Vet drop-offs can be very time consuming and stressful for the client and veterinary staff. They are oftentimes unscheduled, the client usually has many questions and specifications, and the pet may come with an assortment of gear from bedding, blankets, clothing, leashes, collars, to medications and food. Utilizing telehealth to aid in more efficient drop-off exchange can benefit any practice type.
Veterinary Technician tasks in Telehealth Drop-off
Communication can occur via live video or asynchronous chat. We recommend having the client start an asynchronous chat upon arrival to the practice, or even the day before, to allow for sending and receiving of messages, photos, forms, documents, test results, and more throughout the day.
Gather information about the specific issue
- Patient signalment
- Duration of issue
- Specific symptoms
- Previous medical problems
- Medications list
- What the pet is being dropped off with (carrier, blankets, special diets, etc)
Client financial expectation
1. Is there a budget they are working within?
- If diagnostics are needed, should the hospital contact the pet parent for consent or move forward without connecting with the pet parent?
2. Provide drop-off window of time for owner to choose
3. Provide documentation requiring client review and signatures
- This info can be filled out digitally prior to drop off
- Hospital drop off policy
- Surgical or anesthesia/sedation release forms
- Client contact info
- Estimates and payment info
4. Keep open communication with pet parent while the patient is in hospital - Keep an asynchronous chat open through the day
- Send update alerts or questions to pet parent
- Send pet pictures to pet parent
- Let the pet parent know when appointment is completed
- Provides a way for the pet parent to ask questions without a phone call or waiting until the end of day
Once patient drop-off appointment is complete
- Notify pet parent of pickup window
- Send or upload discharge instructions and medical notes for pet parent (can be sent in the same open asynchronous chat session)
- Send or upload invoice
- Allow pet parent to pay within app
- Send link to other online payment platform
Gathering information for triage and history can also occur by sending a link to a pre populated google form or jotform (“Drop-Off Request”) sent in app through the open chat, where the pet parent fills out all specific info related to drop off.
The pet parent can select a drop off time, describe the issue, enter contact info, payment info, and sign consent forms. Once completed, the hospital will be alerted to the drop-off and can further communicate with the pet parent through the app if needed.
By utilizing digital communication for drop-offs, you can free up phone lines, vet staff time, and allow the pet parent to provide vital information free of distraction and noise from their pet and the animal hospital.
That information is then all recorded, recommendations are transparent to all team members, interactions are transferred to the medical record if the practice management system is integrated, and easily available for the pet parent to refer back to as needed.
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