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.

Issue link: https://todaysveterinarybusiness.epubxp.com/i/1007483

Contents of this Issue

Navigation

Page 34 of 75

of care maintained if properly trained and credentialed veterinary technicians were able to utilize virtual care technologies. Granted, some animal health issues cannot be resolved by digital communication alone. They might require hands-on treat- ment, but those hands don't necessarily have to be a veterinarian's. Routine procedures like anal gland expression, administering subcuta- neous fluids or medications, or monitoring pa- rameters such as blood pressure can be done by an appropriately trained veterinary tech- nician. Yet, the practice acts in some states do not permit veterinary technicians to perform these procedures in the animal's home if a veterinarian is not supervising. Should regulations be changed to allow veterinary technicians to practice a range of services so long as the veterinarian is consult- ed through electronic means, then we can see that pets now going without health care will be in a better position because of the reduced cost associated with a veterinary technician. For example, think about geriatric or frac- tious cats. These animals often lack access to vet- erinary care because of the difficulty in bringing them to the clinic and the costs associated with their routine care. If a nurse could travel to the pet's home and provide care, then those barriers to care would be immediately reduced. An Extension of the Veterinarian The argument against virtual care in veteri- nary medicine often boils down to the ques- tion of whether the VCPR can be established through virtual care tools in the absence of a physical examination. It might be true that virtual care tools provide only part of what an in-person physical exam can provide, such as visual and auditory clues and subjective input from the owner. But a credentialed vet- erinary technician has the education neces- sary to fill the gap by serving as the hands, eyes, ears and nose of the veterinarian while communicating her findings to the veteri- narian for a diagnosis. Such an arrangement is possible for pa- tients residing in states in which the practice act allows for credentialed veterinary techni- cians to provide follow-up care when a rela- tionship has already been established. In fact, nurses in human medicine are heavily utilized in follow-up home care while they maintain remote access to doctors. The difference between having credentialed veterinary technicians or a noncredentialed person like a pet sitter perform the role is the educational standard. This is the point in which the problematic nature of veterinary technician and nurse credentialing lies. Eleven states do not license veterinary technicians, and many more do not restrict use of the title to licensees. Even in states whose laws dictate use of the title only by licensees, the laws can be loosely applied. A Push for Standards The Veterinary Nurse Initiative, launched by the National Association of Veterinary Tech- nicians in America, aims to set credentialing standards throughout the nation. Anyone using the title "registered veterinary nurse" — RVN would replace current technician credentials — would have met education and training requirements, elevating the baseline competency level of these individuals. This is not to mistake, however, the value of today's credentialed veterinary technicians. The fact is that not every "veterinary technician" is created equal. The veterinary profession needs to work toward across-the-board standardization. As virtual care expands and pet owners look for more accessible veterinary care, the es- tablishment of nationally consistent standards and integration of the role of RVNs is vital so that pet owner needs are met. Efforts such as AAVSB's telemedicine guidelines and NAVTA's Veterinary Nurse Initiative will expand on the ability of veterinary teams to provide necessary care to a growing pet owner population. Innovation Station columnist Dr. Aaron Massecar is executive director of the Veterinary Innovation Council. Column contributor Kenichiro Yagi prac- tices at Adobe Animal Hospital in California and is a member at large with the National Associa- tion of Veterinary Technicians in America. It might be true that virtual care tools provide only part of what an in-person physical exam can provide, such as visual and auditory clues and subjective input from the owner. But a credentialed veterinary technician has the education necessary to fill the gap by serving as the hands, eyes, ears and nose of the veterinarian while communicating her findings to the veterinarian for a diagnosis.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Today's Veterinary Business - AUG 2018