How to Introduce Telemedicine to Your Veterinary Practice
There was once a time in the not-too-distant past when folks had to go into the vet’s office whenever they needed a simple refill on a prescription. With our new way of living essentially a remote existence (hello, pajamas all day at the “office”), things like doctor’s appointments and even salon visits have become virtual. If your veterinary practice is just dipping its toes in the water of web visits, here are some helpful tips to get you started with telemedicine.
Yes, there are rules. Follow them.
First and foremost, do it by the book. That means getting intimately familiar with the rules set forth by the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AMVA) policy on telemedicine. There are also state licensure and veterinary telehealth laws you’ll need to adhere to, patient/client confidentiality agreements, pharmacy laws, and more. Will you be virtually treating patients across state lines? Make sure you know if the law requires you to be licensed in that state as well.
What services will you offer?
It might be tempting to decide that whatever services you offer in-house you’ll do remotely. This is not necessarily a good call, especially as you’re working on ironing out the kinks of telemedicine implementation. Start small, expanding your services only when it makes sense for your business and patients. In other words: Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Connection—a reliable one—is key
We’re not talking a personal connection with your patients here (although that is pretty critical to running a medical practice of any kind). Your internet connection needs to be top-notch if you’re planning on conducting tele-visits. Everything from the speed of your service to video resolution and sound quality are important pieces of the puzzle. Conduct a speed test online to see how your internet is running, and upgrade if needed. There are tons of free speed tests out there! And if the internet goes down or something else with your technology fails, make sure you have a backup plan in place and review it with your clients before the session begins.
Have the right setting
When you are conducting virtual visits, your setting is everything. You’ll want to be away from the noise of your practice, the dogs barking and phones ringing. Being somewhere as soundproof as possible is a major factor in ensuring the best patient experience. Additionally, it should not look like you’re conducting the visit from your kid’s playroom or the car. Be sure you’re either in your office or a patient room at your practice. And finally, have a steady spot to rest your tablet or laptop, one that will keep your devices from shaking or wobbling.
Should you choose to incorporate telehealth into your practice, be sure to do your research. There will no doubt be hiccups and mistakes along the way. But with time, you’ll iron out all those kinks—and you just may find an increase in business if you’re able to slot in a few extra clients each day! Be sure to keep up with the latest in veterinary news, financial trends, and more on ARF Financial’s blog, the Financial Pantry. Check out our Knowledge Center for even more great resources, like whitepapers, eBooks, and case studies.