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Veterinary telemedicine consulting: the future of in-practice collaboration

by
01 July 2017, at 1:00am

CONSTANCE E. DE HAAN of IDEXX explains how the teamwork of telemedicine works and presents a case study which proves its usefulness

SPECIALTY VETERINARY CONSULTING, also known as veterinary telemedicine, continues to grow at a rapid pace in the field of animal healthcare. Technologyenhanced collaboration is welcomed as more and more general practitioners recognise the value of collaborating not just on difficult cases, but on any case in which diagnostic images were taken for a patient.

Benefits to general practitioners

From the perspective of the general practitioner, remote collaboration with a veterinary specialist frees up valuable
resources and energy within the practice. A telemedicine consultant’s review provides a veterinarian with an objective, fresh set of eyes. Because the specialist is remote, they are less likely
to be distracted by the demands of clients and patients. Moreover, a robust veterinary education exposes general practitioners to diagnostic interpretation, but the interpreted results from a specialist are crafted with many additional years of highly-focused
education and practice. In addition to increasing confidence in the diagnosis, a telemedicine report offers the practice valuable continuing education.

Leveraging technology to deliver best medicine

Telemedicine specialists read a diverse variety of cases, and because of the near limitless possibilities enabled by case submission platforms like the one IDEXX uses, we can impact more
patients in a variety of settings and conditions. Image viewing software, in conjunction with communication software, ensures our team is optimised for the best work environment possible – and for delivering the best results to our clients. In addition to radiology and cardiology diagnostic modality interpretation, we have the capabilities to interpret dental radiographs and their corresponding digital photographic images, and offer written dermatological
interpretation. We also have teams dedicated to CT images, MRIs, exotics/ zoo medicine, and equine. Thanks to investments in the right technology, we are able to serve the vast majority of veterinary practices.

Technology-enabled
collaboration

One may think that a veterinary specialist working remotely could feel isolated, but thanks to technology, colleagues can engage in frequent discussions. This communication and collaboration spans not only continents but disciplines: cardiologists collaborate with radiologists and vice versa; radiologists collaborate with internal
medicine specialists; and so on. And at IDEXX, this spirit of
collaboration extends not just to our team: we welcome veterinarian collaboration when possible. In fact, at times we are reliant on the submitting clinician’s patient history to make
the correct diagnosis. Practitioners are encouraged, when necessary, to communicate with the radiologist who read the report. From the specialist perspective, the teamwork and collaboration that is possible when working with a team of
remote specialists is limitless. Together, the team has access to the best minds in veterinary healthcare, and thus, so do our veterinary clinic partners. Technology-assisted specialty consulting services is the future of specialist veterinary healthcare, and IDEXX’s investments in technology continue to ensure that we will be at
the forefront of the new frontier of innovation.