Veterinary Telemedicine Trends

What is a consumer’s first step when investigating almost any topic today?

Looking online.

And, your client is likely to seek an answer to their pet’s medical needs before consulting your practice. Even though the information they obtain may be inaccurate, incomplete or out of context, the immediate availability increases their expectation to get that same information from you.

In fact, veterinary business specialist Dr. Edward Blach, DVM, MA, MBA, reports:

  • 85 percent of pet owners find that the connection to a veterinarian via telehealth is appealing
  • 70 percent of veterinarians believe that technologies can strengthen the veterinarian-client relationship

When you combine these trends with the availability of new apps and technology, it makes telemedicine a compelling opportunity for veterinary practices.

What Exactly Is Veterinary Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is a subcategory of telehealth. The AVMA defines it as: “Incorporating the use of a tool to exchange medical information electronically from one site to another to improve a patient's clinical health status.”

For example, a practice might use Skype, Zoom or a mobile app to communicate with a client so they can visually observe the patient. A post-operative follow-up examination and discussion is a common consultation. Furthermore, telemedicine is a tool that a veterinary practice can use, just like an internal lab or boarding facility.

But just because telemedicine leverages new apps and other digital tools, it still requires common office processes that include medical and examination records, medication labels and more.

Veterinary Telemedicine Office Practices

The AVMA believes that veterinary telemedicine should only be conducted within an existing Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR), with the exception of advice given in an emergency until that patient can be seen by a veterinarian.

Although the diagnosis may take place electronically, documenting the consultation is similar to an office visit.

For example, the AVMA states that a veterinarian is expected to provide oversight of treatment, compliance and outcome, as well as document the patient’s continuing care and treatment in the medical record. Using treatment room labels allow you to record the results of a phone examination the same way you do for an inpatient visit.

Further, a telemedicine consultation may uncover a need that requires a prescription. For an existing VCPR, you may prescribe medications. If your office supplies those medications, proper labeling steps are essential. This includes prescription labels and medication labels that detail safe handling instructions.

In addition, regardless of whether the medication was subscribed for a telemedicine or in-office patient, misreading or interpreting dosage instructions is a common error. But effective medication dispensing safeguards like these minimize the chance for medication errors.

United Ad Label

Whether it’s for telemedicine or a more common office visit, United Ad Label specializes in developing labeling processes that elevate patient safety and allow a veterinary practice to operate more efficiently. Browse our website or contact us to learn more.