintain anesthesia, hematology, serum chemistry, serology, and weight records on this
          individual animal. If the same animal is handled again, at some time in the future, the MedARKS non-accessioned
          specimen records provide valuable historical information on that individual. Records obtained on many
          individuals from the population being studied can provide invaluable data on the health status of the population and
          information, such as immobilization techniques for wildlife, can be shared with other wildlife researchers. One
          institution in the U.S.A.. is using MedARKS to track medical and other information on over 700 wild Humboldt
          penguins as part of a long-term study of a breeding colony in Chile.

     3.   Temporary Identification for an Accessioned Specimen: In many institutions, the ARKS records are maintained on
          a separate computer from the MedARKS records. An animal received into quarantine will begin to generate
          medical records immediately, but it may be several days (or longer) before an updated copy of the ARKS files is
          placed on the MedARKS computer to allow data entry for this newly accessioned specimen. This lag, between
          animal arrival and the ability to enter records on an accessioned specimen, makes it difficult for the clinician to
          keep the medical records up-to-date and increases the risk that some information will be forgotten or lost before
          MedARKS data entry can begin. The non-accessioned specimen feature can be used to provide a temporary
          identification for the new animal and allow medical record entry to begin immediately. Once the ARKS records
          have been updated, all the records entered on the non-accessioned specimen can be assigned to the correct
          accession number using the conversion routine included in MedARKS 5 (from the main menu, press option 7, then
          9). This ability to maintain records on an accessioned specimen prior to updating the ARKS files should reduce
          the need for frequent transfer of the updated ARKS files to the MedARKS computer.

     4.   Institutional Non-accessioned Specimens: Not every specimen at an institution will be entered into ARKS, yet the
          specimen may be an identifiable individual or part of a recognized group that is treated by the clinician. Exhibits
          of fish are a common example, where larger fish may be marked with tags or transponder chips for easy
          identification as an individual specimen, but few institutions accession these specimens into ARKS. Under these
          conditions, the clinician can use the non-accessioned specimen feature to maintain medical records on individual
          fish or groups of fish in a single exhibit, even though these specimens are not tracked in the ARKS files.

Full-screen browse of reports
The MedARKS program offers 3 forms of output for reports. You can print a report, save the report to a file on your hard
disk (for printing later) or display on the screen, one page at a time. After a few years of use, most people found that their
MedARKS records had became too complex for the screen display to be very useful. Users often needed to refer back to
earlier pages in long reports and the screen output, which discards a page after it is displayed, does not allow the user to go
backward through the report. What was requested was a means to look at a report on the screen (to save paper), but also to
be able to browse back and forth between various pages of the report. The browse utility (System Utilities menu) was added
as a solution to this user request. It takes advantage of the existing capability of the program to write a report to the hard
disk and gives you the capability to display that complete report in a window where it is possible to browse all the pages of
the report. If you do not need a printed copy of a report, get in the habit of writing reports to the disk rather than using the
screen output option and then use the browse utility to look at the entire report. You can activate the browse utility from the
system utilities menu or by pressing the <Alt><F12> key combination from any MedARKS menu.

Using a filter
One complete example will serve to demonstrate the power of filters. Follow along in this exercise to build a filter.

A keeper tells you that she thinks the kudu currently showing signs of weight loss and abdominal distension (cause is
currently undiagnosed) is related to the female that died a few years ago with similar clinical signs. The keeper remembers
nothing else about the female kudu except that it had a red eartag. You want to examine the medical records to determine if
the case that the keeper remembers has any similarity to the present case. The problem is that your institution has held over
70 kudu. You clearly do not want to examine the records on every animal. How do you narrow (filter) that list down to
something that is more manageable?
Go into the clinical notes section and when the accession number is requested, press <F9> to start the accession number
search routine. Now you can start the filtration process by specifying kudu as the species. Next you are presented with a
selection criteria window with the following filter options:
1. Current inventory or historical inventory                             (toggle type option)
2. Sex                                                                   (OR list type option)
3. Acquisition date range                                                (Date range type option)
4. Disposition date range                                                (Date range type option)
5. House name                                                            (Text search type option)
6. Tag or band information                                                         (Text search type option)
7. Tattoo information                                                    (Text search type option)
8. Transponder chip information                                          (Text search type option)

Use these options to build your filter. Click on #1 to specify the historical collection (you know the animal is not in the
current collection), then click on #2 and specify “Female” and finally click on #6 and specify the color “red”. Now click on
the <Ctrl><End> to apply that filter to the data records. The result of this filtration will be a list of 2 animals. Now the task
of examining the medical records is quite manageable.

Inventory and History Module

1.   What is the current age of Chester the cheetah?

2.   You will be performing routine physicals on your entire collection of cheetah. To help plan the procedures, you need to
     know the age, sex, and number of cheetahs that are in the current collection.

3.   You have received a exotic felid growth survey asking for all the weight data available for all cheetahs held at your

Anesthesia Module

1.   You are planning an immobilization of the gorilla, Linda. In your planning, you wish to review previous
     immobilizations and drug protocols to determine what combination seems to work best with this animal.

2.   You need to anesthetize the new 2 year-old male cheetah for a routine quarantine examination. Generate a summary of
     drugs and dosages used in immobilizations of similar cheetahs.

3.   You are preparing the annual report for 1994 (you are behind on your paper work) and want to include the total
     number of immobilizations done during the year.

4.   A new analgesic called Medetomidine Hydrochloride has recently come onto the market. The trade name is Domitor
     and it comes in a concentration of 1 mg/ml. Add this drug to the MedARKS dictionary.

Bonus exercise:
You have just received the first okapi at your institution and, wanting to be prepared for any emergency, you review the

carfentanil doses used by other institutions to immobilize okapi.


1.   It’s October of 1998 and your technician has gone on maternity leave. In her absence you are running the fecal
     examinations for the routine parasitology program. Which samples do the keepers need to collect for you?

2.   A Humboldt Penguin B292 arrived late last night to your zoo from another institution. The keeper staff, being ever so
     eager and able, has already collected quarantine fecal for examination. On floatation the technician finds Capillaria.
     The registrar has not even begun to think about entering last week’s records into ARKS let alone last night’s arrival.
     Enter the record into MedARKS

Clinical Pathology Module Exercises

Hematology / Chemistry:

1.   You have a sick bongo antelope and want to look at the ISIS reference values for bongo.

2.   Humboldt penguin B2643 has been treated for suspected aspergillosis for the past several weeks. The bird seems to be
     improving, so you collect a blood sample. Compare the hematology and chemistry results with last two sets of clinical
     pathology results from this bird and decide whether the bird seems to be recovering.

3.   You are publishing a paper in the Australian Journal of Rhinoceros Physiology and need to know the BUN conversion
     factor for American unit values to International units.

4.   The bontebok (Damaliscus dorcas dorcas) EEP is surveying institutions for cases of anemia. Specifically, they are
     requesting information on hematocrit and iron saturation values. Much to your surprise, you remember at least one case
     in your records.
          a. Identify the animal and the time period of the illness.
          b. Retrieve hematocrit and WBC values for the last two years.

5.   You have received a survey from the Cheetah EEP. You need to send them a report of all of the FIP titers (IFA
     method) obtained from your cheetah.

6.   A new laboratory called Zoolab has recently moved to your area. Since the CBC’s are half the price of the lab you are
     currently using you decide to switch labs. When the results come back the labs report has the test in the following order

     Platelet count

     Set up MedARKS to make data entry for Zoolab easier.

Serum Bank Module:

1.   You have received a black rhinoceros from another institution. You suspect that the fat, scruffy looking rhinoceros
     suffers from hypothyroidism. You submit a sample for thyroid hormone measurements, but you do not recall ever
     running thyroid levels on other rhinos. What serum samples are available in your freezer for obtaining comparative
     thyroid hormone measurements ?

Clinical Notes Module

1.   You've just finished another busy day of saving lives and preventing plague and pestilence. You sit down at your
     computer and want to enter the following information from one of today's cases into the medical records. The events
     go like this: Keepers call on the radio for you to look at Ralph, a Mitchell’s Cockatoo, who is bleeding from a
     laceration on the lower abdomen. Upon arrival to the enclosure, you talk to the keepers. Apparently, Ralph was
     plucking feathers and tore the skin on the abdomen. On visual inspection you find that Ralph has a steady stream of
     blood coming from his lower abdomen. Keepers have him isolated and he has not been fed today, so you decide to
     immobilize him using Propofol. You draw blood in Heparin and serum tubes for CBC, serum profile, and banking.
     You confirm that this bird has the ID transponder chip 00-0014-3C4C. You complete your physical exam and found
     no other problems besides the laceration. At the request of the EEP, you measure the wing span. You suture the
     laceration and start him on Bactrim, 200 mg PO BID for the next 10 days. Recovery from anesthesia is normal and
     suture removal is scheduled in 14 days.

     Now delete this entry about the Mitchell’s Cockatoo.

2.   You have been lucky enough to convince your director to hire a new associate (Edward Nigel Dothbert). Add his
     initials to the clinical note module before he begins employment.

3.   You spent the morning doing quarantine examinations on 6 penguins. You now must write records and you wish to
     reduce the number of times that you record the same basic information for each bird. Create standard text for a bird
     quarantine examination and then enter a record for bird B292.

Pathology Module

a)   It’s 6:00 pm, and as you get into your car to leave work early, you are notified that a Maned Wolf has just been found
     dead in its enclosure. You prepare to do the necropsy and want to know if there are any EEP requests for Maned Wolf

Bonus exercise:
Greater kudu #2520 just gave birth to a 18 kg male calf. The calf is alert and is able to stand, but appears slightly weak.
The keepers report that the calf appeared to suckle within a couple of hours of birth. You are trying to determine whether
this calf should be watched more closely than the other kudu calves.
     a) Is this a normal birth weight for a male kudu?
     b) What is the history of the dam regarding previous births?
     c) Check the weights of her previous calves.
     d) Check the medical history of these calves.

Helpful Hints for the Exercises

Inventory & Medical History
1. Use the collection data - individual specimen report and the <F9>.
2. Use the collection data - taxonomic group report.
3. Use the specimen weights menu.

1. Use the individual specimen report section. Choose <F9> to look up animal’s accession #.
2. Use the taxonomic group summary in the anesthesia reports.
3. Use the daily summary from the anesthesia report menu.
4. Use anesthesia utilities, add/edit dictionary
Bonus: Use the taxonomic group report on the carfentanil library disk and print the complete anesthesia records

1. Parasitology reports, due for examination report
2. Parasitology add/edit, <alt><F9> to enter the animal as non-accessioned, continue adding the record

Clinical Pathology
1. Hematology/Chemistry/Serology
2. Use the ISIS reference range report of the hematology reports menu.
3. Use the spread sheet report from the hematology report menu.
4. Use Hematology/Chemistry/Serology utilities - dictionary reports.
5. Select clinical notes report. Search by problem (anemia) to get an accession #. Go into clinical pathology record and
    select individual specimen spreadsheet report.
6. Select clinical pathology reports. Values for a specified test report.

