We refer to telemedicine as virtual medicine, like it is almost here. In the world of April 1, 2020, there is no longer any “virtually” or “almost” connotation. We must leverage and lean on telemedicine to still provide the veterinary care and connection that we have come to expect and enjoy. Though I have been a proponent of virtual care for some time, on February first or even March first, I was not nearly as adamant. The ability to consult virtually is now imperative. I reserve the right to be even more emphatic by May first. None of us has ever seen anything like this.
At Lien Animal Clinic we provide virtual visits through the TeleVet app. We started using this app early last year and we decided that these types of consultations were appropriate:
- Sharing diagnostic test results with clients, including developing treatment plans
- Dermatology cases
- Lameness evaluation
- Evaluation of patients that are unable to get to the clinic
- Recheck examinations in certain circumstances
- Providing a summary of a pet’s visit to the client
- Further reviewing a treatment plan
- Post-operative evaluations
- Hospice care
- More detailed explanations of how a client could provide therapy or administer medications
- To answer client questions to help a client decide if or when the client should bring their pet into the clinic or ER
While this is a long list, the list is even longer now. Almost anything is appropriate to consider virtually, at least initially, with today’s interaction constraints. We are still available, with limited staffing, in-clinic for doctor appointments. Many virtual visits may conclude with a trip into the clinic for treatments, medications, bloodwork, or other diagnostic testing as recommended.
Below, I have included the email that we send out when virtual visits have been requested or suggested. It includes all the specifics of how to set up consultations within the app.
We are here trying to reach for all the ways we can continue to take care of your pet and you.
EMAIL INSTRUCTIONS FOR VIRTUAL VISITS
Thank you for requesting a virtual visit with us! For a successful consultation, we’ll just need you to complete a few simple steps. It is important that all of these steps be completed prior to your scheduled consult:
- Download the TeleVet app
- Create an account and your pet’s profile
- Select Lien Animal Clinic as your vet
- Add payment info to account – the consult cannot proceed without this step. Your card will not be charged until the virtual visit has been reviewed and concluded. Please ensure that this information is entered correctly. This is a common stumbling block to proceeding with consultations.
- Please enable push notifications.
If a consultation has not already been scheduled by our team and you would like to request one, simply select “New Consultation” on your pet’s home screen and provide details of what your pet needs to be seen for. You can also upload any relevant photos or videos. Our team will receive your request and will contact you as soon as possible to coordinate a virtual visit time.
As your scheduled time approaches, please be ready with your pet and your TeleVet app. Please allow a 1 hour window on either side of your scheduled appointment, as consultation times can vary.
Your doctor may message with you through the app as the consultation approaches. At the bottom of the app, you will find the video portal button, “Join Call”. When you reach the appointment time, please click on this button and you will be in the video call. Please stay on this screen until the doctor joins as well. If the doctor is significantly ahead or behind schedule, they will try to message in the app about early or late starting times for consultations, though it is not always possible to do so.
Tips for successful consultations:
- Have the pet ready. Be in a closed off room or contained area.
- Have a helper to hold the pet to take quality images or video.
- Pre-plan for pictures and video.
- For checking growths, upload pictures holding a ruler or tape measure next to them.
- For lameness consideration, upload video of the animal’s abnormal gait.
- For skin disease, take pictures of the lesions and affected areas from several different angles.
- For more general physical exams, upload pictures of hard-to-reach areas, such as, the mouth, inside of ears, and belly.
Please let our office know if you have any questions regarding this process. We look forward to seeing you and your pet!
The Care Team at Lien Animal Clinic