Providing a great virtual care experience

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Providing a great virtual care experience - Small poodle mix dog licks owners face while sitting on the couch. Owner looks at her phone.

One of the amazing benefits of virtual care is the time you can spend with a pet owner to not only address their concerns, but provide added coaching to help them take care of their pet.

Prior to each appointment on Vetster, you will be given information about the pet and the concerns of the pet owner. We recommend reviewing this information prior to connecting with the pet owner so that you have a sense of whether the case is urgent and may need triaging to a clinic or hospital. If however the circumstance is non-urgent, or requires further investigation, here are some tips to help you and the pet owner get the most out of any consultation.

  • Listen carefully to your client’s concerns. Most appointments are 15-30 minutes which provides ample time to ask questions you need to create a comprehensive medical record on Vetster.
  • Make thorough observations. Ask the pet owner to take pictures or video, or show you the pet of the pet to assess their condition.
  • Provide general information about the symptoms and conditions the pet parent has questions about.
  • Discuss possible diagnostics and why they’re important, as well as treatment options, expectations, and outcomes.
  • Use the “Plan” section of the record to share links to additional information. You may use your favorite client information websites, and you’ll also find an ever-expanding database of articles in Vetster’s Pet Connection.
  • Make sure you’ve answered all of the client’s questions and that they have all of the information they need to decide what to do next.
  • If appropriate, provide a prescription and/or recommendation for a non-prescriptive medication. Did you know that in the US VetsterRx fulfilled by PetMeds® now includes hundreds of over-the-counter medications?

Topics that are suited to any virtual care consultation include:

  • Routine wellness plans and strategies

  • Preventive care education and guidance

  • Nutrition, including weight loss, weight management and exercise

  • Training, obedience and behavioral issues

  • Life stage questions (new pet, senior pets, hospice and end-of-life)

  • Information about complicated chronic conditions

  • Questions about nutraceuticals and over-the-counter products

  • Hygiene, grooming, and coat care

  • Bandage and wound care basics

  • As a supplement to in-person care:

    - Reviewing an existing diagnosis

    - Providing additional information

    - Discussing expectations and outcomes

  • Teletriage

    - Do I need to get to a vet? How quickly?

    - Was this a dangerous exposure to chocolate, nicotine, etc.?

  • Any other kind of advice you routinely pass on to your clients in a clinic setting

Virtual care appointments are useful for a variety of services. Vetster is perfectly suited for the practice of telemedicine, but it’s also a great platform for sharing general information outside of a professional relationship. To learn more about the scope of telemedicine compared to general advice, check out our blog post on telehealth definitions.

Whether practicing telemedicine or providing general advice, you can support owners in making informed decisions to take the best possible care of their pets by providing accurate, credible veterinary advice and sharing your knowledge. This plays a major role in protecting the well-being of pets in a world where armchair doctoring and asking Dr. Google is more and more common. This is all a helpful reminder that even when you cannot establish a professional relationship, diagnose, or prescribe, you can still provide a large range of valuable veterinary care advice.