Serum Bank Module:
1. Use the sample records for taxonomic group report from the cryopreservation bank reports menu.

Clinical Notes Module:
1. Add a clinical note and then delete it.
2. Clinical Note utilities, edit/update module parameters
3. Clinical Notes utilities, add/edit dictionary, standard text entry. When entry is complete, return to add/edit clinical note
    record, medical text, use <F5> hot key to select the newly created bird quarantine text
Alternate method:
    Add/edit clinical note records, select text string button, add the standard text entry. Upon completion, select medical
    text. Use <F5> hot key to select the newly created bird quarantine text

Pathology Module
1. Use Pathology Utilities. Sample Request Information.

Bonus: Retrieve birth weights for other kudu calves (0 to 4 days old), using the taxonomic weight report. To identify
previous calves for this dam, run a historical collection data - taxonomic group report and look for the animals where 2520
is the dam. Run medical history reports on these individuals to identify any medical problems for prior calves of this dam.

                                                  Advanced Topics
General data consistency

The simplest thing to say about abbreviations is “avoid at all costs”. Abbreviations were invented to allow us to spend less
time writing common phrases into the medical record, but this is the computer age! It is now often possible to insert the
complete phrase into the record with the same (or sometimes less) effort than typing the abbreviation. In addition to the fact
that the abbreviation no longer saves you a significant amount of time, there are problems associated with using

First, there is no national standards committee that publishes a list of acceptable abbreviations, so abbreviations often
become specific to a region or even an individual. If one of our goals is to produce medical records that can be merged to
produce a larger data set, then regional or personal abbreviations are only going to cause confusion and problems with
interpretation of these records. Another problem with many abbreviations is that they are often not used consistently even
within a single institution (for example, do you always write OS, or do you sometimes put “left eye” or “lt eye” into the
record?). Inconsistencies in your records make searching the records a more difficult process, so you should strive to
minimize any inconsistency in your records. One easy method to maintain a degree of consistency is to avoid using
abbreviations. Finally, abbreviations often contain fewer unique characters making their search signature quite large. The
phrase “left eye” will also match on records where you have written “left eyelid”, but if you are trying to locate records
containing “OS”, you are going to be looking at a large number of records that have nothing to do with the left eye.

The reality is that we are individuals and therefor inconsistent by nature. If you believe that computerized medical records
are a tool to help you do a better job, then the value of that tool depends to some extent on the degree of data consistency
within the records. Avoiding the use of abbreviations will make the records more useful to yourself and to anyone else
attempting to gain wisdom from your experiences.

Dictionary or authority files are another method that MedARKS uses to try and maintain data consistency. Just as you
would use a dictionary to check the spelling of a word, MedARKS uses the information in the “dictionary” file to verify
some of the critical information that you enter. However, MedARKS does more than simply verifying the correct spelling
of terms. Here are some of the other functions that are provided through the dictionary files:

Search on partial entry: When you are entering a drug (or any other critical item), you do not want (or need) to enter the
entire drug name. Usually entering just the first few letters of the term is sufficient. MedARKS will then use those initial
letters to search the dictionary for matching entries and produce a short list of possible terms. Now you can just pick from
this list. In fact, typing the first few letters is usually more efficient, since even if you type the entire entry, MedARKS is
going to verify your entry using the dictionary anyway. The computer can search for the correct entry much faster than most
of us can type in the full entry.

Thesaurus services: In many cases, there are multiple terms that are synonymous (e.g., bumblefoot & pododermatitis or
ketamine & Vetalar). MedARKS can perform instant translation of synonyms back to the original term. In this case, the
“dictionary” file is acting like a reverse thesaurus; you type in a synonym and MedARKS uses the authority file to determine
the “original” term (the one you want saved).

Translation services: For some modules, MedARKS supports the use of preferred terms. In this case, MedARKS will store
a particular term in your files (e.g., pododermatitis), but reports will show the term that you prefer (e.g., bumblefoot). Some
foreign languages can also be accommodated within this feature, allowing non-English speakers to have reports in the local
language while maintaining records that can be merged with those from institutions in English speaking countries..

As MedARKS is delivered with dictionary files that contain hundreds (and sometimes thousands of entries), these files
provide a degree of data standardization between institutions. For this reason, additions to the dictionary file should be
undertaken carefully. When you add a new term, be certain that it is not a synonym for an existing entry and try to add new
terms in the spirit of the existing entries. For example, the clinical problems dictionary file contains an “examination”
procedure. While you could add a new entry called “dental examination”, the intent of the original entry was to provide a
generic term for the procedure (examination) and then allow you to specify the type of examination with a qualifier term
(e.g., dental). The broad, generic term allows for easier retrieval of related problems, while the addition of a qualifier term
allows for retrieval of a more specific problem.

User-defined pick lists
Almost all the record modules have lists of standard answers that you, as the user, get to define. Then, when you get to the
appropriate place in the data entry, the list you created shows up and you are now picking an answer from a list that is
appropriate to your institution, rather than having to type in an answer. Your data is more consistent because you are
picking from a defined list, but the list is unique to (customized for) your institution. The most common user-defined lists
are the initials of clinicians and technicians at the zoo, although the list of laboratories routinely employed by your
institution is another important example. These lists have to be defined by each institution using MedARKS, but once
defined can remain unchanged for years. All these lists are defined through the “edit parameters utility” of the appropriate
records module. Take the time to define all these lists, as it will make data entry easier, and help keep your data internally
consistent. Finally, when defining your pick lists, make them as specific as possible; abbreviations should not be used if
there is room for more information. Your records are going to be shared with other institutions. Imagine the researcher
searching carcass disposition records in a set of pooled pathology record: the entry “Museum” is going to be much less
useful than “Milwaukee Museum” or “Chicago-Nat. His.”. It makes no difference to you during data entry; an obscure
abbreviation takes just as much time to pick as an entry that uses the maximum space allowed. However, the longer, more
specific entry produces a much more useful record. Once again, the advice is “avoid abbreviations”.

Data Quality Utilities
The final tool that MedARKS provides, to assist you in maintaining data consistency, are the data quality utilities. Present
in almost every module, these are very powerful search and edit programs that allow you to change your records “en mass”
rather than the 1 record at a time that is allowed by the normal edit routines. Be extremely careful when using these data
quality utilities as you have the potential to make massive changes throughout your entire records system with almost no
effort (e.g., it would be possible to change every anesthesia where you used carfentanil to read that you gave carbenicillin).
For this reason, the master password is required to access all data quality routines and it is strongly suggested that every
MedARKS system have this master password set. Only the most trusted and competent personnel should have access to
these routines. On the other hand, when you discover that you have not been consistent with a data field entry, it may be
possible to correct all your records with very little effort, which will increase the value of your records.

Clinical Notes - Problems and Text

Text Editing (MedARKS temporary clipboard)
When you use the text editing commands (on page 81) to copy text to the clipboard, this is a temporary clipboard. It can
only hold one piece of information, so if you copy another section of text to this clipboard, the first text is lost. Also if you
exit from MedARKS anything in the clipboard is lost. So, what good is such an ephemeral clipboard? Well, the most
common use is when you perform a series of similar examinations or procedures. For example, you have a group of 5 green
pigeons in quarantine, and you spend a morning performing your routine quarantine examinations on all 5 birds, and with
minor exceptions, all the birds appear healthy and in good condition. When it comes time to write the clinical text records
for the day, the temporary clipboard will be very useful. Write the first record in great detail. Now copy this record to the
clipboard and start the record for the next bird. Paste the complete record from the clipboard into this second record. Now
make the minor editing changes that are required for this bird (for example, if you placed transponder chips in all 5 birds;
the chip identification will need to edited for each bird). If you are consistent in the performance of your procedures, most
of the record will be correct. Repeat this process for the remaining 3 birds. The end result is 5 complete medical records in
only slightly more time than it took to write one record.

Standard Text Entries (MedARKS permanent clipboard)
The standard text list is one of the most important features for maintaining some consistency in your text data and for
making text records quicker and easier to produce. Think of this feature as a permanent clipboard filled with short and long
notes. A single keystroke (<F5>) will let you look at that clipboard and browse through the contents. Find an entry you
want and another keystroke will paste that entire text entry into the text record that you are currently working on. Thus, an
entire page of text might be assembled with a small number of keystrokes. The text entry is rapid and spelling mistakes are
avoided. The clipboard can be completely customized to meet your needs (see below).

However, like a real clipboard, this virtual clipboard can also become unworkable if too many notes are attached to it. If
you make your list of text options too long, it becomes more and more difficult to find the entry you want, so your
productivity begins to decline. The trick is to find the right balance between enough notes so that you are not typing the
same entry again and again and few enough entries on the clipboard so that you can quickly locate the entry you want and
paste it into your record. MedARKS helps control the clutter by maintaining separate standard text lists for each module.
This means that when you press <F5> in the anesthesia module, you see that list of notes that pertain to the anesthesia
record and not those written for the parasitology, clinical text or prescription modules.

Creating new permanent clipboard entries
Customizing your virtual clipboard to suit your institution’s needs is a relatively painless process. Each record module that
supports a standard text list (anesthesia, parasitology, prescriptions, fluid analysis, clinical text and pathology) has a utility
that will allow you to edit the list for that module. To access the utility, go to the module utilities menu and then select the
Add/Edit/Update Dictionary Entries option. Now choose the “standardized text and forms dictionary” option. You will be
presented with the current standardized text list for this module of your system. The clinical text utility can also be accessed
from within clinical notes data entry program by using the “text strings” button on the data entry screen.

If you wish to eliminate some of these text entries to streamline your list, simply pick the entry you wish to eliminate then
press the <F8> key to eliminate that entry from your list.

If you wish to add a standardized text entry or form, press the escape key. You can now enter a new standard text entry
(either a single line of text or multiple lines of text).

Defining a Formal Clinical Problem and Adding to the Master Problem List
The master problem list for an animal is part of the clinical notes module. Like the master problem list in a traditional paper
medical records system, it is meant to be a formal summary of the major medical events in the life of an animal. The formal
(or structured) nature of the master problem list makes it easier to search for particular problems. This section of the
clinical notes module is can also be at least partially standardized, making it possible to share information between
institutions.. In contrast, the text records are not structured and searching for a particular problem and extracting useful
records is a much more difficult process. Unfortunately, despite the importance of the master problem list, it is often an
underutilized feature of the MedARKS system.

MedARKS recognizes four categories of entries into the master problem list:
• Infectious diseases contracted (e.g., Salmonellosis)
• clinical signs observed (diarrhea, coughing, lameness, etc)
• other problems experienced (bite wounds, fractures, etc.)
• medical procedures completed (surgery, examinations, vaccinations, etc.)
In addition, every disease or other problem entry can be marked as either "suspected" or "confirmed". A chronic-active
diseases status can also be indicated, allowing you to produce reports that list the current problems only.

