Veterinary Telehealth Surges — As Do Questions About How To Implement

April 1, 2021

As veterinary hospitals adapt to the realities of curbside veterinary service in an effort to adhere to social distancing guidelines, telehealth technologies have become critical as a way to maintain continuity of care. 

After working with hundreds of practices throughout the U.S. and Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic started, GuardianVets, a VCPR-centric telehealth provider, shares the concerns of practices when it comes to adopting this new technology.

“Practices have had to respond overnight to a new way of doing business.  It is amazing to see the resilience of the industry and how entrepreneurial veterinary practices really are,” says John Dillon, CEO of GuardianVets. “However, practices still have questions and concerns, many having to do with the implementation of telehealth". 

Questions that are often brought up include:

"How do I fit telemedicine within my existing workflows… and how easy is this to use?" – There is a common concern that the implementation, integration process, and training required to add telehealth technology will add stress to a practice team already stretched to their limits.

With this concern in mind, GuardianVets recommends practices ask prospective telehealth providers to clearly outline:

  • Who is responsible for onboarding and what live support is provided during and after that process?
  • How is documentation handled and synced back into your hospital’s PMS?
  • How does the billing work for clients and for the practice?
  • What if your doctors are unavailable? Will the platform potentially connect your clients to a competing practice or does it offer 24/7 triage support?

"What about my patients that really do need to be seen in person?” – Veterinarians have so many diagnostic tools to choose from when practicing veterinary medicine. Telehealth is simply another instrument to assist with client counseling, monitoring patients after surgery, triaging patients, providing prescriptions and much more.

According to Mr. Dillon, “Telehealth should be a tool to supplement the in-person relationship veterinarians have with their clients and patients, not to replace it. We want to use technology to strengthen the bond you have with your clients and drive more business back to the practice.” Working with a telehealth provider that aligns with your specific medical recommendations and practice philosophy is critical when implementing a virtual solution. Choosing a provider that offers solutions customized to individual practice needs ensures the client and patient receive consistent quality care as well as ensuring the practice doesn’t lose the physical engagement with patients.

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