Today's Veterinary Business

AUG 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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26 Today's Veterinary Business Business Business INNOVATION STATION "A veterinarian using telehealth must take appropriate steps to obtain informed consent, establish the VCPR and conduct all appropri- ate evaluations and history of the patient consistent with traditional standards of care for the particular patient presentation. As such, some situations and patient presentations are appropriate for the utilization of telehealth as a component of, or in lieu of, hands-on medical care, while others are not [emphasis added]. The Potential of Virtual Care Though the establishment of a telehealth policy would be prece- dent setting in the United States, the Canadian province of Ontario already allows for the creation of a VCPR through electronic means. What is important to note is that On- tario emphasized the importance of all the other acts normally expected of a veterinarian when establishing the VCPR, such as diagnosing and prescribing only when sufficient information is present and ensur- ing that the client knows about the profession's standards. In short, the same standards must be employed in Ontario. The only difference is the means by which the information is conveyed. The information is acquired electronically rather than in person. Should sufficient information not be available electronically, then an in-person exam might be neces- sary. Should that not be sufficient, then the veterinarian might have to perform fur- ther diagnostics. Telehealth tools, also called virtual care or digital care tools, do not replace the in-person examination but rather expand the services offered by the veterinary team. The implications of offering more virtual care options has only begun to be explored. Though the emphasis has mostly been on what this trend means for veterinarians, more needs to be said about the implications for other members of the veterinary team. Enter Veterinary Technicians We know that cre- dentialed veterinary technicians and nurses bring tremendous value to the team through their ability to work with practitioners by physically administering treatments and assess- ing patient progress. Millions of animals could be seen and standards By Aaron Massecar, MA, Ph.D. By Kenichiro Yagi, MS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM) The future of virtual care The changing veterinary-client-patient relationship requirement will open up new opportunities for care. The American Association of Veterinary State Boards this year released a model telehealth policy for public review and comment. The policy includes a provision allowing for the possibility of establishing a veterinary- client-patient relationship (VCPR) without the necessity of a hands-on examination. Here is the specific language: Granted, some animal health issues cannot be resolved by digital communication alone. They might require hands-on treatment, but those hands don't necessarily have to be a veterinarian's.

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