Medical Conditions that are Easy Wins for Veterinary Telehealth
Veterinary telehealth has moved into the industry and is here to stay. Consumers are demanding virtual care options for their pets and veterinarians are adapting to this new normal in veterinary practice. More than 50% of people in the US have used virtual healthcare options for themselves and are expecting a digital experience for their pets. Anipanion’s telehealth platform can make this transition into the digital space easy for you and your clientele. If you are starting a digital service in your practice or looking to enhance one that you already have in place, here are some medical conditions that are easy wins for virtual care.
Post-op follow-ups are so important to the healing process of the pet, but as we all know, these in-hospital recheck appointments often end in “no-shows.” This leaves vacancies in your schedule that could have been filled by other pets in need of vet care, is a waste of your time, and results in lost revenue. A virtual appointment through Anipanion is a great solution for these post-op follow ups! Client compliance is significantly better and you can monitor patient symptoms, answer client questions, and check the health of the surgical incision remotely! These sessions take much less time than in clinic rechecks and clients are much happier to get personalized care from home.
Whether the patient has become acutely lame or you are rechecking a previously treated lameness, a virtual session is a terrific option to manage these cases. An acute lameness can be triaged using Anipanion’s real-time video or chat sessions. Mild cases may be monitored at home with strict kennel rest and more severe cases may need an in hospital visit asap. Rechecking a lameness remotely as well can be really helpful for the pet parent. As much as they love shoving their 130lb Great Dane into their car to bring him to the clinic to recheck an improving lameness, they will be grateful to complete the recheck from home. If the lameness has not improved with conservative therapy, next diagnostics steps can be discussed with the pet parent and in hospital services scheduled.
Most behavior issues in companion animals involve heavy dialogue with the pet parent. Observation of the pet in it’s own familiar environment can be extremely helpful in diagnosis and treatment. Handling a very anxious or fearful patient in-clinic is stressful for all involved – the pet, the pet parents, and the vet staff. The ability to observe the pet remotely and discuss the behavior with the client is a much more pleasant experience for everyone. The client will be more receptive to your advice and you will not have to manage a distressed pet and pet owner in-hospital. Virtual behavior sessions can be just as effective and impactful as in hospital discussions.
Although this is not a specific medical issue, virtual emergency triage is an extremely valuable service for clients and for your hospital. Redirecting pet parent conversations from phone lines into Anipanion can save time and is more efficient for the practice. While most client perceived veterinary emergencies are not actual emergencies, pet parent stress, frustration, and anxiety are very real. Providing better vet care access in the distressed client’s time of need, will save time and energy for the pet parent and for the veterinary staff. Let’s explore a real-world scenario.
A longtime client (Beth) has been trying to call your hospital for an hour, but is unable to get through since phone lines are busy. She wants to bring her 60lb, 3 year old, MN Pit mix (Sam) in because he will not stop chewing at his paw. The paw is swollen, red and she thinks it is broken.
Beth, frustrated because she can’t speak to anyone from your clinic on the phone, starts calling other hospitals. There is no availability for her to be seen today by said other hospitals and told to go to the ER if she thinks the issue is severe enough. Beth now has a heightened level of anxiety, frustration and is angry that no one is helping or seems to care. She calls your clinic again, this time 10 minutes before closing. Beth has been a client for 5 years. She gets through the phone line and is able to speak with your receptionist. Thinking her precious Sam has a broken paw, Beth now demands to be seen tonight leaving your staff having to stay late to deal with a distressed pet parent and anxious Pit mix, or denying the appointment and dealing with the unpleasant aftermath. Bah humbug.
Scenario B: Telehealth
Beth initiates a chat through Anipanion describing Sam’s symptoms. A vet tech at your clinic monitoring chats, responds to Beth’s inquiry immediately and further triages the medical issue. In the video Beth sent, the technician can see that Sam is ambulating normally and has pink gum color. He is doing well other than constantly licking his right forepaw. Beth sends a close up picture of the paw and it appears slightly swollen and perhaps there is a foxtail stuck between his toes. Although Sam is slightly umcortable, Beth is advised that this isn’t an emergency. She is given directions to perform an epsom salt soak for the paw, cage rest, and use of an ecollar she has left over from his neuter procedure. Sam is then scheduled for a drop off appointment the following day. Beth was impressed by the immediate access to vet care and advice. She has clear instructions on what to do at home while she waits for Sam’s appointment. Beth is also grateful she didn’t have to spend her evening at the ER. She writes a fabulous review about your hospital and buys the clinic lunch the next day. Your staff was able to serve Beth and Sam well through chat triage and was able to leave the clinic at the end of shift on time, happily ever after – a veterinary fairytale dream come true.
The telehealth interaction with Beth lasted less than 10 minutes and resulted in a very satisfied customer and happy staff. Telehealth has the ability to make life better and easier for our veterinary staff and our clients. Although starting a telehealth service can seem overwhelming and downright impossible with how busy vet life is, telehealth with Anipanion is a solution for you and your clientele by saving time and creating frictionless interactions with pet parents.