Veterinarians play an important role in the decision-making process of their clients. The clarity and content of veterinary communication can assist clients in making informed decisions, particularly about complex subjects such as diagnostic testing. The American Animal Hospital Association (2015) found that likelihood of compliance of pet owners with recommendations would increase if diagnostic testing enabled both the veterinarian and the owner to track their pet’s health overtime. Additionally, clients were interested in diagnostic testing for disease prevention and confirming that their pet was healthy.  

This research examines the extent to which veterinarians engage their clients in the decision-making process and the type of discussion that occurs about diagnostic test results and individual pet’s data trends (i.e. tracking diagnostic test results over time).  

Veterinarian-client-patient interactions will be captured through audio-video recordings of approximately 1000 companion animal veterinary appointments. Analysis of the videos will provide a description of the current communication practices used to discuss clinical data with clients, and a scoring method will determine the level of involvement of clients in the decision-making process.  

This research will provide a detailed description of current methods used to engage clients in medical decision-making and how veterinarians discuss clinical data with their clients. This will be used to develop evidence-based best practices to benefit veterinarians, clients and veterinary patients. Pilot testing has been completed and approximately half of the data collection is expected to be completed by March 2018, hence some preliminary results will be available at the time of the conference.  

JANKE, Natasha.1, COE, Jason B.1, BERNARDO, Theresa M.1, DEWEY, Cate E.1, and STONE, Elizabeth A2.
1. Department of Population Medicine, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada
2. Department of Clinical Studies, University of Guelph, Guelph, Canada