Animal Health: Telemedicine and Teletriage Solutions

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Animal Health: Telemedicine and Teletriage Solutions

Key Takeaways

Introduction

We have curated information in order to provide an overview surrounding how consumers are reacting and interacting with telemedicine/teletriage technologies that connect them with veterinarians online. This has included, but not been limited to, data surrounding the factors that are driving consumers to this model, statistics surrounding the use of these technologies, any publicly available data surrounding who is most likely to use this kind of technology, and how COVID has affected this space.

Additionally, we have presented five best practices for veterinarians and animal care providers surrounding telemedicine in animal health. For each best practice we identified, we provided a description of the best practice, why it is a best practice, and found one definitive industry expert/thought leader discussing the best practice.

To round out this research, we have also provided an overview surrounding ten predictions from industry experts and/or thought leaders for the animal telemedicine and teletriage space. These predictions include, but are not limited to, predictions on growth, consumer technology adoption, and vet technology adoption.

All data presented was either global, with an emphasis on North America when we could present that, or in the case of the best practices, not applicable.

1] Telemedicine/Teletriage Technologies: Consumer Sentiment

  • When focused on statistics for the United States, it can be seen that 43% of pet owners asserted that their vet offered a telemedicine consultation option, which was an increase from just 18% before the pandemic. Of those American consumers that used this tool for a consultation, "three-quarters of them were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the overall consultation, 73% were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the advice proffered, and when it came to the convenience factor, 70% stated they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the convenience."
  • Sixty percent of American pet parents assert that they are willing to pay for vet advice through telemedicine, and just over a quarter of them [26%] reveal that a telemedicine option would be a factor when choosing a new vet practice. Forty-five percent of pet owners in the United States reported that the digital/remote consultation led to an in-person visit, and 59% said that the cost was about the same or more compared to if they had come to the clinic for an in-person consultation.

  • Shifting to the United Kingdom, it can be seen that 48% of pet owners asserted that their vet offered a telemedicine consultation option, which was an increase from just 16% before the pandemic. Of those U.K. consumers that used this tool for a consultation, "66% of them were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the overall consultation, 73% were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the advice proffered, and when it came to the convenience factor, 67% stated they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the convenience."
  • Fifty- seven percent of U.K. pet parents assert that they are willing to pay for vet advice through telemedicine, and 18% reveal that a telemedicine option would be a factor when choosing a new vet practice. Forty-seven percent of pet owners in the United Kingdom reported that the digital/remote consultation led to an in-person visit, and 57% said that the cost was about the same or more compared to if they had come to the clinic for an in-person consultation.

  • Arguably, it could just come down to convenience and the time factor for consumer acceptance and embracing telemedicine. Globally, 36% of those asked stated that they did not have to wait as long to speak to a vet when using the telemedicine option, and for those craving more time with the vet, 22% reported that the telemedicine tool meant that the vet had more time to dedicate to the appointment.

2] Telemedicine: Best Practices for Veterinarians

According to Today's Veterinary Practice, there are five best practices for veterinarians to consider when implementing Telemedicine. According to their website, Today’s Veterinary Practice is the "trusted source for peer-reviewed clinical information in veterinary medicine." They state that their goal is to "enhance knowledge and encourage confidence, inspiring the highest quality of veterinary care." After reviewing other sources, it was deemed that this was the most credible and reliable source to pull this part of the research from, with other sources being 3rd party blogs that were promoting their own telemedicine software and/or telehealth services. Today's Veterinary Practice is being considered and presented as the industry expert and/or thought leader discussing the best practice.
  • Veterinary health care providers should ensure that they are connecting with pet parents that they have an established veterinary–client–patient relationship [VCPR] with. While the pandemic has loosened some restrictions that have long surrounded telemedicine, each state will vary, so each veterinarian should make sure they have a valid VCPR so that they can legally diagnose, prescribe medication, or otherwise treat an animal via telemedicine.

3] Telemedicine/Teletriage Technologies: Predictions

Research Strategy

For this research on the use of telemedicine and teletriage solutions in animal health, we leveraged the most reputable sources of information that were available in the public domain, including the FDA and the AVMA, as well as reputable and credible sources such as The New York Times, Health for Animals, Pet Products News, USA Today, Kisaco Research, and Civic Science.

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