Veterinary Telehealth: Optimizing Your Practice for Patient Care

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When the pandemic hit in 2020, veterinary professionals, like so many others, had to quickly shift to alternate patient care models. Curbside visits and telemedicine became the norm. While the move toward digitization had long been underway in veterinary health, COVID-19 forced the timeline for many practices.

Shifting to veterinary telehealth is not without its challenges – such as the patients not being able to speak – but embracing digital veterinary services alongside traditional practice models holds great potential for practice growth, collaborative care, and improved patient outcomes.

Even though traditional veterinary care models are still the norm and have bounced back post-pandemic, we’re exploring four telehealth changes we’re excited to see stay and the advantages they bring to veterinary medicine.

4 Advantages of Telehealth in Veterinary Care & Veterinary Practices

1. More Efficient and Effective Care

For an industry that is overwhelmed and short-staffed, finding efficiencies is a top priority. By leveraging telemedicine services, veterinary practices can manage mild and non-urgent patient cases virtually. This reduces crowded waiting room scenarios and overfilled appointment schedules due to visits that could have been consults.

The advantages of virtual appointments are important to consider from a patient perspective as well. Many animals experience anxiety or have adverse reactions when taken to a clinic. This makes an in-office exam challenging for the patient, the pet owner, and the veterinarian.

Telemedicine allows the animal to remain in its own environment, creating a more comfortable situation for both it and the owner. Plus, the vet isn’t forced to question if an animal is acting in a certain way due to medical reasons or because of induced stress.

Telehealth Terms to Know

  • Telemedicine: A diagnosis, prognosis, and drug prescribing provided after a veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) has been established.
  • Teleconsulting: The exchange between a veterinary medicine specialist and a general practitioner concerning a specific patient or disease process.
  • Teletriage: Determining whether an animal needs immediate medical help.
  • Teleadvice: General information given to a pet owner on topics unrelated to a medical issue, such as nutrition or training.

2. Collaborative Care with Veterinary Specialists

The expectation of on-demand everything from consumers has also created opportunities for collaborative care to grow in veterinary medicine. Knowledge-sharing between providers closes the gap between general practitioners and vet specialists, while also allowing for better patient outcomes.

One of the biggest advantages to collaborative care is faster, easier access to veterinary specialists. This not only aligns with pet owners’ growing desire for immediate delivery of veterinary care, but it also improves patient care instantly. Whether it’s advice, diagnosis, or treatment planning, streamlined access to a vet specialist eases geographic, financial, and scheduling limitations.

Vet Specialists On Demand (VSOD) is an example of one platform helping vets take full advantage of collaborative care. The telemedicine platform is specialist consulting in real-time. If a general practitioner has a challenging case, they can log on to the app and get instant advice or guidance from a veterinary specialist. VSOD removes the delay of patient care and offers vets, patients, and clients a better experience:

Advantages for Vets
Advantages for Pets
Advantages for Pet Owners
Immediate collaboration with specialists to determine necessity of referral.
Less stress from new or more frequent vet visits.
Faster access to specialty care – wait times to see a specialist can be a month out.
More efficient care decisions for both simple and complex cases.
Optimal care and faster treatment with rapid input from specialists.
Cost-effective access to specialty care – patients remaining under the care of their trusted family vet can save pet owners money.
1:1 learning and continued education on cases.
More options for care and treatment.
More treatment options to choose from.
Additional practice revenue generated by in-house management of cases.
Learn more about VSOD and their telemedicine platform. Watch our on-demand webinar with VSOD to hear how collaborative care can improve your practice.

3. Improved Vet-Client Relations

Because telehealth has long been available in human medicine, there’s an expectation from pet owners that the same options will be provided for their animals. There’s also increased demand for telehealth in veterinary care due to the growing number of younger pet owners – 60% of U.S. pet owners are millennials, Gen Xers, and Gen Zers.

Aligning with the desire for on-demand pet wellness creates flexibility for the client (and your practice!) and can reduce the number of unnecessary clinic visits. Streamlined access to professional care also increases owner compliance in treatment plans and preventative care. This type of optimized care through telehealth services has shown increased client retention.

High-level care provided digitally can also improve client loyalty and trust. Just as online shopping and technology have changed other consumer behaviors, they’ve done the same to pet medicine sales – more than 40% of pet medications are purchased online. The quality of these medications and the advice provided with them are often questionable and not specific to the patient. By implementing telemedicine tools in your practice, you can continue providing a high standard of care that clients can trust.

Take advantage of ordering with Epicur. All drugs are ready to ship same day with 1-2 days in transit.

4. More Revenue, Less Burnout

Telehealth models may seem overwhelming to implement at first, but ultimately they can turn into an additional revenue stream for your practice and help reduce the workload for your staff. From virtual wellness packages to charging for telemedicine appointments and after-hours calls like you would for office visits, embracing telehealth can be an opportunity to monetize new service models that your clients actually prefer.

Additionally, those reduced unnecessary clinic visits that help retain clients can also optimize your team’s time and better allow them to prioritize care for in-clinic patients. Alleviating the stressful workload in an industry experiencing staff shortages and severe burnout can significantly help veterinary professionals regain the work-life balance so many of them are looking for.

The advantages of telehealth in veterinary medicine for physicians, patients, and clients go far beyond the four we’ve highlighted. We’re excited to watch how the industry evolves and stay committed to helping you provide the highest level of patient care possible!



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