Telemedicine refers to the remote connection of healthcare providers to patients for clinical services. This is done via telecommunications like video-conferencing, phone, and text or chat.
In the veterinary services industry, a professional standard called the veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR) is required to practice veterinary medicine. It is a relationship that is established mutually when a veterinarian and client decide that a pet will be treated. This includes the veterinarian taking responsibility for providing the pet medical care; taking/keeping medical records, giving appropriate advice and treatment options, and diagnosing and prescribing medicine.
Veterinary medicine is regulated both nationally and by state/province. Typically, a veterinarian is licensed to practice in one state/province, although some are licensed in more than one! Depending on where the veterinarian is licensed, the VCPR may or may not be permitted to be established remotely via a virtual environment. If the VCPR can be established remotely, the veterinarian is able to practice telemedicine, which includes diagnosing and prescribing medicine to pets.
Some concerns that veterinarians on Vetster are able to treat include (but are not limited to) urinary problems, skin and ear infections, mobility concerns, toxin ingestion, behavioral consults, trauma/injury triage, preventative wellness, and more!
If the VCPR is not able to be established remotely (depending on the location of the licensed veterinarian) the veterinarian is able to practice telehealth, which includes providing general pet health and wellness advice and care. This includes, but is not limited to; lifestage wellness planning, behaviour and training advice, nutrition consultation services, end of life/palliative care guidance, emergency triage assistance, preventative care advice, and more.
The primary difference between veterinary telemedicine and veterinary telehealth is that telehealth does not permit veterinarians to diagnose, treat, or prescribe virtually.
In a state or province that a VCPR cannot be established remotely, veterinarians may also practice teletriage in addition to telehealth. Teletriage is essentially suggesting whether or not asking clients need to take their pet to an emergency clinic immediately, or if their concern can be seen tomorrow/at a later date. Teletriage often gives clients peace of mind knowing they made the right decision in seeking in-person care or holding off if their concern is not an emergency.
Health concern with your pet?
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