Today's Veterinary Business

OCT 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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Page 18 of 67

The veterinary telehealth space resembles the Wild West — a few renegades running wild and with lit- tle legal oversight. While the Amer- ican Veterinary Medical Association issued a position paper in early 2017 providing recommendations and highlighting the critical importance of an existing veterinarian-client- patient relationship in the practice of telehealth care, actual legal regu- lation is sparse. The broader adoption of tele- medicine in practice will be shaped by three important factors. What Role Will Local Regulatory Agencies Play? The practice of veterinary medicine is regulated at the state level. What one state board dictates as the prac- tice of medicine might be different from what is considered standard in a neighboring state. The level of regulation imposed and how strictly regulations are enforced will play a significant role in what a practice will and will not choose to offer clients. What Platforms Exist? Telehealth is more than just connecting virtually with a pet owner. It is a consultation between a doctor and patient that must be documented and cataloged within the medical record. While video conferencing, text communica- tions and FaceTime calls are readily available platforms, seamlessly connecting the outcomes of these interactions within the PIMS system have not been clearly established. How Do I Charge Appropriately? One of the great barriers to adopt- ing telehealth in practice is solving the dilemma of how to appropriate- ly charge for services. For practices not engaged in digital communi- cations, the prospect of telehealth represents a possible erosion of revenue and a potential loss of the interpersonal bond with clients. Conversely, for those practices that engage in text and video communi- cations, determining how to effec- tively charge for a service that they have provided "for free" is a puzzle that will have to be solved. 1 2 3 The Take-Home Message Veterinary medicine is one of the greatest professions when it comes to opportunities to be both a suc- cessful clinician and entrepreneur. But there's little doubt that today's environment is more complex, more dynamic and more compet- itive than ever before. Today's pet owners have new demands and new desires beyond the tradition- al exam room visit. These needs will drive changes in the way in which we serve our customers, and technology likely will take us into channels we never anticipated. Thriving in today's new vet- erinary marketplace will require openness, creativity and a compet- itive spirit to be successful. It's not about just being the best doctor anymore, it's about being the best small-business person. Dr. Karen E. Felsted founded PantheraT Veterinary Management Consulting. She spent three years as CEO of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues. Dr. Travis Meredith is director of the Vetalytix Initiative and owner of Affinity Veterinary Center of Malvern outside of Philadelphia. DESIGNING BETTER CARE Whether you need quality equipment or help in adding services to your practice, Midmark is your trusted partner. With a full range of animal health products plus the tools, support and training that will assist you in running your business successfully, Midmark helps you provide better experiences for patients and their families. © 2018 Midmark Corporation, Dayton, OH Solutions designed for companion animals and their care providers.

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