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Telemedicine is Coming to the Vets, Part 5: Highlight on Televet

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Aug 7, 2020 at 4:37 pm
Carolyn Shadle

This is the fifth 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 Televet or any other telemedicine company. She received no compensation—monetary or otherwise—from VetPartners or Televet for authoring this article.

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This is the fifth in my series on “telemedicine is coming to the vets.” Steven Carter, a VetPartners colleague, was one of the first providers in this space, launching Televet in 2015.

Steven, along with classmate Price Fallin, got into telemedicine while the two of them studied entrepreneurship at the University of Oklahoma. Following graduation, they channeled their learning to the veterinary practice. When the pandemic hit, Televet had five years of experience and knowledge of how veterinary clinics operate, and the company was ready to address growing interest in telemedicine.

Focus on veterinary practice problems

Televet is designed to make the daily life of the veterinarian easier. Steven is aware of the stress and burnout common to the veterinary practice and wants to improve the work-life balance of hardworking veterinarians. He’s also keen to make relationships between veterinarians and clients more satisfying.

This was born out by two of his veterinarian users with whom I spoke: Dr. Hannah Lau of Adobe Animal Hospital, in Los Altos, California, and Dr. Jen Quammen, of Community Pet Health Center, in Zionsville, Indiana. Both of these veterinarians provide telemedicine during the day (often a long one) to clients who have visited the clinic within 24 months. Without a valid veterinarian-client-patient-relationship (VCPR), they limit their communication to advice.

Televet addresses veterinarians’ specific goals

While telemedicine can provide any number of benefits, Televet starts by identifying the goal of its customer.  That goal might be to:

  • Be compensated for remote consultation
  • Increase compliance
  • Improve follow-up rates
  • Free up exam space in the clinic
  • Gain new customers
  • Increase revenue

Depending on the goal, Steven and his staff will develop a platform that provides messaging scripts that address the goal and help the clinic build the platform into its website. Members of the Vet Advisory Board are often called upon to help the company target a specific goal.

Increased connection

Dr. Lau has worked with Televet since its inception and finds that using email, text, video, and chat enables her to be available to communicate with her clients when and how it works best for them. Viewing the pet, comfortable in the home environment, is often a big help.

Communications vary from a post-surgery question, to a concern about a skin irritation that can be handled with a prescription, instead of a clinic visit. Dr. Lau  pointed out that avoiding an unnecessary trip to the practice is appreciated by those who find travel difficult. This was illustrated by one of her clients who had broken his back and was not able to drive his pet to the clinic. What a relief when he realized most of his concerns could be handled through Televet.

Dr. Quammen finds that using Televet improves the bond her staff has with the client and pet. Connecting by video, for example, before the pet arrives, enables both staff and client to know what to expect.  Her clinic is especially committed to Fear Free and, therefore, finds the use of Televet to be a wonderful tool to reduce anxiety—for clients worried about interdog aggression, those with cats who shun the clinic, or those who suffer from simply the “anxiety of the unknown.”

Pre-visit video chats enable her staff to judge the condition of the pet before the visit, and post-visit chats can also be useful. Dr. Quammen tells of one of her clients who called, confused and uncertain, following the neutering of his dog. The client said, “There’s still something there.” A video enabled the veterinarian to reassure him with, “Everything is fine. Neutering does not remove the scrotum.”

Televet prides itself on customer service

Televet makes it possible for veterinarian users who address the same goal to connect, sharing best practices or discussing possible new features for Televet.

Appreciating the hectic pace of the veterinarian, Steven and Price have developed a customer service team known for its personal touch and ability to empathize with veterinary teams. This commitment shows up in Televet’s 3-5-minute response rate, and the fact that problems are resolved within 24 hours.

Tracking metrics is a feature of Televet. Often, Steven asks customers to track a certain dimension of their business before installing Televet so they can see pre- and post-Televet metrics.

All of these features add up to a product that makes life easier for veterinarians, and leads to better quality care for pets.

 

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

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

 

Like this blog post? Interested in meeting representatives from some of the telemedicine companies featured in this series? Don’t miss the 2020 VetPartners Virtual Mid-Year Meeting!

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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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