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Telemedicine is Coming to the Vets, Part 1: Highlight on VetCareShare

veterinarian advises pet owner through video call
Mar 12, 2020 at 1:06 pm
Carolyn Shadle

This is the first in a series of telehealth articles to be published on the VetPartners blog. Each article in the series will feature a different veterinary telemedicine option, providing valuable insight for veterinary professionals, consultants, and pet owners. Communications professional and freelance journalist Carolyn Shadle is not associated with VetCareShare or any other telemedicine company. She received no compensation—monetary or otherwise—from VetPartners or VetCareShare for authoring this article. 

Innovation is the name of the game in technology—whether it’s new bells and whistles that users can enjoy or more sophisticated “back-up” platforms that operate with higher efficiency.

Now, telemedicine is getting into the game. There are a number of new ventures to make telemedicine a reality. Its move into human health care was outlined in the book, The Creative Destruction of Medicine, by Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Research Translational Institute, and now, it’s coming to the veterinary industry through companies such as Medici, GuardianVets, AirVet, Fuzzy Pet Health’s Fuzzy Connect, and VetCareShare by Elucidate, Inc.

I had the opportunity to learn about VetCareShare during a recent VetPartners meeting, so I’m going to tell you what I learned—and, stay tuned for future blog posts about other veterinary telemedicine services.

VetCareShare: How it works

The various platforms operate slightly differently. VetCareShare, for example, puts the veterinary hospital—rather than the pet owner—at the center. Communication is enabled among and between pet owners, the pet owner’s vet, and specialty care providers. Only one veterinarian will need to have a subscription to the service in order to bring others in with a virtual introduction or consult. There is no need for any party to download an app or other software since the invitation to join a virtual consult is link-based. Through text or email, the invitation link is shared with the other participants of the call, and once the link is clicked, all parties are connected virtually and a specialist or general practitioner can communicate directly with a pet owner, another veterinarian, or both.

Sean Field and Jennifer Merritt are the innovators behind VetCareShare, which is an example of bringing both new bells and whistles to users, while also creating sophisticated back-end processes. Sean is a technology guru, with a number of innovations to his credit in human health care, including to help conceive and create one of the first telemedicine solutions while working for Roche Diagnostics in the early 2000s. Now, he’s applying his expertise to the veterinary industry. His wife, Jennifer, runs the commercialization aspects of the business and “everything else,” drawing upon her previous experience in the human-medical device space.

To the users, VetCareShare is a platform that brings together a number of familiar processes. These include:

  1. Online video consultations, as we might have experienced through Zoom
  2. Image and document sharing and transfer, as we might have seen via email or text
  3. Pictures and videos, as seen on email or text, letting the pet parents know how their pet looks following surgery, for example, but now with voiceover

Launched in 2015, the VetCareShare platform provides the ultimate in connectivity. Unlike text or email, this platform enables veterinarians to maintain all medical records: pictures, data, and recorded consultations. Behind the scenes, VetCareShare connects peer-to-peer (P2P), providing users a direct, secure communication channel. Files can be shared securely between participants’ browsers through industry-standard SSL-encrypted websockets. They are essentially using the same protocols financial institutions rely on daily to protect sensitive data.

woman shows her pet's teeth to the veterinarian via video call

You’ll also be interested to know that VetCareShare’s video consultation feature enables the doctor to capture full-screen video of any practice computer, including lab results and X-rays along with, of course, a voiceover consultation. The veterinarian can also share the video via email or text with the client or another veterinarian and then store it in the pet’s medical record.

When considering telemedicine, security and privacy is a constant concern. VetCareShare has been designed with Version Control Systems (VCS) that secure the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR). This VCS will help veterinarians feel more comfortable about offering telemedicine not only to the pet owners, but throughout the entire continuum of care.

As an innovator, VetCareShare is continuing to enhance its product. Unlike other forms of communication, which are typically one-on-one, VetCareShare is developing the ability to have multiple participants in the “room.” This feature is scheduled to launch in late 2020. Stay tuned at vetcareshare.com.

 

VetPartners plans to publish one article of this series per month. The author will feature the following telehealth companies: 

  • AirVet
  • Medici
  • Guardian Vets
  • Fuzzy Connect
  • BabelBark

Are you a veterinary telemedicine company not listed above? Contact the author for a chance to be included in this series!

 

Like this blog post? Interested in other ways VetPartners can help keep you informed of the latest and greatest innovations in veterinary medicine? Check out our practice management resources.

 

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Carolyn Shadle
Carolyn C. Shadle, PhD, is the director of Interpersonal Communication Services, Inc., which assists individuals and organizations in improving their interpersonal relations. Those in the veterinary profession know her as the co-author of "Communication Case Studies: Building Interpersonal Skills in the Veterinary Practice," published by the American Animal Hospital Association, and by her presentations at regional and national veterinary conferences. She holds a PhD in organizational and interpersonal communication.

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