Two different routes can be used to access the master problem list for an animal. During data entry of clinical text records,
the “Problems” button at the bottom of the data entry screen allows editing of the master problem list. This data entry mode
allows you access the master problem list only for the currently active animal. The second route for data entry into the
master problem list is directly from the clinical notes module menu (option #3 on that menu). Accessing the master problem
list from the module menu level yields an additional data entry method. This alternate data entry option allows you to easily
enter the same problem (or procedure) into the master problem list of a number of animals (essentially batch entry of a
problem). So, in cases where the same procedure (e.g., vaccination) or the same problem (e.g., quarantine) needs to be
entered for a group of animals, this data entry option obtains the problem/procedure information and then just allows entry
of a series of accession numbers.

All entries into the master problem list are validated against the problem dictionary included with the module. Each record
in the master problem list must contain a term from the "problem" category (see below). In addition, some "problem" terms
allow the entry of a term from the "qualifier" category. Qualifiers enhance, or describe the entry in the master problem list
are also validated against the dictionary. As an example, consider the entry of "lameness" into a master problem record. By
itself lameness defines the clinical sign that the animal exhibits, but when you add a topographic qualifier term of "left rear
leg", you have a better overall view of the condition of the animal.

                                             Master Problem List Entries
 Problem categories                                           Qualifier categories
 Clinical signs                                               Topography
 Procedures                                                   Etiological Agent
 Infectious Disease                                           Other Qualifiers
 Other Diseases, Problems and Illnesses

In general each of the categories have been defined as follows:

Clinical Signs: This category contains of clinical signs and symptoms that may be used to describe a problem. Examples:
abdominal distention, abnormal gait, constipation.

Infectious Disease: This category contains infectious diseases. Examples: Tuberculosis, Feline Leukemia.

Procedures: This category contains procedures that were felt to be important to record and be able to extract from pooled
data. Examples: contraception, SSP requested procedure, transponder failure, radiograph, physical examination.

Diseases: This category contains common non-infectious diseases. Examples: Focal Palatine Necrosis, neoplasia, sprain.

Other Problems/Illnesses: This category contains other problems which are not clinical signs, symptoms or recognized
diseases. Examples: Neonate, Parturition, Supranormal Chemistry Value.

Topography: This category contains anatomic parts or regions that describe where a problem is located. Examples: Tail,
right front leg, femur (left).

Etiological Agent: This category contains agents which cause disease or problems. Examples: Mycobacterium
tuberculosis, Escherichia coli, Toxocara canis.

Other Qualifiers: This category is a catchall for qualifiers that do not fit in other categories. Examples: Names of local
medical consultants, names of enclosures, and adjectives used to describe the problem component (e.g., “watery” as a
descriptor for diarrhea)

Organizing your text records (pseudoclinicians)
MedARKS has record modules specifically designed for recording many types of laboratory results, including hematology,
blood chemistry, serology and parasitology information. However, other categories of laboratory data, such as culture
results (microbiology), and cytology do not have specific record modules available. The best place to record this “other”
laboratory information is in the clinical text records. The following suggestions should help you to organize these
laboratory results within the clinical text records and help make these results more retrievable.

Clinical text records in MedARKS are organized by animal, date, and clinician initials, allowing each clinician in a practice
to record separate clinical observations and treatments for the same animal on the same date. One solution for dealing with
laboratory results is to add this information to the clinical text record written by the clinician responsible for collection of
the sample producing those laboratory results. In one sense, this simplifies the records for an animal, since there is only one
record per day for each animal. However, the daily record on the animal can rapidly become unreadable. For example,
imagine a situation where you have an infected mass on an animal. It is quite likely that you will have both cytology and
culture results, as well as an extensive clinical narrative record. Printing only the narrative portion of the animal’s record
becomes impossible since it is mixed in with laboratory results. One solution to this problem has been to enter laboratory
results under the initials of a technician. Now, if you want to access the clinical narrative, you filter the records based on
clinician initials and obtain only that portion of the record. This is an acceptable solution to the problem of keeping
laboratory results separate from the clinical text records, but you get into problems if your technician has any responsibility
for writing narrative records (perhaps the technician is required to enter notes on any animals being hand-reared in the
hospital). If this is the situation, you can no longer separate the narrative notes by the technician (e.g., how much milk was
consumed at each feeding) from the laboratory results entered under the initials of the technician. Now imagine that your
technician leaves and you hire someone new. Now you either have to remember that some laboratory results are under one
set of initials and others are under a different set of initials, or your new technician is required to change his name so that the
initials are the same as the old technician. There is a better method!

We call this technique “pseudoclinicians” (and this is not meant to be an insult to any colleague). A “pseudoclinician” is
simply a fake set of initials that you use for storing laboratory results. What is really exciting is that you can create an
unlimited number of pseudoclinicians and use each one to store a different type of laboratory result. For example, if you
want to look at all of the culture results for a particular case, you can use your filter for the appropriate set of
pseudoclinician initials and you will only retrieve culture results. The rule that is recommended is that you include at least
one non-alphabetic character in the initials to make it obvious that this is a pseudoclinician and to avoid the possibility of
hiring an associate in the future that has the same initials as one of your pseudoclinicians. One popular scheme for creating
pseudoclinicians is an asterisk followed by 2 letters that have some meaning (e.g., *CY = cytology results, *FC = fecal
culture, *JC = Johnes culture, *CS= Culture/Sensitivity etc.). Let your imagination run wild!

Interface with the prescription and weight modules
From within clinical notes text records data entry, you are given direct access to both the prescription and body weight
record modules. This ability was designed to make it more convenient for the clinician, when writing the medical text
records, to add prescription and weight information on the currently active animal. When you enter records into these other
modules from within clinical notes, there is an implicit understanding that you are entering data for the same animal you are
working on within the clinical notes section. There is no need to enter accession number information (which saves you data
entry time), but you do lose access to some of the powerful features of the prescription module by getting into the
prescription module through this back door. For example, if you were writing the daily records that included vaccinations
on the entire wolf pack, it will actually be more work to enter those prescription records through the clinical notes access.
This is because one of the powerful features of the prescription module is the “duplicate last prescription for a new animal”
option. Entering the vaccination record through the prescription module allows you to enter the vaccine record once and
then duplicate that record for the rest of the pack. Entering the vaccine information through the clinical notes module forces
you to enter the entire vaccine record on each pack member.

Finally, if you need to write a group prescription, then you must enter the prescription through the prescription module.
Accessing prescription records from within the clinical notes module only allows you to enter prescriptions on individual

Interface with other modules from within Clinical Notes
Another feature of the newer versions of MedARKS is the ability to view records in any of the MedARKS modules (except
pathology) from within the clinical notes data entry section. This allows you to obtain any pertinent clinical information you
might require without having to leave the “comfort” of the clinical notes module. For example, if you had an animal that
was losing weight over the past month and you wanted to check the most recent blood analysis results, parasitology
findings, and what treatments you or the other clinician(s) have tried, you can access this information using the “View other
module records” option. This button also allows you to read the ARKS3 text notes which (depending on your registrar) can
provide such important information as the movements of that animal through various institutions and exhibits, behavioral
observations, birthing data, and even Master Plan information for that particular animal.

You cannot modify any of the data that is displayed from the other modules, but you can copy any information in that
window to the temporary clipboard and then paste it into the medical text record. So, if the ARKS record contains a keeper
observation that you would like to enter into the medical record, you do not need to retype that information. Instead,
display the ARKS note, copy the relevant text (on page 81), return to the clinical note and paste the text into the record.

Pathology Records

User-defined field
This is something completely new for MedARKS - a searchable data field where you get to decide on the information that
will be stored in the field. In the past, when you had information that you wanted to standardize within your institution that
was not part of a regular MedARKS record, you had to put that information into the comments. . A good example is the
reason or purpose for an immobilization procedure, which many facilities routinely enter into the anesthesia comments.
MedARKS will help you to standardize your text entries through the <F5> key and you have some ability to filter records,
based on information in the comments, so it is possible to retrieve records based on this information. However, MedARKS
does not prompt you for that information on every record, so it can be easy to forget to enter the information into the
comments (unless you are well disciplined about your records).

The user-defined field changes those rules. Now, if there is some piece of information that you want to routinely track on
pathology cases (and even retrieve records based on this information), then you now have that ability. MedARKS will
prompt you for that information on every record and maintain a list of default answers (a pick list). You even get to define
the title for that data field when it is printed on reports. If you do not want to use this field, you can turn this entire data
field off, and you will not be bothered with the user-defined field during data entry. The name of the field and the list of
default answers are defined through the pathology module parameters.

SSP Necropsy, Sample collection and Research protocols
The pathology records module includes a file that is designed to help you manage the requests for samples, requests for
body parts, research protocols, experimental treatment protocols and necropsy protocols that we all see quite commonly. In
the past, it has been our responsibility to track all that information and fulfill the appropriate requests when possible. It can
be quite a bit of work to track this information with a paper filing system since some requests are at the species level (e.g.,
the gorilla SSP), some are at the family level (e.g., Canid TAG) and other requests are for even larger taxonomic groups.
Locating all the protocols that apply to a particular species when animal dies can be a time consuming task. The MedARKS
pathology routines are designed to help you manage this information. As soon as you start a necropsy case (the species is
known once you enter the accession number), the program automatically searches for all pertinent requests and protocols
and then places a reminder into the MedARKS record and can even print you a copy of these requests.

The protocol management system was originally designed to manage necropsy requests and protocols only, but it rapidly
became clear that there was not a fundamental difference between a blood sample request and a necropsy tissue request
(other than the fact that the animal is dead in one case). As a result, the protocol manager was generalized to enable
MedARKS to assist you with managing requests for live animal samples. The main difference is that with live animals you
have to remember to ask the protocol manager if there are any requests for samples from live animals. The protocol
manager knows that there is a dead animal as soon as you start a necropsy record, so it can automatically remind you about
dead animal requests. The only time that MedARKS can suspect that you are going to work on a live animal is when you
run the anesthesia taxonomic (species) report. When you run this report, MedARKS will automatically check the protocol
file and inform you when there are sample requests or other protocols that apply to live animals of the specified species.
Any other time that you want to know about live animal protocols, you will need to go to the pathology utilities menu and
run the protocol file report for a specific species and live animal protocols.

Another important feature of the protocol manager is that its request files can be easily updated and that requests can be set
to automatically expire. The protocol update file can be distributed by diskette, by E-mail or over the Internet. No more
trying to reach the SSP coordinator at 7 p.m. to find out if the research protocol dated from June 1989 still applies. If that
protocol is still active in the MedARKS protocol file then it should still be a valid request.

Finally, the protocol manager allows you to create you own sample requests. The next time one of the zoo education
department requests a piece of hide from a giraffe, don’t just write a note to yourself that will be lost long before the next
giraffe dies. Instead, add a sample request to the protocol file. Such a request is a simple addition; the recipient is the zoo
education department and the request is for a piece of hide and the species is giraffe. Now, when the next giraffe dies, you
will automatically be reminded to collect that piece of hide (think of the brownie points you can earn!).

