Over the past several years, telehealth has arisen as one of the greatest opportunities–and one of the greatest challenges–facing veterinary medicine. To help veterinarians understand and navigate this issue, the AVMA hosted several sessions on telemedicine at the AVMA Convention 2018 in Denver, July 13-17.
Telehealth is an approach to delivering veterinary services that can offer benefits for animal owners, animal patients and veterinarians by facilitating communication, diagnostics, treatments and client education, while expanding access for veterinary consumers.
The veterinary community has been engaged in passionate dialogue about the proper use of telehealth tools, with the discussion exploring practical and regulatory topics such as ensuring patient safety, role of the veterinary team, application of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR), licensure, liability, and how to effectively build telehealth into a practice.
These topics were explored during a session on Sunday, July 15, titled “Take-Aways From The Trenches: Telehealth in Veterinary Medicine.” Led by AVMA Board Member Dr. Michael Bailey, AVMA Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Gail Golab, AVMA Deputy CEO Adrian Hochstadt, and AVMA Chief of Professional Development and Strategic Alliances Dr. Mia Cary, this session addressed how veterinarians could incorporate telehealth in their clinics. Attendees learned about telehealth pilot programs conducted by the AVMA and the Ontario VMA, telehealth resources available for veterinarians—such as the AVMA Telehealth Resource Center and Vet Clinic Live at the convention—and AVMA’s guidance on the veterinary-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) and licensure as applied to telehealth.
Other events and sessions focused on telehealth and telemedicine included:
On Friday, July 13 at 5 p.m. a discussion of telehealth facilitated by veterinarian and AVMA board member Dr. Lori Teller at the Meet-the-Experts Round Table. Telehealth was one of more than 40 topics covered in round table discussions during this event, which will took place in the Colorado Convention Center, Lobby D.
In the AVMA Convention 2018 exhibit hall, attendees participated in a variety of hands-on activities and telehealth presentations through Vet Clinic Live! “The Connected Veterinary Experience.” This included Connected Care: Interactive Scenarios – 15- to 20-minute presentations that demonstrated how veterinarians can incorporate wearables, other new technology and virtual care into their practices. Attendees also sat in on Tech Talks, 20-minute sessions that highlight start-up and tech companies in the virtual care space. In addition, the Digitized Practice Experience allowed guests to touch and feel the latest technology and explore how data can enhance the way veterinarians care for patients. Finally, the Tech Hub let attendees chat face-to-face with representatives from tech companies that are at the forefront of virtual c
On Saturday, July 14, veterinarian Apryle Horbal and VetNOW cofounder Matthew Rumbaugh presented “Implementing Telehealth in Your Practice: Virtual Clinics, Video Platforms, and Patient Engagement.” This session raised awareness of factors spurring the adoption of telemedicine, particularly consumer demand for these services; benefits of telehealth technology by increasing access to quality veterinary care and improving efficiency within the veterinary practice; expanding physical veterinary clinic locations through virtual clinics and collaborative platforms; innovations, industry trends, and coming legislative changes.
“The Virtual Exam Room – Adding a Telehealth Exam Room Without the High Cost of Construction“ was held on Monday, July 16. Attendees learned from Bruce Truman how to develop a strategic plan for using telehealth in their businesses; identify key criteria for implementing telehealth at the practice level; and how to take the guesswork out of choosing the right technology provider.