Demand for telehealth services is accelerating, and veterinary practices need to keep pace to remain relevant. The goal is not to replace necessary in-person consultations and exams, but to consider using technology for such services as
- Client education
- Some types of preventive care
- Postsurgical follow-ups
- Behavioral consults
- Monitoring chronic conditions
- Palliative/hospice care
- Nutritional consults
- Prescription and pet food refills
- Specialist consults
The goal is offering improved access and convenience that provide pet owners with excellent customer service and high-quality patient care leading to better patient outcomes and increased client retention. The goal is using technology to streamline care so staff don’t burn out, internal processes flow efficiently, and everyone’s skills are maximized and monetized.
As we hope you can see, telehealth is not about the gadgets, it’s about results and relationships. Staying connected with your clients and patients is critical. You want your clients to think of calling you first when they have questions or concerns. You want to be able to provide your clients answers and reassurance when they need it 24/7. Plan to provide telehealth services on your time and potentially use a third-party provider after hours so you don’t have to always be on call and your clients can still receive services.
You don’t have to take on all of telehealth at once. Assess your situation, your clients, your patients, and your resources. Determine how to incorporate Connected Care into your practice and what your desired return on investment looks like. Feel confident that making small adjustments now will provide huge dividends in improved patient outcomes, client retention, and staff satisfaction in the future.
The most important step you can take today is your next one!
Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health USA Inc., CareCredit, and Merck Animal Health have supported the development of the 2021 AAHA/AVMA Telehealth Guidelines for Small-Animal Practice and resources through an educational grant to AAHA.