How Telemedicine Is Improving Pet Care
One positive outcome of changes made during the pandemic is how telemedicine is improving pet care. Traditional methods of accompanying a pet into the veterinary clinic will always be an option—and preferred by many clients. However, the increased use of telemedicine and on-demand video conferencing technology, like Skype and Zoom, has uncovered real benefits for pets and parents.
“Quickly implementing a telemedicine service for our clients allowed us to continue having face-to-face conversations. For clients who did not want to leave their home during the pandemic quarantine, our medical staff could answer questions and evaluate the pet’s condition for care,” said Dr. Laura Weis, co-owner of Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care with her husband Dr. Ransome Weis.
Pet Care Convenience
Wellness visits are just as important as sick visits to the veterinary clinic. Preventive care is just that—an opportunity to prevent serious conditions. When pet care is convenient, it’s a win-win for the pet and the parent. Telemedicine offers convenience in several ways:
One Click & Zero Commute
Veterinary care is now a click away. From a prescription refill request or concern about a recurring medical condition to a follow-up visit, the ability to schedule a virtual visit with a veterinarian or nurse saves time. From start to finish, a virtual visit can be completed in less time than it takes to physically come into the clinic. Regain valuable time that would have been spent commuting and waiting to check-in and out.
- All Comfort, Less Stress
The car ride to the veterinary office can be a stressful experience for pets. A virtual follow-up visit is less stressful for the animal when it’s more convenient to remain comfortable at home. (We mean comfortable for a pet, but if you want to wear pajama pants, we won’t judge.)
Cat Herding Not Necessary
In some cases, it means no more wrangling Miss Kitty from under the couch and coercing her into a travel case for the ride to the veterinary office. If getting the cat—or dog—to the veterinary clinic was traditionally a struggle, the result may have been a missed appointment or no care at all. A study conducted by Bayer Veterinary Care found that over half of the cats in America do not receive regular veterinary care. A telemedicine visit allows the veterinarian to discuss the health of the pet and address concerns with a plan of action.
“Telemedicine for veterinary care is another option for pet parents to easily reach us with questions and concerns when maybe a trip to the vet for answers was not considered. We want our pets to be healthy and live with us for a long time. When their care is convenient, clients are more willing to reach out to us. Minor concerns don’t become serious problems with preventive care,” said Dr. Weis.
Ease of Communications
Improved communications between the client and the veterinary clinic are a big part of the convenience associated with telemedicine. With an increasing number of tech-savvy people adopting pets, digital technology—from apps to Zoom—is a preferred method of communicating. Clients can request a telemedicine appointment from a clinic website or app downloaded on a mobile device from anywhere, at any time.
As curbside services continue for many veterinary practices, the use of on-demand video technology helps alleviate anxiety about not accompanying their pet into the clinic. When the pet is in the exam room, a doctor or nurse can text or email the client a secure link to connect by video, phone, or text. The pet parent can see their pet, continue taking an active role during the examination, and have a real-time conversation with the medical staff during the appointment. There is also a chat function and the ability to send the client necessary forms, reports, prescription information, or care instructions during an appointment. Invoicing and payment can also be shared electronically, making the entire process more efficient.
“I loved using the video conferencing from my car while my puppies, Milo and Maggie, were inside with Dr. Weis. It was nice having that interaction during the exam, and I was able to ask questions as they came to mind. It was easy to use,” said Silvia, pet parent to 6-month-old standard poodles.
“We want our clients to feel comfortable and confident their pet is doing well during an exam. We don’t want clients to forego care for their pets because of concerns about not being present in the exam room. And if clients prefer telemedicine or curbside services for safety reasons or because it’s more convenient, then we want to do what is best for the overall health and wellness of the pet,” said Dr. Weis.
Improved Disease Management
Telemedicine improves pet care by helping clients to manage a pet’s chronic disease such as diabetes. A survey conducted by The University of Tennessee Health Science Center in April 2020, in partnership with several veterinary clinics, found that nearly 50% of respondents felt that telemedicine would improve the long-term care of their pet. Fifty percent said they would feel comfortable monitoring and reporting results to a veterinarian electronically. Only 15% said they would not be comfortable using the technology.
“The convenience of telemedicine will have a positive impact on the long-term care of pets with chronic conditions. The technology promotes on-going communication with the client, and virtual visits can reduce the number of physical trips to the clinic that might be a burden on time and create unnecessary anxiety for the pet,” said Dr. Weis.
How telemedicine is improving pet care at Doylestown Veterinary Hospital
Telemedicine services and on-demand video technology have helped veterinary practices to continue delivering quality pet care. Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care implemented telemedicine and virtual curbside services to ensure pets would continue to receive care during the pandemic. Clients can be confident in the technology because it is secure. Telemedicine will continue to be an effective tool in improving patient care and promoting wellness. Doylestown Veterinary Hospital & Holistic Pet Care remains committed to our clients and their pets. To schedule an appointment, call 215-345-6000.