Start Small: Baby Steps for Success in Veterinary Telehealth

Veterinary telehealth is an umbrella term. There are many components of telehealth that can be integrated into any hospital setting.

  • Teletriage
    • Does this medical issue require veterinary care right now, or can it wait?
  • Telemedicine
    • Allows for diagnosing, prescribing, educating, scheduling, and facilitating communication
    • Must be in compliance state laws and regulations
  • Teleconsulting
    • Useful for communication between veterinarians
  • Telemonitoring
    • Remote monitoring of patients using wearable devices or portable glucose monitoring such as the Freestyle Libre
  • Teleadvice
    • Providing guidance and education to pet parents
    • Not intended for diagnosing and prescribing
  • Electronic Prescribing
    • Replaces need for paper and faxed prescriptions
    • Digital transmission and filling of medication
    • Must be in compliance with state laws and regulations
    • Must be in compliance with DEA if controlled

Veterinary telehealth is an extremely helpful tool for any veterinary hospital and an incredibly valuable service to offer your clientele. Although it can seem overwhelming to integrate into your practice, Anipanion’s platform makes it easy and can tailor a telehealth service to your hospital. Whether your clinic is ready to dive into the deep end of veterinary telehealth or you feel more comfortable just dipping one toe in, Anipanion is here to help.

Consumers are looking for better communication with veterinary staff, more guidance on how to better care for their pets, and a frictionless veterinary experience. Pet parents want to text, or stream real-time video from their homes or workplaces. Instead of being trapped on the phone in an endless conversation with a client, channel that conversation into a paid platform. With Anipanion’s real-time video, you can focus the client conversation into a specific topic within a predetermined length of time. Additionally, the asynchronous chat feature allows multiple pet parents to be helped simultaneously.

Telehealth can be tailored to the needs and wants of your practice. Here are 5 small ways to start your veterinary telehealth integration.

  1. Schedule appointments online
    1. This allows clients the freedom to make the appointment anytime of day, even outside of normal business hours.
    2. The client will not be on hold when calling to schedule the appointment making their veterinary experience more positive.
    3. Your phone line will be freed up for other client and hospital needs.
  2. Prescription Requests
    1. Clients can submit requests for any prescription product (food, preventives, supplements, shampoos, oral meds) at any time of day, even outside of normal business hours
    2. Frees clinic phone lines
    3. Pet parents are not having to wait on hold when calling.
  3. Curbside Check In
    1. Frees phone lines
    2. Can send forms for authorization
    3. Can collect payment
  4. Pre, Intra, and Post-op Surgical Communication
    1. These communications will prevent numerous phone calls from the client wondering how Fido is, thus freeing up phone lines and allowing for quality and frictionless client communication.
    2. Pre-Surgical
      1. Schedule a real-time Anipanion session to discuss an upcoming surgical procedure
      2. Send authorization forms
      3. Discuss pre-surgical fasting
      4. Select drop off time
      5. Describe surgical procedure
      6. Collect deposit if needed
    3. Intra-op
      1. Alert owner when surgery is starting
      2. Send updates throughout procedure
      3. Alert owner when surgery is completed and patient is moving to recovery
    4. Post-op
      1. Send pictures of patient in recovery
      2. Send discharge instructions
      3. Schedule pickup time
      4. Schedule real-time telehealth follow-up
      5. Collect payment
    5. Triage
      1. Does the medical issue need to be addressed right now or can it wait?
      2. Utilize a vet tech to use Anipanion’s real-time or chat feature to communicate with pet parent
      3. Guide the pet parent based on level of triage
        1. If it is an emergency, come in to clinic now
          1. Prepare client for what may happen
            1. Curbside or in clinic check in
            2. Exam
            3. Diagnostics
            4. Surgery
            5. Hospitalization
            6. Financial deposit
            7. Collect client info
          2. If it is non-emergency, make appointment for same day, next day, or most appropriate date
            1. Advise the client on what to do in the meantime prior to appointment
            2. Provide symptoms to monitor
            3. Provide ER locations and contact info if appropriate
            4. Discuss what will happen at the appointment. Advise clients to bring in any samples needed (fecal, urine) or fast if necessary.

Veterinary telehealth through Anipanion not only benefits the clients and patients, but can make your hospital more efficient by streamlining, focusing, and monetizing client communication. This added service will bring in new clientele, better retain existing pet parents, and save time for your hospital. Start small with 1 or 2 of the aforementioned integrations that fit your practice. How you offer telehealth can always be modified and enhanced to meet the needs of your clients and staff, especially as your team and clients become comfortable with service and demand increases.