Telemedicine refers to the practice of veterinary medicine which occurs at a distance using telecommunication between a veterinarian and an animal owner to gather subjective history, and subsequently provide an assessment, diagnosis, advice and/or treatment. Telecommunication may include phone or video consultations and virtual examinations. During the unprecedented times of COVID-19, we are able to develop a valid veterinary-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) electronically to diagnose and treat a patient via telemedicine.
Telemedicine is particularly beneficial in continued management of chronic diseases in pre-existing patients, preventative care examinations (such as renewing tick/flea and heartworm medications), remote information gathering from animal owners with new or changing concerns. Telemedicine can also facilitate those less likely to visit a clinic due to transportation, fearful/anxious or stressed patients, family situation or owner illness. Examination of the patient may then be conducted virtually.
We will request informed consent for the providing of a telemedicine consultation and recommended diagnostics and treatments.Telemedicine does not replace a physical examination or necessary diagnostics, and these may be requested where required.
What is a Valid VCPR?
A valid veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR) as outlined by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association is required when a veterinarian is assuming responsibility for the medical care of a client’s animal, including the informed consent and agreement from the client to follow the veterinarian’s directions. A valid VCPR requires a veterinarian to have completed a physical examination. However, due to the unprecedented times of COVID-19, this restriction has been lifted in Ontario and temporary provisions are in place to accommodate a new VCPR electronically. The goal is to ensure the veterinarian obtains a detailed history and adequate knowledge of the patient prior to diagnosing and treating the patient’s condition, and also implies timely care and follow-up of the animal. Once the VCPR has been established, complimentary on-going care can be provided by telemedicine using a veterinarian’s clinical judgement on what is best for the patient.
What is Telehealth?
Delivering health information and client education remotely, and where a valid VCPR exists, providing telemedicine.
What is Teleconsultation?
The collegial communications between veterinarians regarding a particular medical case. The attending veterinarian maintains the responsibility for all information gathered and communicated.
What is Teletriage?
Teletriage is the providing of general medical information by the veterinarian or veterinary team, that is not diagnosing or treating a patient, but facilitating best practice for a patient’s care. What about Prescribing Medications and Telemedicine? With the unprecedented times of COVID-19, prescribing medications via telemedicine is permitted, though is subject to change with the changes in the pandemic. Many limitations exist, please contact us with specific concerns or prescription refills