Importing Computerized Text into MedARKS:
Sometimes you get information from another source (outside laboratory or consulting pathologist) in the form of a computer
file (e-mail message, web page or a word-processor file). When this is the case, you do not need to retype that text
information to get it into MedARKS. Text information from other files can be loaded into the MedARKS system in 3
places - the necropsy report, the histopathology report and the clinical text record. There are actually 2 different methods to
get this text information into MedARKS.

Importing an ASCII file:
MedARKS can import a pure text (ASCII) file directly into 2 places in the pathology record (necropsy text and
histopathology text sections) and into the clinical notes text record. You use the same technique in all 3 places. So, how do
you create a pure text file? It turns out to be very easy. Windows includes a program called “Notepad” that produces pure
text files. So, any text that you copy into Notepad and save will be saved as a text file. In addition, Windows makes it easy
to copy information between different programs.

Consider the example where your consulting pathologist has sent you a histopathology report as an e-mail message. First
open the e-mail message so that you can read the text of the message. Use your mouse to highlight the text that you need to
get into MedARKS, then click on “Edit” and then “Copy”. You now have a copy of that text in the Windows clipboard.
Next start the Notepad program (click on “Start”, then “Programs”, then “Accessories” and finally “Notepad”), and click on
“Edit” and then “Paste”. You should now have your selected text in the Notepad Windows. Now click on “File” and then
“Save” to save this text as a file; you can save the file anywhere, but importing is easiest if you save on a floppy disk. Use
an 8 character (or less) file name since MedARKS is a DOS application. Finally, start the MedARKS program, go to the
histopathology report section of the MedARKS record, press <Ctrl><L> and MedARKS will request the text file location
and name (e.g., A:990135.txt). When you have entered the drive and file name information, press the <Enter> key and the
text will be imported into the current MedARKS record. When the necropsy report and histopathology report are delivered
as a single file, it is usually quicker to import the entire file and then delete the sections that are not applicable. The mouse
and delete key can be used to quickly block out and delete text that does not apply to the section being edited.

Some university laboratories (e.g. Michigan State University Animal Health Diagnostic Lab) offer their reports on a web
site. The same instructions apply for a web page - copy the text to the Windows clipboard, paste into Notepad, save the text
as a file and then import hat file into MedARKS. In fact, virtually any text file that you can view on your computer can be
imported into MedARKS using these instructions. For those of you with historical pathology records saved as word
processing files, those reports can be imported into MedARKS, using these instructions, considerable reducing the amount
of effort required to get your historical pathology records into a computerized format.

Pasting Directly into MedARKS from Windows 98:
This method starts out the same as the first. First open the computer file containing the text that you need (e-mail message,
web page or word processor file), so that you can read the text of the message. Use your mouse to highlight the text that
you need to get into MedARKS, then click on “Edit” and then “Copy” so that you have placed a copy of that text in the
Windows clipboard. Now start the MedARKS program and go to the location where you want to paste that text. If
MedARKS is running in full-screen mode, press <Alt><Enter> to reduce MedARKS to a Window on your screen. Now
click on the icon at the upper left corner of this MedARKS window. A drop-down menu will appear - choose edit and then
paste from this menu. The text that is on the Windows clipboard will be typed into MedARKS at the current location of the
MedARKS cursor. The process of loading text from the clipboard is not as fast as the MedARKS ASCII import process,
but you do save the step of opening the Notepad program and saving the text as a file.

Clinical Notes Module

A. Its 4:30 pm and you've just finished another busy day of saving lives and preventing plague and pestilence. You sit
down at your computer and want to enter the following information from one of today's (Oct 26, 1997) cases into the
medical records. The events go like this: Keepers call on the radio for you to look at Ralph, a Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo,
who is bleeding from a laceration on the lower abdomen. Upon arrival to the enclosure, you talk to the keepers.
Apparently, Ralph was plucking feathers and tore the skin on the abdomen. On visual inspection you find that Ralph has a
steady stream of blood coming from his lower abdomen. Keepers have him isolated and he has not been fed today, so you
decide to immobilize him using Propofol. You draw blood in Heparin and serum tubes for CBC, serum profile, and
banking. You are able to read the ID transponder 00-0014-3C4C. You complete your physical exam and found no other
problems besides the laceration. At the request of the SSP, you measure the wing span. You perform surgery suturing the
laceration and start him on Bactrim, 200 mg., PO BID. Recovery from anesthesia is normal and suture removal is scheduled
in 14 days.

Yikes! It's 6 pm and you wake up to find you've fallen asleep at your keyboard. You go pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit
back down at your keyboard and are amazed to find that in your sleep, you have entered a completely fictitious event. You
now erase the entry about the Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo and decide to call it a day.

B. You are preparing a monthly activities report and want to include some data on the most common problems that you saw
last month.

C. You are preparing for a meeting with your director. Over the past 15 years you have impressing on him the need for a
new quarantine facility. Now that you are using MEDARKS version 5, you can document this need. Generate a list of all
animals that were in quarantine over the past 5 years.

D. You are preparing for a hospital staff meeting tomorrow and wish to have a list of all active problems in the collection.

Pathology Module

A. It’s 6:00 pm, and as you get in your car to leave work early, you are notified that a Maned Wolf has just been found
dead in its enclosure. You prepare to do the necropsy and want to know if there are any SSP requests for Maned Wolf

B. You are putting together a report for the Director on cases of death by Eastern Equine Encephalitis at your institution.
He is most interested in confirmed cases this year.

C. Since the first of this year there seems to have been an increase in deaths in the Bongo Antelope. How many Bongo have
died to since January 1, 1997. How does that number compare to deaths in 1996?

D. You are immobilizing three female Gaur for reproductive examinations. You remember that Lee Raley is requesting
Citrate Buffered whole blood on Gaur. But, you cannot remember if that request is valid this year? Is the request valid?
How much blood does he need? How should it be shipped? Where do the samples need to be shipped? Who is covering
the costs?


Hardware requirements and recommendations for MedARKS 5
Minimum Hardware Requirements:
      Central Processing Unit (CPU): 80386 (usually shortened to “386")

         Random Access Memory (RAM): 4Mb (Megabytes)

         Hard disk: 200Mb

         Monitor: Monochrome text

         Operating system: DOS 5 (or higher)

Recommended Hardware:
      CPU: 486 or Pentium
      Advantage: Program will run substantially faster with a more powerful processor. The higher the clock speed, the
      faster the processor will run (i.e a 66MHz machine is better than one with a 33MHz CPU)

         RAM: 8Mb
         Advantage: Record retrievals will be faster with more extended memory and it will be possible to run MedARKS
         from inside Windows (for those who like the convenience to being able to switch between applications without
         shutting down what they are currently working on). More memory is even better, and 16Mb is required if you plan
         to use the Windows 95 operating system.

         Hard disk: 3-6Gb
         Advantage: You will have the hard disk space to keep your other programs (e.g. word processing) on the
         MedARKS machine.

         Monitor: Color VGA
         Advantage: The program will be easier to use (it will be much more obvious which is the highlighted choice in
         color) and there are some simple graphics available from inside MedARKS when VGA mode is available (e.g. plot
         changes in clinical pathology test results over time for an animal).

         Operating system: Windows 95or 98
         Advantage: You are able to switch from MedARKS to another program and then back to MedARKS without
         having to exit from the program. Windows 95/98 offer better memory management than Windows 3.

         Advantage: Choosing, from a menu or a drop-down list, becomes as simple as point and click. Text editing
         (cutting and pasting) is also much easier with a mouse.

Other Useful Equipment:
       Zip Drive or Tape Backup Unit: The reason that most people do not have adequate backup files is simply because
       it takes too much time to copy those critical files to floppy diskettes on a regular basis. We can all find something
       we would rather do, other than sit in front of the computer swapping floppy diskettes in and out of the drive. With
       a tape backup unit, the process can be partially automated; you only need to remember to change tapes. The new
       versions of MedARKS also let you run the backup routine to a Zip drive. As a zip disk holds about 100 Mb, it will
       be a long time before your backup will not fit on a single disk, and not having to swap diskettes makes t he backup
       task easier to perform. At about $300 for a good tape unit and about $100 for a Zip drive, it is very cheap
       insurance for your medical record files.

         Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS): If you have regular power failures or even severe drops in the voltage
         (“brownouts”), you are at risk for damaging your computer files. A surge protector prevents high voltage spikes
from damaging your computer, but provides no protection against the local voltage drop that occurs when the
factory down the road suddenly demands significantly more electrical power (or perhaps even when your building
air conditioning unit starts up). With a severe “brownout”, you notice the lights dim and your computer will
usually reset itself, so you are not surprised that files can be damaged. However, even a “brownout” that does not
dim the lights and doesn’t reset your computer, can still damage open data files on your computer (files are opened
whenever data entry is occurring or whenever record retrieval is happening). The UPS detects decreasing voltage
and supplements the power from a rechargeable battery. In the event of a complete power failure, the UPS can
provide power to keep your computer running for several minutes (or longer) which allows you to exit the current
program (closing the files) and turn off the computer in an orderly fashion. While you can spend $1000 for an
UPS that will keep your computer running for 60 minutes or more during a power failure and will automatically
shutdown your computer system even when you are not present, you can get a good unit for only about $99. This
unit will protect against “brownouts” and will provide several minutes of power in the event of a complete failure.
Even the cheap models usually have an alarm that warns you when power is being drained from the battery; you
will probably be surprised at how often the UPS warns you about a “brownout” that you would not have noticed

Local Area Network (LAN): For any veterinary practice where data entry time on the MedARKS computer
becomes a scheduling problem, consider linking multiple computers together to allow shared access to the records
and simultaneous data entry. A network can be as small as 2 computers or as large as several hundred. MedARKS
is currently being used on LAN’s at about 30 zoos. The same memory and CPU recommendations apply to each
workstation running MedARKS, but only the computer storing the program and data files requires a large hard
disk. Running independent copies of MedARKS on separate computers with data entry restricted to particular
record modules on each computer is no longer encouraged. The various record modules are becoming more
closely integrated and there is a benefit to allowing the program to share information between the modules and this
can only occur on a single machine or on a network.

Critical files in MedARKS 5
Where are the MedARKS version 5 files located on the hard disk and what are the critical files in these

While MedARKS 5 can be installed to alternative directories, this document lists the directories and files that will be
present when you have installed using the default values for the program installation. Subdirectories are indicated with the
“\” and their contents are listed under the subdirectory heading. If you are using Windows, find the drive with the
NEWMED folder and double click on this folder to open the folder and start the process of viewing the contents. The
NEWMED folder should only contain the MEDARKS folder. The MedARKS under the NEWMED folder will contain
files (the program and related files) and the DATA folder. The DATA folder contains your MedARKS 5 records.
Warning: If your directory structure is significantly different from what is defined below, you should consult with a local
computer expert or MedARKS Technical Support before deleting or moving files. If you need to check which drive and
directories your program is using, start MedARKS and go to the System Utilities, and then Edit/Display System Parameters.
 Two of the parameters define the drive and directory locations of the program and of the data files.

