What types of client concerns can be easily handled through a video consultation or phone call?
Telemedicine can be particularly useful for things like:
> Post-operative follow-up
> Routine prescription check-up (flea, worm etc.)
> Triage for non-urgent concerns
> Long term care monitoring
> History taking
> Dietary issues
How much does it cost to use VetConsult?
There are no up-front costs or contracts. You pay a tiny percentage of the transaction. So you can rest easy that costs are not being incurred without you benefitting. For detailed information about the price we need to discuss your requirements. This can be done with a quick phone call. 07968 902226
Can I use your payment platform with our existing PMS?
Yes of course. We make it easy for you to request, receive and monitor payments based on invoices raised in the normal way.
What are the benefits of using telemedicine in a veterinary practice?
> Improved client compliance when it comes to paying for remote advice
> More efficient use of veterinary professional’s time
> Flexibility & quality of life for veterinary surgeons on maternity/partial retirement
> Allows you to view the animal in their natural environment rather than under stress
> Increased availability of consultations without the physical space requirements
> On call appointments can be triaged to determine which need to be seen out of hours
> Easier for less mobile clients or pets, and improved flexibility for those that work
Can telemedicine replace a physical veterinary practice?
Telemedicine is a useful tool, there are pitfalls and areas where it is less than ideal. It is important to remember that telemedicine will not replace the need for in house consulting. Rather, it should be used alongside to help streamline your caseload and maximise efficiency.
What are the potential pitfalls in veterinary telemedicine, and how can we mitigate against these?
You may need to see the animal anyway
If you feel that you need additional information after carrying out a video consult, simply ask the client to drop the patient
off at the practice. You have already collected the history and know how you wish to proceed, so the time hasn’t been
wasted, and clients appreciate the additional care their pet is receiving.
Schedule video consults earlier in the day to allow time should the patient need to be seen in practice.
Mis-diagnosis due to lack of smell, touch, thermometer, scales, etc.
Only working with registered clients and pets reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings as . The online consult can be used to attract new clients, but care should be taken to avoid mishaps, don’t be afraid to require an in house consult initially if any concerns.
If there is not enough information just ask the client to bring the animal in to the practice. If this is not possible, then discuss your reservations with the client (and record the discussion in your notes!).
Ask clients to provide updates and photographs via email where appropriate, this allows the practice to keep a track on a patient's progress and may flag up any potential issues early on (also maintains a paper-trail).
As always but perhaps even more so, good clinical note-taking is essential and should include advice given to the clients about what to look out for, when to contact the practice for further advice etc.
Internet connectivity issues
Offer telephone and video consultations for the same cost – this allows clients to request a phone call if they know that they will struggle with video, and also gives you the option to switch between the two if any issues arise, leaving no one feeling short-changed.
Potential for less highly qualified individuals to poach business and undercut surgeries.
This technology is not going away. The industry needs to have the conversation about it out in the open. Whilst there is little stopping someone setting up for telemedicine without the costs involved in a physical practice, there are limits to the level of care they are able to provide in this way. Whilst this sort of service may have its place, it can’t operate without working closely with other practices and referring cases to them as needed.
What is the RCVS position on veterinary telemedicine?
One major source of concern surrounding veterinary telemedicine is a lack of clarity on where one stands with regards to insurance and RCVS support. When prescribing POM-V medication, you need to be able to demonstrate that you have enough information. If, following your consultation, you feel you require more information, request that the client drops the patient off at the practice for further diagnostics. The RCVS has written in their article the requirements for remote prescribing, and so this should be used to guide your decisions. Unfortunately, there are currently no convenient hard and fast rules but let’s be honest, when are there ever in veterinary medicine?
I really want us to start using this platform, but I am not the decision-maker. What do you suggest?
Can I use different video conferencing facilities and only use the online payment element of your platform
Yes. You can use any of the features of our platform that suit you best.
What are the different elements I need to think about if wanting to create my own Telemedicine solution?
> BOOKING – the appointment needs to be booked. Ideally this will be done online so that receptionists do not have an additional workload and so that payment for the appointment can be taken at the same time as the booking.
> PAYMENT GATEWAY – the booking facility needs to be integrated with a secure payment gateway that is not too expensive.
> INVOICING – after the appointment there may be demand for medication or products, which can be collected, delivered or posted. Therefore you will need a flexible system for creating an invoice to cover all products needed.
> VIDEO-CONFERENCING – There are many options for video conferencing itself, such as Zoom. Some of these need the client to download software. If you can integrate the videoconferencing with the booking side then it can be automated. Again, this will relieve pressure on receptionists. Ensure that the videoconferencing room is secure, easy to use and under your control.
You can use any or all of the capabilities of VetConsult to suit your needs. However, the simplest is to plug into the platform and use them all without having to worry about integration and updates of the different elements.
How long is a video consult generally?
We have found that the time needed for the consultation varies from 5 -15 minutes, often case dependent. However, you can be as flexible as you would be in the practice.
How much should we charge for the videoconsult?
It is entirely up to you. Many practices charge their standard consultation fee, or you may decide to charge slightly less for your video consult and then top it up to the full amount if the patient subsequently needs to be seen in practice.
What if the client would prefer a phone call?
We recommend that you treat a phone call in the same way as a video consult at the same price. After all, it is your time and expertise that they are paying for. Book it into the diary in the same way, but ask the client to make a note on the booking that they would prefer a phone consultation.
Can you provide an e-commerce capability for selling products?
Yes. Discuss with us the scope of what is needed.
We are not currently registered with a veterinary practice. Can we still have a video consult?
We strongly recommend that you register your pet with the veterinary practice before booking a video consult.
Our vet does not currently offer video consultations. How can I encourage them to do so?
Ask them to get in touch, or let us know the name of your practice and suggest who we should speak to. We can make it easy for them to start offering video consults within 24 hours.