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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18 Today's Veterinary Business Business Business INNOVATION STATION Nineteen months ago, how- ever, I took the plunge and imple- mented a telemedicine app in my practices. As a result, my clients are more satisfied, I can provide higher levels of care to more animals and I feel compelled to tell other vet- erinarians to try telemedicine to improve patient outcomes. This is not a veterinary-specific issue. According to the Annals of Internal Medicine, 80 percent of doctors report feeling burned out and 73 percent say they're con- tacted by patients after business hours and have no expectation of getting paid for it. By adding a telemedicine appli- cation designed for busy veterinar- ians, practitioners can be compen- sated through a service fee. In my experience, telemedicine streamlines communication with patients, supports clients after hours and increases practice revenue. Connecting with patients using a telemedicine app helps to reinforce and strengthen the patient-doctor bond. My clients believe that I am more integrated into the care of their pet because they can reach me directly. They can ask simple questions and receive almost immediate answers from me, their trusted veterinar- ian. The app can save them time and effort because, in most cases, they don't have to make an unnec- essary trip to the clinic, avoiding the logistics of transport and the potential anxiety of both the pet and owner. If you wish to take a step to- ward better patient outcomes and increased flexibility with your prac- tice, now is the time to improve how you connect with clients. Here are my tips for incorporating telemedicine into your veterinary practice: Follow the AVMA Guidelines for Telehealth The American Veterinary Medical Association requires all telemedi- cine consults to be with clients with whom you have an established veterinary-client-patient relation- ship, so make sure you are doing consults only with patients whom you have seen in person. If you do not have an established VCPR, you can still offer emergency triage and basic advice so long as the advice is not specific to a particular animal. For more on AVMA's position, visit Ensure Client and Patient Confidentiality Cloud-secured records are possible with many telehealth applications. By Aaron Smiley, DVM It's no secret that technology is changing the way health care is delivered. As a veterinarian who manages two Indiana practices, Devonshire Veterinary Clinic in Anderson and Geist Station Animal Hospital in Indianapolis, I have found what works well for me and my team, so I am sometimes hesitant to change the way we deliver care. Give it a try When introduced and promoted properly, a telemedicine app can improve health care, strengthen the patient bond and increase revenue. 1 2

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