MedARKS version 5.3 - Default Directory Structure and Critical Files
       FMEDARKS.BAT              (copy of this file should also be in the root directory of this drive)
              ANESDATA.DBF                                              (anesthesia records module)
              ANESDRUG.DBF                                              (anesthesia records module)
              ANESTHES.DBF                                              (anesthesia records module)
              ANESTHES.FPT                                              (anesthesia records module)
              ANESTRAK.DBF                                              (anesthesia records module)
              BANKCOMM.DBF                                              (serum bank records module)
              BANKMAIN.DBF                                              (serum bank records module)
              BANKMAIN.FPT                                              (serum bank records module)
              CN_GROUP.DBF                                              (clinical notes records module)
              CN__PROB.DBF                                              (clinical notes records module)
              CN__TEXT.DBF                                              (clinical notes records module)
              CN__TEXT.FPT                                              (clinical notes records module)
              CPDELETE.DBF                                              (clinical pathology records module)
              CP_FIXED.DBF                                              (clinical pathology records module)
              CP_ORDER.DBF                                              (clinical pathology records module)
              CP__COMM.DBF                                              (clinical pathology records module)

                  CP__FLEX.DBF                                          (clinical pathology records module)
                  CP__MAIN.DBF                                          (clinical pathology records module)
                  CP__MAIN.FPT                                          (clinical pathology records module)
                  NORMALS.DBF                                           (clinical pathology records module)
                  ORGANISM.DBF                                          (parasitology records module)
                  ORGCODES.DBF                                          (parasitology records module)
                  PARAEXAM.DBF                                          (parasitology records module)
                  PARAEXAM.FPT                                          (parasitology records module)
                  PARAPTRS.DBF                                          (parasitology records module)
                  PARA_DUE.DBF                                          (parasitology records module)
                  PATH_GRP.DBF                                          (pathology module)
                  PATH_SSP.DBF                                          (pathology module)
                  PATHDIAG.DBF                                          (pathology module)
                  PATHLIST.DBF                                          (pathology module)
                  PATHMAIN.DBF                                          (pathology module)
                  PATHMAIN.FPT                                          (pathology module)
                  PATHWGHT.DBF                                          (pathology module)
                  RX_SCHED.DBF                                          (prescription records module)
                  RX__MAIN.DBF                                          (prescription records module)
                  RX__MAIN.FPT                                          (prescription records module)
                  RX__PTRS.DBF                                          (prescription records module)
                  TESTLIST.DBF                                          (clinical pathology records module)
                  WGHTLIST.DBF                                          (weights module)

Other files that may be present:
1. Index files (*.?DX) are not critical files. They can all be erased and will be regenerated the next time you start the
   MedARKS 5 program.
2. Default settings for variable parameters that allow customization of record modules and program actions are held in the
   ????VARS.MEM files. The program will start without these files and the values for the variables can be set through
   the utilities found in each module.
3. File names starting with 8 digits and ending in TXT or TMP or DBF or FPT are temporary files created by FoxPro that
   were left behind when the program terminated unexpectedly - these files can be erased. When the program terminates
   normally, all temporary files are erased by FoxPro as part of the normal shutdown procedure. When the program
   terminates abnormally, these files get left behind and need to removed manually.
4. Deferred output file all start with OUTPUT. These files can be erased.

Many of the data files in version 5 were created from a file with the same name in version 4, but have a modified file
structure in the newer version. Do not mix version 4 and version 5 data files in the version 5 subdirectory. If you have
upgraded to version 5.3, you should not even be using the old MedARKS version 4 program.

Suggested Backup Procedures for MedARKS
Who needs good backup copies of data files? Everyone does!

Your computer files can be damaged or destroyed by accident (e.g., delete the wrong file), by deliberate mischief (e.g., a
computer virus), by computer loss (e.g., theft or fire), by hard disk failure (all hard disks fail eventually and often without
warning), by power surges (e.g., lightning strikes to the power grid), and by power failures. Finally, sometimes your files
will be corrupted for no apparent reason (cosmic rays??). Some of these causes of file loss may seem unlikely, but
institutions using ISIS software (and there are only a few hundred) have lost data for all of the above reasons - you are not
immune to data loss.

What is the bottom line? When you use a computer, it is virtually certain that, at some point in time, you will need to
access a backup copy of a critical file. How seriously the file loss impacts you will depend on the backup protocol you have
established and how well you have adhered to that protocol. Some zoos have lost years worth of computerized data with no
means to recover that data without repeating all the data entry from paper copies (a prospect that most of us would not find
inviting). The following are guidelines for equipment and procedures to establish good backups of your data files, so that
when you need that backup, it will be available.

Tape units provide the most convenience for making backup copies of your computer files. Prices have dropped
significantly over the past few years, and an excellent tape backup unit, capable of holding 1.6 gigabytes of information, can
now be purchased for about $300 in the U.S.A. For most institutions, this will be sufficient space to make a backup of every
file on their computer. Institutions with multiple computers (not on a network), can purchase the same tape backup unit as a
portable device (for only a slightly higher cost) that attaches to the parallel port of any computer. With a single machine or
a network, the backup procedure can be automated to occur at night when the computer is not being used, so that the
computer is fully available during normal working hours. Most institutions will find the advantages of a tape backup to be
well worth the small initial investment.

Removable, high capacity disks (e.g., the Zip® drive from Iomega) have the capacity to store around 100 megabytes of
information, which can be sufficient for the backup of critical data sets. While more costly than a tape backup unit and
more limited in capacity, these removable media drives do have the benefits of increased speed and of functioning as an
extra hard disk when not being used to produce backups. These units are usually connected to the parallel port of the
computer, allowing the drive unit to be easily moved and used to make backups on multiple computers.

Floppy diskettes are a common method for producing a backup copy of your data. However, making backup copies using
floppy diskettes is a much more time consuming and laborious process than with the previously mentioned equipment. The
only advantage of the floppy diskette method is that virtually every computer is already equipped with a floppy drive, so the
only further investment required are the floppy diskettes themselves. Automatic backup of large data files is not possible
because of the limited capacity of floppy diskettes. However, for small size files and for institutions without access to
superior backup methods, floppy diskettes will be the method used to ensure that important data is not lost.

Many institutions feel that their backup procedures for important data files are appropriate. Too often, these institutions
have a major loss of data and only then discover that their backup procedures have not been adequate to protect their data
files. Under these conditions, an immense investment in time and labor may be completely lost. The secret, to successful
recovery from data loss, is redundancy. We used to recommend that institutions have 3 backup copies of MedARKS data,
thinking that triple redundancy was adequate. However, there have been many instances where institutional data files have
been damaged and all 3 backup data sets overwritten before the damage is discovered. The end result was a damaged data
set and 3 copies of that damaged data set, with no means to recover the original data. The current backup procedure
recommendations are:

1.   Separate backup copies for each day of the week (five or seven sets depending on the whether the computer records are
     added every day or just Monday through Friday). Label the backup set (tape or disks) with the day of the week it is to
     be used and use it to make a backup copy on that day, unless one of the following special cases takes precedence.
2.   Two extra backups for one day of the week (e.g. Friday). The three redundant daily backup sets are rotated so that the

     oldest copy is used to make the new backup on the specified day (i.e., if you have 3 Friday tapes containing backup sets
     made a week apart, the backup made each Friday will write over the oldest of those 3 copies).
3.   Twelve monthly backup sets. On the first day of the month (or the first Monday of each month, whatever is most
     convenient), the daily backup set is not used for that day, and the monthly backup set is substituted instead.
4.   Yearly archives. Once a year, make a backup copy set that is then removed from the premises and stored safely in
     another location (archival storage of institutional records is actually part of the AZA accreditation inspection, so the
     archival backup copies can also serve an important function in meeting this requirement for accreditation).

Some backup software will allow what is termed an incremental backup. With this type of backup, only the files that have
changed are copied to the backup set. While this sounds useful (backup data sets are smaller because only some files have
changed), it is not recommended for MedARKS data. The various data files in MedARKS are tightly linked to each other
and having backup sets that are not complete makes the restoration of a complete data set a much more difficult task.

Restoring Data:
In the event of data loss, start restoring with the most recent daily backup set and work back until an intact data file is found.
To minimize data loss, only restore those files that need to be restored (e.g., if damage is only in the parasitology files, there
is no need to restore data files for any of the other modules). When using the MedARKS backup/restore routine, it is easy
to select the module (or modules) to be restored and MedARKS determines minimum number of files that must be restored.
With a tape backup system you will need to manually select the appropriate files to restore to minimize data loss. If you
have questions about the which files need to be restored, call MedARKS Technical support for assistance. In most cases
where you have a good backup system in place, you will only lose a day or two of information, and only a relatively small
amount of information will need to be entered again. When a data problem is not noticed for more than a week, the weekly
and monthly backup sets can still allow data recovery to occur as much as a year after the damage has occurred. While
losing an entire year’s worth of data may sound catastrophic, please recognize that the alternative is to lose everything.

Whatever backup protocol you decide to use, remember that long-term redundancy is critically important. As soon as a data
problem is suspected, put aside the existing backups until the problem is resolved.; continuing to use the existing backup
data sets can compound the problem by destroying good backup data. For most of us, the MedARKS data files represent a
significant investment in personnel and equipment resources, and spending a little more to safeguard that investment is just
common sense.

Creating an icon for MedARKS in Windows 3®
You must have at least 8 Mb of random access memory (RAM) to run MedARKS 5.xx from inside Windows® 3.x.
Remember that memory is not the same as hard disk space. Data is stored on the hard disk, but a program must fit into
available memory to function. The amount of storage space (disk space) is irrelevant if there is not enough memory to run
the program. The instructions that follow will help you to configure your computer to run MedARKS from inside

1. Checking the total amount of memory (skip if you are certain that you have 8 Mb or more of RAM). Make sure that
Windows® is running and go to the Program Manager window. If you are not sure how to get to this window, hold down
the <Ctrl> key and press the <Esc> key. A small window, labeled “Task List” should appear in the center of your screen.
One of the “tasks” will be “Program Manager”; double click on this choice to switch to the Program Manager window. Find
either a window labeled “Main” or an icon with this label. If you have an icon, double click on the “Main” icon to open the
Main window. Now double click on the icon labeled “MS-DOS Prompt” that is in the Main window. Now type “mem /c”
(without the quotes) and press the <Enter> key. You will get a summary of the memory divided into rows and columns.
Locate the intersection of the column labeled “Total” and the row labeled “Total memory”. The number shown should be
roughly 8 million or higher. If the number is closer to 4 million, you probably only have 4 Mb of RAM. Type in “exit” to
leave the MS-DOS prompt and return to Windows®. Double click on the box in the upper left corner of the “Main”
window to close this window (or press <Ctrl><F4>). Assuming that you found that you have sufficient memory, continue
with the rest of these instructions.

