Many veterinarians started offering telemedicine during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep helping patients while keeping customers and staff safe.
It has been a quick transition, however, and practitioners may wonder whether they are meeting state and federal requirements and how to get the most benefit from offering telehealth services. In addition, efforts are being made in a handful of countries to extend the regulatory requirements for establishing a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship to include virtual examinations.
Four states currently allow a VCPR to be set up virtually: Idaho (but not on prescription), Michigan, New Jersey, and Virginia. An attempt to expand VCPR requirements failed at that session in the Florida Legislature while Connecticut and Nevada lawmakers amended the state Veterinary Practice Act to require a personal examination prior to providing telemedicine services. A state VCPR that requires personal examination still applies to extra-label drug use and animal feed guidelines in all states.
On July 29th, three advanced training events will be offered during the AVMA Virtual Convention 2021, which are intended to shed additional light on veterinary telemedicine.
Dr. Myron Kebus will present “Telehealth in Fish Medicine”, in which he will present the development of telemedicine in his practice and address the economic viability of providing fish telemedicine. The challenges and limits are presented as well as the advantages and opportunities.
Dr. Kebus will also discuss the importance of a previously established veterinary-client-patient relationship and provide case studies to illustrate both the simple and the more difficult situations aquaculture veterinarians may encounter.
In addition, Dr. Gail Golab, AVMA’s Chief Veterinary Officer, and Dr. Warren Hess, AVMA Associate Director of Animal and Public Health, will deliver the presentation “Telehealth and Connected Care: Keeping Better Connected with Your Patients and Clients.”
Participants will learn the most important aspects of the “AVMA guidelines for the use of telemedicine in veterinary practice”, which were published earlier this year. The guideline deals with potential service offers in the field of telemedicine; what has to be considered when selecting the technology; legal considerations, including those relating to establishing a vet-client-patient relationship; Monetization strategies; and tips for employee and customer loyalty. In addition, attendees will learn the latest advances in integrating Connected Care into veterinary practice.
Dr. Gregory Bishop’s presentation, “Veterinary Telemedicine: What’s the Evidence?” Will be offered later that day. Dr. Bishop will summarize the current state of veterinary telemedicine, including an overview of the different service models, legal and ethical concerns, and an overview of the emerging scientific literature.
His talk will also present information on the economics of telemedicine, customer perspectives, and some of the barriers to adoption. In addition, he will address specific applications for telemedicine, including dermatology, behavior, and triage.