Pricing Strategies for Veterinary Telehealth

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Veterinarians are often inundated with phone calls and messages that need to be returned. This often leads to a frustrating, inefficient game of phone tag and unheard voicemails between the doctor and the pet parent.

  • “Mr. X called and wants to know why Fluffy isn’t eating. Please call back.”
  • “Mrs. Y called and wants to know if she needs to change Fido’s medication because he is feeling better. Please call back.”
  • “Ms. Z called and wants to know if it is time to put Gracie down. Please call back.”
  • “Mr. A called and Lucky is vomiting again. Mr. A wants to know if they need to bring Lucky in again or if it can wait. Please call back.”

Once connected with the client, the phone conversation can take an unlimited amount of time putting the vet behind on appointments, or missing the oh so elusive “lunch break.” Not to mention these conversations are free of charge.


Utilizing Anipanion’s telehealth app allows clients to communicate through a chat feature or real-time video session minimizing phone tag and monetizing your communication.

Asynchronous chat allows communication to occur on your terms, while helping other patients and pet parents simultaneously. Real-time video sessions can be scheduled with a predetermined topic and time frame to help focus the conversation.

For instance,

  • Mr. X can text through the app to inquire about Fluffy.
  • Mrs. Y and Ms. Z can schedule real-time sessions to discuss chronic care or quality of life.
  • Mr. A can be triaged with a veterinary nurse utilizing Anipanion’s chat feature.

 

Telehealth in veterinary medicine not only benefits pet parents, patients, and vet staff, but is profitable! Adding a telehealth service to your practice through Anipanion will increase revenue while offering pet parents better accessibility, increasing quality of care, and saving time.

 

Here are some pricing strategies for telehealth integration:

 

Pay Per Session

With this pricing strategy, a flat fee is charged per each telehealth session. For instance, you may charge $15.00 for 1 chat session and $30.00 for 1 real-time video session.

 

Optional: If during the telehealth session, the pet is referred for in-hospital services, a percentage of the telehealth session cost can be applied to the exam fee. 

For instance, if during a real-time video session, you are concerned that the pet may be experiencing an emergency and needs to come in now, 50% of the video session cost can be applied to the exam fee. This strategy encourages pet owners to come in-person when needed as well as not be hesitant to use telehealth in the future.

The telehealth fee can be charged prior to the session or after. Anipanion shows the cost to the pet owner before each session. Most platforms, including Anipanion, charge after the session. At this time, discounts or upcharges can be applied at the doctor’s discretion.

Pros

  • Communication is monetized
  • Weeds out clients seeking free services
  • Forces clients to value doctor time
  • Provides pet parents a virtual option
  • Better accessibility to veterinary care

Cons

  • Clients may not accept the new telehealth platform due to added cost
  • May view vet hospital as “nickel and dime-ing” clientele
  • Can create friction and awkward interaction between client and vet staff when payment has to be collected.
  • Can create confusion if the client utilizes telehealth multiple times in 1 day or if the pet parent intentionally extends the session, so as not to pay for an additional chat or video.

Membership Model

In this pricing model, clients pay for a monthly or annual membership. This allows clients to have access to unlimited telehealth services for the duration of their membership.

Pros

  • Clients are used to membership payment models.
  • Clients often associate high value to memberships due to the unlimited access to service.
  • Vet staff does not have to worry about billing every time the client utilizes telehealth services, thus saving time and allows vet staff to focus on client interaction.
  • Clients are more accepting of shorter interactions knowing they can use the telehealth service as needed without accruing additional cost.
  • Client trust and satisfaction increases with better vet accessibility and added service.
  • Monetized client communication.
  • Clients tend to reach out sooner, meaning catching health issues faster resulting in better patient outcomes and often more sales or visits.

Cons

  • Clients may not want added cost for telehealth service.
  • Vet staff will need to track memberships and charge clients accordingly.

Free Trial

This is typically paired with the membership pricing strategy. Offer clients a 7 day or 30 day free trial period to use the telehealth service.

 

After the trial period has ended, the client can cancel the membership or the client is automatically charged for a monthly or annual membership.

Pros

  • This method is good for clients skeptical of telehealth.
  • Allows clients to experience unlimited telehealth with no upfront payment.

Cons

  • Pet parents may not like being charged at the end of the trial period if they do not cancel.
  • Clients may not want added cost for telehealth service.
  • Vet staff will need to track memberships and charge clients accordingly.

Built-in Cost

This pricing strategy incorporates the telehealth service into your existing fee structure. Since all clients are paying a small amount into the telehealth service, every client will have unlimited access to telehealth in your practice.

For example,

  • Add $5.00 dollars to your exam fee or,
  • Add a separate line item to every annual wellness visit such as “Anipanion Unlimited Telehealth Access $15.00”

Bundle annual wellness exams

Line items are zeroed out and only the total is shown. For example:

  • Annual Wellness Bundle $250.00
    • Exam 0.00
    • Vaccines 0.00
    • Heartworm test 0.00
    • Fecal 0.00
    • Nail Trim 0.00
    • Anipanion Unlimited Telehealth Access 0.00

Pros

  • Clients perceive this added service as free.
  • There is no vet staff time spent charging per telehealth session or keeping track of memberships.
  • Constant source of revenue.
  • Monetized communication.
  • Client trust and satisfaction increase with better vet accessibility and added service.
  • Minimal increased cost to client

Cons

  • There may be an overwhelming response to your telehealth services, which may require staff or scheduling changes.

 

Telehealth has been shown to increase patient quality of life, decrease ER visits, and improve patient survival. Use Anipanion to start your in hospital telehealth service and provide these benefits to your patients. Customize telehealth services offered and your pricing strategy to meet your hospital’s needs. Streamline client communication and increase revenue through Anipanion’s platform.

 

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