2. Checking the CONFIG.SYS file. Find either a window labeled “Accessories” or an icon with this label. If you have an
icon, double click on the “Accessories” icon to open the Accessories window. Now double click on the icon labeled
“Notepad” that is in the Accessories window. Click on the choice “File” at the top left of the window to get a drop-down
menu of choices. Click on “Open” and the “Open” window will appear. In the box labeled “File Name:”, type in
“C:\CONFIG.SYS” (without the quotes) and click on the “Ok” button. You should now be looking at the contents of the
Config.sys file. Look for the following items.
a. The line containing “EMM386.EXE”. This is the memory manager supplied with Windows® (if you know that you are
using a different memory manager, do not worry about this line). On the same line as “EMM386.EXE”, should be the
parameter “NOEMS”; if this is not present, add it to the end the EMM386.EXE line.
b. The line containing “Files=”. The number to the right of the equals sign is the maximum number of files that may be
open simultaneously. That number should be 120 or higher. If the number is less than 120, change it to 120. If the Files
line is not present, add the line “Files=120" (without quotes) to the bottom of the CONFIG.SYS file.
c. The line containing “Buffers=”. There will be one or two numbers to the right of the equals sign; when 2 numbers are
present, they are separated by a comma. The first number to the right of the equal sign is the number of file buffers
available and that number should be about 40. If the number is much less than 40 (or much higher), change it to 40; ignore
the second number if it is present. If the Buffers line is not present, add the line “Buffers=40,0" (without quotes) to the
bottom of the CONFIG.SYS file.
d. Look for a line that contains the file name “SHARE.EXE”. If this file is being loaded within your system configuration
(config.sys file), place an asterisk at the start of the line to disable the loading of the SHARE.EXE file.
e. Look for a line that contains the file name “SMARTDRV.EXE”. If this file is being loaded within your system
configuration (config.sys file), place an asterisk at the start of the line to disable the loading of the SMARTDRV.EXE file.

If you modified the CONFIG.SYS file, click on File, and then Save, to save the new file.

3. Checking the AUTOEXEC.BAT file. Click on the choice “File” at the top left of the Notepad window to get a drop-
down menu of choices. Click on “Open” and the “Open” window will appear. In the box labeled “File Name:”, type in
“C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT” (without the quotes) and click on the “Ok” button. You should now be looking at the contents of
the Autoexec.bat file. Look for the following items.
a. Look for a line that contains the file name “SHARE.EXE”. If this file is being loaded within your autoexec.bat, place an
asterisk at the start of the line to disable the loading of the SHARE.EXE file.
b. Look for a line that contains the file name “SMARTDRV.EXE”. If this file is being loaded within your autoexec.bat file,
place an asterisk at the start of the line to disable the loading of the SMARTDRV.EXE file.

If you modified the AUTOEXEC.BAT file, click on File, and then Save, to save the new file.

Double click on the box in the upper left corner of the “Accessories” window to close this window (or press <Ctrl><F4>).

4. Optimize your memory. Restart your computer to bring into effect any changes made in the Config.sys and Autoexec.bat
files. If you have DOS 6.0 (or higher), exit from Windows® and run the Memmaker program from the DOS prompt to
optimize your random access memory (RAM).

5. Virtual Memory Configuration. Restart Windows® and from the Program Manager, select the following choices:
a. Locate the “Main” Program Group icon and open the program group window by double clicking on it.
b. Double click on the “Control Panel” icon to start this program.
c. Double click on the “386 Enhanced” icon to open the “Enhanced” window and click on the bar labeled “Virtual
d. Click on the “Change” choice and make sure the virtual memory has the following settings:
Drive: Choose any uncompressed disk (DoubleSpace and other disk compression technologies cause problems with virtual
Type: Permanent
Size: About 4 to 6% of your hard disk space has been recommended, but less can be used if disk space is in short supply.
Some versions of Windows® will specify a maximum allowed size for virtual memory; use this amount when a
recommended maximum is present.
Disk and File access: If your computer will support 32-bit access, select these options.
Click on “Ok” and save the changes to your virtual memory manager. Restart Windows® to bring these changes into effect.

6. Create a PIF file. From the Program Manager, select the following choices:
a. Locate the “Main” Program Group icon and open the program group window by double clicking on it.
b. Double click on the PIF Editor icon to start this program. Fill in the fields as follows:
Program Filename: This is the program that will start MedARKS. In this case, specify the FMEDARKS.BAT batch file that
is provided with MedARKS.
Window Title: Put MedARKS in this field.
Optional Parameters: Leave this blank.
Start-up Directory: This is the drive and path to locate the Fmedarks.bat file. This file is normally installed in the root
directory of the drive containing the MedARKS program (the default is C:\).
Video Memory: Check the “Text” option.
Memory Requirements: Place a -1 (minus one) in the KB required and the KB desired fields.
EMS Memory: Place a 0 (zero) in the KB required and the KB desired fields.
XMS Memory: Place a 4096 in the KB required and the KB desired fields. You can vary these figures depending on the
amount of memory on your computer. Other number that can be used are: 3072, 5120 and 6144. The larger the amount of
XMS memory specified, the longer the program will take to load, but the faster the program will run once it is loaded. A
memory specification of 4096 (4 Mb of RAM) seems to give a good balance between loading time and program
Display Usage: Mark the “full screen” option.
Execution: Leave both options unmarked.
Click on the “Advanced” options choice and make sure the “Allow Fast Paste” option is not marked. Now save the PIF file
as Fmedarks.pif. The PIF file must have the same name as the program filename that was specified (i.e. the PIF file that
starts Fmedarks.bat must be called Fmedarks.pif). The PIF file can be saved in the windows subdirectory or the same
directory as the Fmedarks.bat file.

7. Creating a Program Item: The final step is to link the PIF file (just created in the above step) to an icon in a program
group window. Return to the Program Manager window and open the Program Group to which you want to add the
MedARKS icon (the “Applications” Program Group is one possibility). Now click on the File option of the Program
Manager menu and click on the New choice of the drop-down menu. Mark the Program Item option and click on the “Ok”
button. Fill in the fields as follows:
Description: MedARKS 5
Command Line: fmedarks.pif
Working Directory: This is the drive and directory containing the fmedarks.pif file (e.g. C:\WINDOWS).

Now click on “Change Icon” button. You will get a message indicating that no icons are available; click on the “Ok”
button. A window labeled Change Icon will appear. Click on the browse button, switch to the \newmed\medarks
subdirectory of the drive containing the MedARKS 5 program and choose the MEDARKS2.ICO file. Click on the “Ok”
buttons until you are back to the Program Group window. The program group should now contain a new icon that should
allow you to run MedARKS 5 from inside Windows®.

Creating an icon for MedARKS in Windows 95®
You must have at least 16 Mb of random access memory (RAM) to run MedARKS 5 from inside Windows 95®.
Remember that memory is not the same as hard disk space. Data is stored on the hard disk, but a program must fit into
available memory to function. The amount of storage space (disk space) is irrelevant if there is not enough memory to run
the program. The instructions that follow will help you to configure your computer to run MedARKS from inside Windows

1. Click on the “Start” button, choose “Programs” and start your “Windows Explorer” program.
2. Click on the “View” choice (just below the top edge of the window), and click on the “Details” choice of the drop-down
3. Click on the “View” choice again, and now click on the “Options” choice of the drop-down menu. In the option winodw,
locate the “Hide MS-DOS file extensions for file types that are registered” check box and make sure this box is not checked.
 Also make sure the “Show all files” option is active. Click on “Ok” to close the Options window.
4. Locate the Newmed folder on the left side of the window, and click on the “+” to the left of the folder.
5. A MedARKS folder should now be showing under the Newmed folder. Click on this MedARKS folder icon and the
folder should open (the contents of the folder will show on the right side of the window).
6. On the right side of the window, locate the “Fmedarks.bat” file, and click on the icon to the left of the file name. The file
should now be highlighted. Now right click (click using the right button of the mouse) on the Fmedarks.bat file name and
choose “Create shortcut” from the menu. A file called “Shortcut to F...” should now be highlighted on the right side of the
Explorer window.
7. Right click on the “Shortcut to F...” file and choose “Copy”.
8. Close the Windows Explorer program (click on “X” box in upper right corner)
9. Right click on your desktop and choose the “Paste shortcut” from the menu. You should now have a highlighted icon
labeled “Fmedarks” on your desktop.
10. Right click on this icon and choose the “Properties” option from the menu. A window called “Fmedarks properties”
should appear.
11. Click on the “Program” tab (just below the top of the window). Make sure that the “Close on exit” check box is marked
(click on the box if it is empty). Now click on the “Change Icon” button. Now click on the “Browse” button of the Change
Icon window. Locate and open the Newmed folder, then open the MedARKS folder inside the Newmed folder. The
MedARKS folder should contain two MedARKS icon files. Choose one of these icons and double click on the icon of
choice. Now click on the “Ok” button of the Change Icon window.
12. Click on the “Screen” tab and make sure the following options are marked:
         Initial Size - 25 lines
         Display toolbar - not checked
         Restore settings on startup - checked
         Fast ROM emulation - checked
         Dynamic memory allocation - checked
13. Click on the “Misc.” tab and set the following options:
         Allow screen saver - not checked
         Quickedit - not checked
         Exclusive mode - not checked
         Always suspend - not checked
         Warn if still active - checked
         Fast pasting - not checked
14. Click on the “Apply” button (lower right corner of window) and then the “Ok” button.
15. Right click on the Fmedarks icon and choose the “Rename” option. Type in “MedARKS 5" and press the Enter key.

You should now have a MedARKS icon on your desktop and double clicking on this icon should start the MedARKS 5

Moving the ARKS files to the MedARKS computer
The MedARKS program requires access to some of the ARKS files to provide the clinician with basic animal inventory
information. MedARKS has a utility that can ease the transfer of ARKS data files from the registrar’s computer to the
hospital computer. This utility will create, on a floppy diskette, a batch file that will control the transfer of the ARKS files.
Your responses to a series of questions will allow the program to customize the batch file for your institution. The ARKS
files may be quite large, so before running this transfer utility, have several blank floppy diskettes available.

