Welcome to the world of virtual health! At Anipanion, we’re here for you every step of the way—but we also know that sometimes, the first step is the hardest.
Let’s start with a self-assessment. Here are ten questions you need to ask yourself—and reflect on the answers to— before you dive into selecting platforms, scheduling appointments, and setting protocols.
What is the current telehealth offering in your practice?
Every practice has a different starting point, and will offer different levels of service depending on their clients’ needs.
- Are you providing communication about a pet’s health through text, chat, email, phone, or video calls?
- If yes, are you charging for those services?
- Are you documenting those services in the medical record?
Who on your team will be the telehealth “champion”?
Typically, a telehealth champion is someone who strongly believes in using telehealth in your practice. They’ll be your point person for tech solutions, enthusiastically getting both clients and the team excited, and will help monitor the success of the system.
- What will their responsibilities be?
- What struggles may this person face in your practice?
- How can you help them be the most successful?
What level of telehealth do you want to provide for your clients?
Telehealth services can be 24/7/365 and available to anyone- client or not. Or, you can provide only telemedicine to your own clients only during business hours.
- Does your practice provide after hours and weekend services? Do you have team members comfortable providing triage services? Would you like to provide telehealth as a client acquisition tool?
How do you want to provide the telehealth service?
Text, chat, email, phone, video, app notifications, or any other method of electronic communication regarding a patient’s care is telehealth. You can start with just an email address, use a fully integrated telehealth platform, or anything in between.
- Do you want to provide synchronous, asynchronous, or both methods of communication?
- What type of telehealth interaction would your clients be most comfortable with?
- What type of telehealth interaction can your local internet and cellular signal support?
What are your current pain points?
Use telehealth to save time and increase operational efficiency. List out your pain points of day-to-day operations, and ensure your new telehealth protocols work to solve them.
- Do your CSRs spend too much time on the phone discussing medical issues or dealing with curbside issues?
- Can you shift rechecks to a chat or email check in with a technician to open up more exam rooms?
- Is there not enough time in appointments to properly educate your clients?
Where would you like your telehealth program to be in the future?
It’s important to have a vision of the future program, so you can plan and scale appropriately. Every hospital will have a different system and timeline that works for their team and their clientele.
- In six months, do you want to be able to provide every aspect of telehealth, with every veterinarian and technician on your team? Or, would you prefer to slowly implement only texting and email, for only a few team members?
- Do you have team members that would like to work from home or during off hours to provide after hours and weekend care?
What are your barriers to success?
Take time to think about your clients, team members, current processes, systems, and software, to determine what might be a problem before it actually becomes one.
- Are you still working out of paper only, in a place with poor internet availability?
- Do you have team members that will resist new initiatives?
- Are there certain clients that will be difficult to transition?
How will you measure the success of your telehealth program?
There are a lot of ways to measure success- meaning you have many ways to gamify and incentivize your team to continue to improve. Set clear goals and metrics that work for your team.
- Will it be the number of new clients acquired after offering telehealth to anyone in your city?
- The number of text messages per hour for a CSR sending out refill reminders?
- The average of client satisfaction ratings after a video call with nurses and DVMs?
Are you keeping in all the legal lines?
Telemedicine is legal with a veterinary client-patient relationship. Telehealth can be provided without a VCPR. A few states are now allowing a “digital VCPR”- meaning soon, you may be diagnosing, treating, and prescribing to patients that you’ve never touched.
- Have you checked with your local Veterinary Medical Associations for local telehealth resources?
- Have you read your state’s practice act to check the definition of the VCPR? (They’re all different!)
- Have you checked with your liability insurance provider to ensure telehealth services are covered?
How will you promote telehealth to your clients?
Marketing, marketing, marketing! Make sure your clients know you offer a telehealth service. It can take months to build new habits, so stay persistent.
- Are your technicians mentioning telehealth at every appointment?
- Is your website up to date, with a section for telehealth?
- Can you create promotions and discounts to encourage adoption?
Ready for the next step? Take our self-assessment quiz. We’ll review your answers and give you personalized advice to get your practice’s telehealth program up and running faster.
Need some extra support? We're here for you and can't wait to help!
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