The amount and speed of the internet connection will determine the video quality and amount and speed of data transfer. You can check here your internet speed.
✔ Secure video calling platform
The goal is to have a video calling system that is linked to your PMS and enables the pet parents to connect from their smartphone, ideally from the same app that they use to keep track of their pet’s medical records.
✔ Make sure your team has all the equipment they need, including webcams, microphones, and speakers
The thing you should start with is a computer or a laptop that works just fine. It is very important to have all you need before you start a video call and to make sure you prepare for anything that can go wrong – eg. power outage.
✔ Dedicated workspace for the people conducting the video call
A room in your clinic should only be used for this type of activity. It is important for the veterinarian to do the video consult not to be interrupted when talking to the owner and also, not to overhear other ongoing conversations from the clinic.
Lighting – Make sure your face is well lit, and avoid having a source of bright light behind you.
✔ Noise cancellation tools
You might have dogs barking around you or kids being kids. We do recommend buying specialized noise cancellation headsets (contact us for recommendations) but there are other tools that can help you reduce that noise in order to ensure good sound quality.
One good example is a free app named krisp.ai which uses machine learning to reduce background noise.
✔ Train your team to do some basic troubleshooting
They should be prepared to make the video on-boarding smooth for clients. Usually, clients just need some simple guidance – checking the spam email for their invite, adjusting the audio settings, or setting up a webcam. You may want to make your onboarding session separate from the actual consultation. The onboarding process is best to be done by other members of your staff.
✔ Know your patient’s name
When the owner sees that you know/remember their pet’s name, you can start the video consult on a less formal tone. The owner will be more relaxed and will see that it isn’t all about the numbers (money) and therefore will give you more reliable information.
✔ Read your patient’s file before the appointment and keep it open during the video consult
Once again, knowing details about their pet shows that you care and sets up a more familiar ambient for the owner.
✔ Let the owner talk
Us, as vets, we’re almost always in a rush. Our clients don’t need to know that. Take the time and let pet parents talk and express their worries before you jump in and manage the discussion.
✔ Validate their concerns
It’s important to be empathetic-even if the owner looked up the symptoms beforehand and already has in mind a diagnosis, their worries are real. You can then conduct the conversation towards the right path/diagnostic.
✔ Speak using understandable terms
Abandon as much formal medical terminology as possible and speak to the pet parent in their terms. Speak slowly and clearly to avoid unnecessary confusion.
✔ Use visuals
The use of visuals can help the owner understand concepts that would otherwise be hard to imagine- charts, photos etc.
✔ Accurately and thoroughly educate the patient
The information you disclose about illnesses, conditions, and treatments must be true and complete. Offer an understandable definition of the diagnosis. Spell out what it means for the patient’s short-term and long-term wellness. Describe the expected course of treatment and the anticipated outcome. If there are alternative treatments, describe those, as well.
✔ Don’t be afraid to admit you need help
Pet parents may expect that a doctor will know what needs to be known to make a diagnosis, but that’s not always true. It’s better to admit that you need to do some research or consult with a specialist. They’ll appreciate the honesty and will feel more confident in the end result.
The medical act 💊
✔ Records summary
Part of the video conference set-up will be keeping records. You can write any pieces of information you find important in the patient file on Digitail platform. Clients can view their record summary directly in the App or you send it via email.
✔ Protocols policies and procedures
Clinical and service protocols should be adapted to the telehealth environment yet, as much as possible, retain content of non-telehealth protocols. Create protocols that are as close as possible to non-telehealth protocols. Follow standard, recognizable protocols that will lead to consistent clinical results.
Transmit any follow-up recommendations for testing/medication to the owner, any educational materials for the treatment and make sure you share with them the results of the consultation. If necessary schedule any further appointments.