1. From the MedARKS main menu, select option 9 (System Utilities) and then option 5 (ARKS Data File Transfer).
2. Enter the hard disk drive letter containing the ARKS files (the registrar’s computer). The default of C drive will be
correct for most institutions.
3. Enter the floppy disk drive letter for the registrar’s computer. Again, the default of A drive will be correct for most
4. Enter the drive letter for the floppy disk drive on the MedARKS computer.
5. Enter the drive letter for the hard disk drive on the MedARKS computer that contains the ARKS files.
6. Choose whether to transfer the ARKS taxonomic file. This is a large file and only needs to be updated on the MedARKS
machine when the registrar has added a new species to the taxonomic dictionary or if the copy on the MedARKS computer
has been damaged and needs to be replaced. Most of the time, you do not need to transfer this file.
7. Indicate whether you have a split ARKS collection. If you are uncertain, ask your registrar. With split collections, you
will need to run the transfer routine separately for each taxonomic group that has been split out of the ARKS system. For
example, if the reptiles are maintained in a separate ARKS collection (HERPS), then to move the reptile ARKS files, you
need to answer the split collection question with a “Y” and then indicate that you want to transfer reptile and amphibian data
files. If all other taxonomic groups (mammals and birds) are managed as a single collection, they can moved by running this
utility again and answer the split collection question with a “N” (move all the non-split taxonomic groups). Complete the
transfer of ARKS files on each segment of a split collection before attempting transfer of the next taxonomic grouping.
8. Indicate whether you want printed instructions or not (a “Y” is suggested if this is your first ARKS file transfer).
9. You should now have a choice of 2 (versions 5.02 and 5.03) or 3 (versions 5.10 and higher) file transfer modes. The
transfer modes are as follows:
           i. DOS backup routine: Avoid this choice. It was the original method, but newer versions of DOS have a different
           backup program and this transfer mode is not reliable.
           ii. Slice and Splice routine: This routine will slice the ARKS files into pieces that will fit onto floppy diskettes and
           then splice the parts back together on the MedARKS computer.
           iii. PKZIP routine: This is the best routine to use, but is only available starting with MedARKS version 5.10. The
           ARKS files will be compressed as they are copied to the floppy diskettes and uncompressed on the MedARKS
           machine. The compression will allow you to transfer the ARKS files using fewer diskettes.
10. Put the floppy diskette into the drive on the MedARKS computer and create the batch file.
11. Exit from MedARKS, take the diskette to the registrar’s computer, insert into the floppy drive and type (at the C:
           (substitute b: if the diskette is in the B: drive).
12. The ARKS files will be copied onto a series of floppy diskettes (the number will depend on the size of your ARKS files,
whether you are also copying the taxonomic file and whether you are compressing the files during the transfer).
13. Take the diskettes back to the MedARKS computer and insert the first diskette into the drive. To start the upload of the
ARKS files, type (at the C: prompt):
           (substitute another drive letter, if MedARKS is on another hard drive).
14. With split collections, repeat steps 1 to 13 for each set of ARKS collection files being transferred.

MedARKS Files/Support on the World Wide Web
The Internet has revolutionized the way things are done in the world and ISIS has kept pace with these changes through its
Web site. You can now not only easily access the latest version/upgrade of MedARKS from the Web but also the
instructions on how to update your version, and chapters on how to utilize each of the modules. There are even “helpful
hints” on how to accomplish specific tasks in MedARKS and to help you make maximal usage of the program features.

Accessing the ISIS Web site
Go to the following Web address: This is the ISIS home page. Links to other pages of the ISIS web
site and to related web sites are listed at the top of the ISIS home page. To access the "helpful hint" documents, click on the
FAQ option at the top of the page and then click on the MedARKS link on the next page. You will now be looking at the
list of available "helpful hint" documents.

To download a MedARKS program upgrade file, other MedARKS file updates or MedARKS user guide documents, you
will need to access the secure portion of the ISIS web site. To access this section of the ISIS web site, you will need your
institution’s mnemonic as well as the ISIS institution code number. Once you have this information (see your registrar), go
to the ISIS home page and click on the Files option at the top of the screen. Entering your institutional mnemonic in the
User Name field and your ISIS institution code in the Password field. A page with a listing of available ISIS updates and
upgrades will pop up - choose the MedARKS link from this list. You will now be in the online MedARKS download files

MedARKS download page content
The page below shows the available options from the ISIS MedARKS download site. By clicking on the appropriate link,
you will be taken to the pertinent section of the Web site and given instructions on how to complete your task. For example,
if you were currently working with MedARKS version 5.30k and wanted to upgrade, you would click on the first option
listed below (File required for upgrade.........version of MedARKS). This would take you to a series of pages including
instructions on how to proceed with the upgrade, a listing of all of the various enhancements that had been made to
MedARKS since your version, as well as the upgrade file itself.

Contact MedARKS Technical Support ( if you have questions or need help with any of the items on this

                                               Available at this Download Site

File required for upgrade from any version of MedARKS 5.3 or higher to the latest version of MedARKS

Files required for upgrade from MedARKS 5.0 or 5.1 to the latest version of MedARKS

Enhanced version of fmedarks.bat file - MedARKS startup program (31 December 1998 version)

Latest version of chapters in the MedARKS manual

Latest SSP/TAG protocols for the MedARKS pathology module (26 May 1998 version)

Latest clinical pathology reference values for MedARKS (18 August 1998 version)

Accessing Library (Reference) Data Disks
Besides managing the medical records on an institution’s collection, MedARKS also has the capability to access records
in reference or library data sets. The medical advisors for a number of SSP's have established reference data sets. These
reference disks contain the combined medical records from a number of institutions and often represent years of experience
with a large number of individual animals. Originally, all reference data sets were available on floppy diskettes only, but
newer versions of MedARKS can access library files written on a CD-ROM disk.

There are three steps involved in accessing a library data set, although the first step is only performed the very first time that
your copy of MedARKS accesses a reference data set.

1.   Establish LIBRARY as a valid collection for your version of MedARKS. From the main menu, choose 9 (System
     Utilities), then 3 (Inventory/Collection Utilities) and then choice 1 (Add new collection). The current collections on
     your MedARKS system will now be displayed. If one of these collections is LIBRARY, you need to exit from this
     utility by pressing the <Enter> key twice and go to step 2 of these instructions (someone else has already made
     LIBRARY a valid collection). To continue with adding the library collection, press any key to continue with the utility
     program. The program should now be asking for the mnemonic of the collection; “LIBRARY” must be entered as the
     mnemonic (don’t type the quotes). The full name of the collection is not important, except that it will appear on reports
     that are printed from the disk; Reference Data Set is one suggestion since it will let you know that the report was not
     printed from in-house records. Next you are asked for the ISIS institution code; leave this blank since reference disks
     are not records from a single institution. For the drive and path, just enter the appropriate floppy drive for your
     computer (A: or B:) and make sure the reference disk is in that drive. Accept the defaults for the next two questions.
     You should now have completed this step and added Library as a valid collection for your copy of MedARKS. Once
     this procedure has been completed successfully, you will not need to repeat this step - all reference data disks will run
     using this collection name.

2.   Library data disk recognition: The first time you access a library data disk you need to have MedARKS recognize the
     disk; thereafter you only need to put the disk into the drive and access the data. Go back to the MedARKS main menu
     and choose 7 (Inventory and Medical History Menu), then choose 5 (Library File Recognition). Answer the next few
     prompts and when you get back to the menu, you are ready to access the data on the disk.

3.   Access the reference data set records: Place the reference data disk in the appropriate floppy drive. From any of the
     main or secondary level menus, press <F2> and choose “Library” to switch to the reference data disk. A successful
     switch will be indicated by “Library” in the upper right corner of your screen. At this point, you can run any of the
     MedARKS reports using this data set. You might want to start by running the “Collection Data - Taxonomic Group
     Report” (from main menu choose 7, then 2) and set the “Historical Collection List” filter to generate a complete list of
     the animals on the disk.

Merging records on a medical history transfer disk into MedARKS 5.3
When you receive a floppy diskette that contains MedARKS medical records on an animal that was transferred to your
institution, you can integrate those records into your own MedARKS records. All version 4 and version 5 diskettes can be
used to update your MedARKS 5.3 files. The following instructions will allow you to update your MedARKS records from
the transfer diskette.

Remember, your registrar must have already entered the animal into ARKS and you must have updated your copy of the
ARKS files (when kept on different computers) before you can perform this transfer.

Updating your MedARKS version 5.3 files
a) Start MedARKS 5.3x
b) From the main (first) menu, press 7 and then 4. Enter password (if needed) and choose the second option (transfer from
   floppy disk to MedARKS) and enter the master password (if needed).
c) You will be prompted for information regarding the drive containing the floppy diskette with the records and the
   accession number that your institution has assigned to the animal(s) on the diskette. Answer the prompts and the
   transfer of records should begin.

Your MedARKS records should now contain historical medical records on the animal(s) transferred to your institution.

Contributing blood analysis results to the ISIS Physiological Reference Values Project
The Physiological Reference Values Project is attempting to define normal clinical pathology reference ranges for captive
species by combining clinical pathology data from member institutions. This may not be the ideal method to establish
reference ranges, but zoo clinicians often face the reality of dealing with a very small number of individuals at their
institution for any particular species with a very limited number of samples collected from healthy individuals. Under these
circumstances, reference ranges derived from pooled records represent the best information available for evaluating test
results. All ISIS member institutions, that use MedARKS for clinical pathology record keeping, are encouraged to
contribute this information to the centralized data file. The following instructions explain, in a step-by-step manner, how to
transfer clinical pathology data from MedARKS version 5 (or above) to ISIS.

Terms to be familiar with:
        click or mouse click: a single press and release of the left key on your mouse (with many mice, this is accompanied
        by an audible click of the button - hence the term).
        click on: place the mouse cursor on the specified item and “click” the left mouse key
        <Esc> key: the key, usually somewhere in the upper left corner of the keyboard, with this label; same as the
        “Escape” key.
        <Enter> key: the key on the right side of the keyboard. The key is most often labeled with “Enter”, but may also
        be labeled as “Return” or the key may be labeled simply with a left pointing arrow with an upward bend in the tail
        of the arrow.
        Arrow keys: The set of four keys with an up, down, left and right pointing arrow on the key. On some keyboards,
        these keys will serve double functions as numeric keys also. On this type of keyboard, there is usually a small set
        of lights in the upper right part of the keyboard and one will be labeled “Num Lock” or “Numeric Lock”. When
        the light is on, the double function keys will act like numeric keys and when the light is off, the keys take on their
        other function. Switch between the two modes using the “Num Lock” key on the keyboard; each press of this key
        switches the function of the keys.

Clinical Pathology Data Transfer Instructions

1.   Have an empty floppy diskette available. You can either delete all the files on the diskette or format the diskette to
     erase it.

2.   Start MedARKS and from the main menu choose 4, then 1, then 5 and finally 5 again to start the
     Hematology/Chemistry/Serology Data Transfer utility. Of course, you may make all the specified menu choices by
     clicking with the mouse on the choice, using the arrow keys to highlight the correct choice and pressing the <Enter>
     key or by simply press the appropriate number key.

3.   Enter the Master password (if you have one) and press the <Enter> key.

4.   You should now have a box, containing a list of 4 choices, on your screen. You can use the arrow keys to highlight a
     choice and press <Enter> to select that choice or simply click on the choice with your mouse. Each of the choices and
     their function is discussed below.

     Create transfer file...: This choice starts a utility program that reads through your MedARKS clinical pathology files
     looking for records that are marked for sending to ISIS. When an appropriate record is located, the information in your
     record is used to create a data transfer file on your hard disk. The transfer file contains test results and other sample
     information you have entered into MedARKS. When the utility is complete, you will have one or more transfer files
     (each transfer file can contain information on 1000 MedARKS records) that need to be sent to ISIS. When finished,
     this “create transfer file” utility will immediately start the “copy file” utility (see next paragraph) to let you copy the
     transfer file on your hard disk to a floppy diskette.

