The origins of telemedicine can be traced back as early as the mid 19th century. One of the first published accounts in the early 20th century describes how electrocardiograph data was transmitted over telephone wires. With advances in technology and in particular, video conferencing telemedicine has come along way. Now, as the world grapples with COVID-19, the rate of telemedicine adoption is growing faster rate than ever.
It’s important to note in most cases telemedicine is not a replacement for physical exams, it’s a complementary tool that enables vets and pet owners to improve the overall health of their pets without having to always come into the practice physically.
What is telemedicine?
“The delivery of health care services, where distance is a critical factor, by all health care professionals using information and communication technologies for the exchange of valid information for diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease and injuries, research and evaluation, and for the continuing education of health care providers, all in the interests of advancing the health of individuals and their communities”
The World Health Organisation
How can you use telemedicine?
To combat the rise of doctor Google and the many challenges Vets are facing around the world through this leading to misdiagnosis which impact health outcomes, practices can offer convenient health care advice without having to plan for transporting animals to the practice. This advice can be delivered by email, phone or video consult.
After an animal has undergone an operation, post-surgical care is vital for recovery. Pet parents can help veterinarians monitor this stage using their computer or smartphone using photos, videos or via virtual visits. This way, vets can keep on top of a patient’s post-op recovery by tracking how it is healing and pick up on any abnormalities early on.
For many pet owners, bringing their pet into the clinic is a challenge; it may be that their pet doesn’t enjoy the experience, doesn’t mix well in the waiting room, they are senior animals or terminally ill. Telemedicine offers these pet owners a way to ease these issues, requiring them to take their pet into the clinic only when it is necessary.
Where there are restrictions on movement and social distancing requirements, virtual visits can ensure quarantined, or at-risk pet parents can ensure their pet gets the treatment required. Using services like Covetrus Delivery, practices enable pet parents to receive many of products needed to treat their pets delivered to their home without the practice having to manage delivery or hold stock.
If you think telemedicine, in the context of COVID-19, is simply a passing phase, think again. While it won’t bring an end to physical visits for pets and their pet parents, it will become an increasingly utilised tool for veterinarians around the world. Being proficient in virtual visits, even if it is to confirm that the pet in question needs to come in for a physical visit, will be an asset to your clinic. It will ensure that during difficult times, just as we see with COVID-19, your veterinary clinic will be in a better position to adapt.
Covetrus now offers virtual visits in all their solutions
Read the press release
Read more about:
Virtual Visits in RxWorks™ | Virtual Visits in VisionVPM™ | Virtual Visits in Rapport