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Telemedicine – Pivoting Your Veterinary Practice

Telemedicine – Pivoting Your Veterinary Practice

In response to the COVID-19 resurgence, telemedicine has become integral in veterinary care, offering convenience for remote visits that reduce stress for pets and logistical challenges for owners. AcuroVet® is adapting to these changes by enhancing its platform to support telemedicine features, facilitating easier collaboration among veterinarians and improving follow-up care, ultimately enhancing patient care and client engagement.

3 min read  |  July 21, 2020  |  By Dr. Maureen Kelleher
Telemedicine – Pivoting Your Veterinary Practice

With the recent resurgence of the COVID-19 infection cases, some parts of the country have gone back into partial lockdown and people are advised to continue practicing social distancing and staying home. Since the start of the pandemic, we have seen many changes in consumer behavior (more demand for delivery services etc.) and our expectations in how services are provided such as healthcare. These shifts from pre-pandemic time will have long lasting effects even after the pandemic is over. In fact, the American Medical Association predicts that telemedicine is here to stay. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) also said that telemedicine is now a necessityTelemedicine is the use of technology that enables telehealth (remote patient healthcare) as well as remote collaboration with other healthcare professionals. Given the rapid advancements of technology making telemedicine a viable option, this is not a surprise. Accordingly, veterinarians should be prepared for this possibility and explore telemedicine options such as televisit to deliver services to their patients & pet owners. You may be thinking-how are we supposed to treat animals remotely using telemedicine? Well, although there is no real substitute for seeing the patient physically, telemedicine provides numerous benefits. 

Convenience and Ease of Reaching Patients

With most people staying home as much as they can right now, telemedicine allows patient visits to take place where in-person visits are not possible. Even if in-person visits are allowed, some people are not comfortable with it unless necessary. In such cases, telemedicine allows veterinarians to conduct visits remotely for the non-urgent cases. Many pet owners also prefer televisits as it saves driving time and stress on animals that may not enjoy car rides or the veterinarian’s office. Everything can be done from home hassle-free and conveniently. To facilitate this, veterinarians will need platforms that can conduct video calls and more importantly a platform that allows ease of communication and scheduling between the veterinarian and pet owner. Acuro Inc will be releasing AcuroPet, an app for pet owners soon, in which one of the functions allows for pet owners to contact their vet and request an appointment with ease. Vets will also be able to schedule an appointment for a patient from the AcuroVet® application. 

Ease of Collaboration

On the non-clinical side, there are quite a few advantages to telehealth. One advantage is the ease of collaboration with other veterinarians. Collaboration, to this day, remains one of the most important aspects to any job. With telehealth, vets can collaborate with fellow colleagues from their clinic to diagnose a pet using telecommunications. Getting a second opinion is quite important, as seen in a Mayo Clinic study where a mere 12% of second opinions agreed with the first opinion. By collaborating with fellow vets, the chance of giving a correct diagnosis and treatment to a patient greatly increases. The AcuroVet® application has a private messaging system where veterinarians can collaborate with each other, and also email past records with ease.

Better Patient Care

Telemedicine allows veterinarians to conduct more follow-up with pet owners to make sure the patients are doing well. Given the convenience telemedicine provides, pet owners will be more open to doing a follow-up televisit than an in-person one. Also, telemedicine can potentially increase the number of wellness visits given the convenience. 

Are there disadvantages to telemedicine/telehealth? Yes, there is definitely a tradeoff, such as investment in new platforms and technical training. However, as consumer habits shift permanently, customer relationship management will require the use of these new technologies while taking advantage of the traditional approach in a hybrid combination. Given the rate at which we as a society are technologically advancing, these new technologies will become much more viable than they are right now. Stay tuned, we are working on adding telemedicine features in AcuroVet®

Article by
Dr. Maureen Kelleher
Dr. Maureen Kelleher
Dr. Maureen's career path showcases a fascinating journey through veterinary medicine. After graduating, she honed her skills in surgery and sports medicine, even achieving board certification. However, her passion extended beyond the operating room, leading her to explore veterinary acupuncture. Recognizing a critical need for improved communication in animal care, Dr. Maureen co-founded AcuroVet, a cloud-based system empowering veterinary practices worldwide.
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