     Copy previously created ISIS transfer file ..: This utility can be started using this choice, but it will start automatically
     when the “create transfer file” utility is finished making transfer file(s). This utility will display a list of file names, file
     sizes (in bytes) and the file creation date. Any of the files listed can be selected and copied to a floppy disk. If you
     have just created the transfer file(s), those files with a creation date of today will be the files you need to copy. Select a

    file for transfer to the floppy diskette by highlighting it using the arrow keys and press <Enter> or click on the file name
    with your mouse. Insert the floppy disk into the appropriate drive and enter the floppy drive letter (A or B) when
    requested by the program. If the floppy disk is too full to contain the selected file, you will get a warning message.
    Replace the floppy disk with one that is empty and try to copy the file again. If the file is successfully copied to the
    floppy disk, the program will request permission to remove the file from your hard disk; it is safe to remove the file,
    since even if the file gets damaged it is possible to resend all your data to ISIS (see the instructions for the next choice).
     Once the transfer file(s) has been copied to the floppy diskette, mail that diskette to:

                  Physiological Reference Values Project
                  ISIS Offices, Building A
                  12101 Johnny Cake Ridge Road
                  Apple Valley, MN 55124

         Note: Anatomy of a file name: The ISIS transfer files can be recognized because they start with the last 8 digits of
         your ISIS institution code. The last 3 characters of the file name (after the period) represent the year the file was
         created (first character), the month (second character) the file was created (A=January; L=December) and the
         creation sequence (third character) for that month and year (A=first file, B= second file, ...).

    Mark all records ...: Normally, only the MedARKS clinical pathology records that have been edited or added are sent to
    ISIS in the transfer files. Occasionally, because of changes in the transfer utility or because of problems with previous
    transfer files, we will request that you resend all your data to ISIS. This utility will read your MedARKS clinical
    pathology files, locate all the records that have been sent to ISIS in the past and mark these records for sending to ISIS
    the next time you run the “create transfer file” utility.

    Count the records ...: Run this utility if you want to know how many records are currently marked for potential transfer
    to ISIS.

For computer users with more experience, the data transfer files may be sent to ISIS electronically (rather than on a floppy
diskette) attaching the file(s) to an E-mail message and sending them across the Internet to Institutions that
contribute clinical pathology data to the ISIS data set will receive an updated version of the MedARKS compatible data file,
containing the ISIS reference values for captive species, whenever this file is recalculated.

Suggestions for tracking experimental contraceptive methods with MedARKS
Many zoos use various reversible contraceptive methods in their animals, including the melengestrol acetate (MGA)
implants (supplied by Dr. Ed Plotka), other synthetic progestins, and the zona pellucida vaccine. The experimental nature
of these implants increases the clinicians’ responsibility for accurate records.

The prescription module of MedARKS can be used to maintain drug records that will assist with annual reporting
requirements and to calculate the duration of treatment, which can be used to determine when a contraceptive method needs
to be renewed or removed.

Record Entry:
Records should be entered for all forms of reversible contraception (MGA, MGA+E2, Norplant, Depo-Provera, Zona
Pellucida vaccine, birth control pills, Ovaban, Megace, etc.).

The key features for entering reversible contraception methods are as follows, but, as always, make your records as
complete as possible.
        Drug: MELENGESTROL ACETATE IMPLANT (or other contraceptive method)
        The drug dictionary file supplied with MedARKS 5.10 contains many of the common reversible contraceptives
        (like “MELENGESTROL ACETATE IMPLANT”). If your MedARKS dictionary does not contain the
        appropriate contraceptive method, you can add it to the dictionary when you record the prescription.
        Dose: Record the weight of the implant that is written on the outside of the implant container (or the appropriate
        dose for other methods)
        Duration: UFN (until further notice) for implants (use appropriate duration for other methods)
        Route: subcutaneous or intramuscular implant (or appropriate route for other methods)
        Prescribing Clinician: The initials of the clinician responsible for this contraceptive prescription.
        Lot/Bottle number: For MGA implants, record the number written on the outside of the implant container. For
        commercial products, record the manufacturers lot number.
        Purpose: For proper reporting, “contraception” should be entered as the purpose for the prescription.
        Scheduled Retreatment Date: For vaccines and drugs that are given at specific intervals or at a particular time of
        the year (e.g., Depo-Provera in seasonal breeders), the program can store a reminder to repeat the prescription on a
        specified date.

Ending an Active Contraceptive Prescription:
Prescriptions written with a duration of “until further notice”, remain active until terminated. With implants, prescription
termination may be due to implant removal (for change of method, to allow reproduction, implant replacement, or other
reasons) or implant loss (implant found or discovered missing at a routine examination). In any case, the “Discontinue an
Active Prescription” menu choice in the prescription module will allow you to terminate the current contraceptive implant
prescription. You will be requested for a date to terminate the prescription; use the date that implant was removed, known
to be lost, or discovered to be missing. The duration of the prescription will be calculated by the program and stored in the

The “Drug Usage Report” can be used to obtain a list of the animals that have received contraceptive treatment by retrieving
prescription records for a particular drug. For MGA implants, the implant number (lot number), the size (weight) of the
implant, the duration of treatment and the prescribing clinician will be reported. Active contraceptive prescriptions are
indicated and the duration for these active prescriptions reflects the current duration (days from the implant date to the
reporting date). This allows you to easily monitor all animals with an active contraception prescription and schedule
implant replacement or removal based on the duration of treatment. While not providing all the information requested for
reports to the AZA contraception committee, the drug usage report is a good starting point for tracking down all the required

Text editing commands in MedARKS
The FoxPro text editor included with MedARKS 5 is fairly simple, but has the cut, copy and paste functions needed to make
text editing easier. All these functions work on a block of text that has been selected or “highlighted” from the text entry.
The following document outlines the methods used to edit text in MedARKS 5.

Text Edit Functions:

         Selecting text:
         Mouse Method: Usually, the quickest method is to use the mouse. Position the mouse cursor on the first character
         to be selected, depress the left mouse button and while holding the left button down, drag the mouse cursor to one
         character past the last text character to be selected. Release the mouse button and the text should remain marked in
         a different color. This is selected text and the editing commands will apply to this block of text.
         Keyboard Method: You can also use the keyboard to select a block of text. Move your text cursor to the first
         character to be selected, hold down the shift key and use the arrow keys to move the text cursor just past the last
         character you want selected and release the shift key. Again, the selected text should be remain in a different color.
          The keyboard is most useful when combined with text positioning functions and can allow you to select very large
         blocks of text very quickly.

         Usage tip: Use the keyboard to select an entire record. Press the Ctrl-Home keys to jump to the beginning of the
         text. Now, while holding down the shift key, press the Ctrl-End keys. The entire text entry should now be
         selected. With large records, this is significantly faster than using the mouse.

         Select a single word: To quickly select a single word, place the mouse cursor anywhere on the word and double
         click. That word should become highlighted.

         Usage tip: This feature is useful for quickly replacing a single word. Double click on the word to be replaced and
         just type the replacement word.. Make sure you are in insert mode, otherwise, the first letter typed replaces the
         selected text and then you start typing over the next word in your text.

         Deselecting text:
         Press the left mouse key or one of the text position control keys (arrow, home, end, page up or page down keys) to
         deselect the text. Virtually any other key will have an effect on the selected text, so be careful.

         Copy selected text [Ctrl-C]: First select the text to be copied, then hold down the Ctrl key and press the C key.
         This will copy the selected text to a “clipboard”, where it will remain until you copy another block of text to the
         clipboard or you exit from MedARKS. From the clipboard, the text can be pasted back into the same text (perhaps
         you want to duplicate this entry further down the page) or into a new text record (duplicate the entry for another
         date or animal).

         Usage tip: The copy feature is particularly useful in MedARKS where you have performed the same procedure on
         a number of animals (e.g., quarantine examinations on a group of birds). Write the first text record in detail, select
         the entire text record and copy to the clipboard. Start the medical record on the next animal and paste in the record
         from the previous animal. Edit this record to reflect any differences between the 2 animals. Repeat these steps for
         all the animals that received examinations. In most cases, copying, pasting and minor editing will be much faster
         than writing an entire record for each animal.

         Paste text from clipboard [Ctrl-V]: Position the text cursor at the point where you want the clipboard text to
         appear. Hold down the Ctrl key and press the V key. Any text on the clipboard will be inserted at that point.

         Cut selected text [Ctrl-X]: This is very similar to the copy text function, except that the highlighted text is
         removed and then placed on the clipboard (rather than placing a copy of the text on the clipboard). Select the text,
         hold down the Ctrl key and press the X key. This will remove (cut) the selected text to the “clipboard”, where it
         will remain until you cut (or copy) another block of text to the clipboard or you exit from MedARKS.

        Usage tip: The cut feature is most useful in MedARKS for moving a block of text. Perhaps you are most of the
        way through a clinical notes entry when you realize that it is the wrong animal. Simply select everything you have
        written, cut it to the clipboard, go to the correct animal and paste your text into this record.

        Delete selected text: Select the text to be removed and press the Delete key. The text is removed. This text is not
        copied to the clipboard and does not replace or remove any text that is already on the clipboard.

Text Positioning Functions:

You can move the text cursor by using the arrow keys or you can click anywhere in the text with the left mouse button. In
addition, there are other keys or key combinations that will move the text position cursor. With the Control (Ctrl) key
combinations, treat the Ctrl key like the shift key (i.e., hold the Ctrl key down and then press the second key in the

        Home key: Move the cursor to the left margin of the current text line.
        Ctrl-Home key: Move cursor to the beginning of the text (top of the page)
        End key: Move cursor to the right edge of the text on the current line
        Ctrl-End key: Move cursor to the end of the text

        Up arrow key: Move cursor up to previous line.
        Down arrow key: Move cursor down to next line.
        Left arrow key: Move cursor to the left by one character.
        Right arrow key: Move cursor to the right by one character.
        Ctrl-right arrow key: Move cursor to the start of the next word.
        Ctrl-left arrow key: Move cursor to the start of the current word.

        Page up key: Move the text so the first line currently showing on the screen becomes the last line on the screen.
        Page down key: Move the text so the last line currently showing on the screen becomes the first line on the screen.

Common Problems and Questions

Error message - Corrupted or missing memo file
As stated earlier, databases are quite susceptible to damage when data files are in use (on page 9) and the memo (text) file is
the most susceptible to damage. When a memo file is damaged (corrupted) or deleted, this error message will appear when
you start MedARKS. The program will automatically lock you out of the module impacted by the damaged file (i.e., if the
damaged or missing file is part of the clinical notes module, then you will not be able to access the clinical notes module
until the problem is resolved). The solution to this problem is to restore files from your last backup set. The MedARKS
restore utility will allow you to selectively restore files so that you do not overwrite records in modules that have not been
damaged (i.e., if the anesthesia module is disabled by a damaged file, you can choose to restore only the anesthesia module
data files). If you are using a tape backup, the tape software will allow you to specify the files to restore. The data files
associated with each module are listed on page 66 or call MedARKS Technical Support for assistance.

Can I run MedARKS on a network?
Yes. MedARKS is a multi-user product and is currently being used on LAN’s in more than 30 institutions. The process of
installing and configuring MedARKS for the network is fairly simple, but MedARKS technical support can provide
assistance if necessary.


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