Many practices are hopping on the telehealth train amid the COVID-19 pandemic – but is there longevity to the benefits of this technology? The short answer is “yes”!
“Telehealth” is an umbrella term used to describe the various ways healthcare and health education are delivered remotely through technology. Sharing information on pet health through your website or social media account is considered telehealth, as is providing care through video or phone communication.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has changed the way we operate in a veterinary setting. As we continue to adjust to laws and guidelines implemented to create a safer world, remote work and social distanced patient care has become a new norm that, in many cases, is here to stay. As a result, telehealth has become an essential and important tool used by doctors and veterinarians to deliver care in a safe way, as well as a lifeline for clinics and healthcare businesses to stay afloat during this financially challenging period.
However, many businesses were developing systems for remote work far before the pandemic. Telehealth has been a burgeoning industry for a decade, helping vets reach their patients efficiently and expediently while lowering costs by virtually removing the need for a walk-in clinic.
The history of telehealth and telemedicine
Advances made by doctors and computer scientists in the 1940s were major milestones that marked the beginning of telehealth. The first radiologic images were sent via telephone between two medical staff in Pennsylvania in 1948. In the ten years following this, telehealth systems were developed by universities for sharing medical data using closed circuit television systems. These humble beginnings were the prototype for the advanced internet services used today to communicate data. Only in recent decades technology has advanced and become accessible enough to offer telehealth services to everyday patients.
Reaping the benefits: COVID-19 and beyond
Though the capabilities of telehealth are limited and cannot completely replace in-person appointments, it provides an avenue for many non-emergency checkups to be performed and can free up time in a vet’s schedule for appointments that require pets and their caretakers to visit the clinic. For example, telehealth can be used for postoperative follow-ups, hospice care, to provide care for those without means of transporting their animal, pets with behavioral issues, basic triage, and dermatologic concerns.
VetBadger is one business that has been a leading force in the telehealth revolution. This innovative company developed a comprehensive software that manages all of logistics of scheduling and managing online appointments between vets and pet parents. Their software allows for long-distance client care through video and phone appointments, and includes a system that compiles data from appointments and medical records for ease-of-use across an entire clinic’s team.
As a practice manager, it’s essential to keep information readily available to your team. VetBadger uses a built in messaging system to keep track of all communication with clients, providing email and SMS text reminders for appointments. It also includes a task center that centralizes everything happening in the clinic so managers can be updated easily.
For more information on telehealth and VetBadger’s software, visit VetBadger.com.