The consumer demand for an immediate remote consultation with a qualified vet is large and growing. It will not go away just because a remote consultation may not always provide the best outcome for client, animal, or local veterinary practice.
The market for online veterinary medications and other products will also not go away, however unfair it may seem to the practices that need medication fees to help cover huge overheads of equipment and skilled personnel.
These technology-driven trends may be unwelcome in many ways but simply ignoring them will not be a good idea for the long term health of smaller veterinary practices.
One more step needed
Veterinary practices have undergone a huge upheaval over the last 12 months, but one step more needs to be taken.
“If smaller practices do not take ownership of digital technologies in their geographic location, they will lose clients, profitability and longer term market position to larger organisations and to practitioners without their overheads”.
Mary Cousins, VetConsult.
Telemedicine is not rocket science
There are 4 core elements needed to set up a well functioning telemedicine system for your practice:
- A system for taking online payments
- A system for taking bookings, ideally remotely
- Video conferencing or telephone system for advising clients
- Effective automated communications for sending payment requests, booking confirmations, payment receipts, joining instructions, etc.
Managing the pitfalls in telemedicine
Telemedicine is a valuable tool, however it is important to remember that it won’t always be the right approach for every presentation. In order to make the most of this tool, some basic precautions should be followed in recognition of its limitations.
Veterinary telemedicine is not just about video conferencing - it is a wider topic of diagnosis, communication, digital up-skilling, business tools, use of sensors and other diagnostic aids. Keep abreast of innovations in this area as it can make life easier for you.
A reminder of the benefits
in case you needed a reminder, here are some of the varied benefits of improved digital technologies to independent veterinary practices:
Many practices are doing a great job of engaging with their clients through Facebook and their websites. However, again one further step is needed to make this turn into good business sense. Set in place systems for digital communication, particularly around payment for products and services, but also for scheduling (and prior payment) for appointments. Make tech work for you, rather than simply being one more thing that you have to do.
Veterinary telemedicine is not perfect on its own, but in conjunction with a thriving veterinary practice and effective digital communications it can add greater flexibility, improved compliance, higher profitability from the same physical resources, and better team morale. The technology is not going away. If your practice does not come to grips with it for your clients, someone else will. Indeed, the RVCS is in the process of drawing up new guidelines for best practice in telemedicine. Ensure that your practice takes advantage of what it can do for you, your clients and your patients.
Veterinary telemedicine is not just about video conferencing - it is a wider topic of diagnosis, communication, digital upskilling, business tools, use of sensors and other diagnostic aids ……
VetConsult specialises in digital technologies for independent veterinary practices. Talk to us about what your practice needs, particularly for online payments, scheduling and video-conferencing. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or request a call back.