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Frequently Asked Questions: Platforms

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Do I have to use a “dedicated” platform to support telehealth communications?

No! Many practices use a prepaid cell phone for the practice to provide text-based asynchronous telehealth services (including sending pictures and videos) and then use a free synchronous video platform (Zoom or FaceTime). You can start with these free solutions while you investigate established platforms that allow integrations with your PMS, schedulers, and payment systems.

In all cases, be sure that security protections associated with the technology/software meet ethical and regulatory requirements, and that you are appropriately integrating information gained through these communications into your patients’ medical records.

What is the procedure for retaining medical records when I use a free audiovisual service?

If you are utilizing a product that integrates directly into your PMS, this likely happens seamlessly between systems. However, if you are utilizing products or services that do not integrate into your PMS, you should create a process that allows you to capture information gained from or shared during your telehealth interactions (e.g., client communications, AI-assisted diagnostics, remote monitoring, specialty consultations) and either write summary notes in or append them to the patient’s medical record as appropriate for your recordkeeping practices.

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.