|Telemedicine is rapidly becoming one of the most contentious topics in the veterinary community today. Although e-commerce is an increasingly common platform for many of today’s industries, virtual business in the medical field has technological, regulatory, and quality of care implications. What impact does virtual medical consultation have on the sustainability of traditional veterinary practice, the quality of veterinary care, and the nature of the veterinary experience? Can we trust that the pet owner is able to weigh convenience and price against the value of a long-term relationship between pet and veterinarian? How do we ensure that new, technologically savvy methods of practice follow the same evidence-based path required for high quality medicine? And what do we need to ask of our industry, our peers, and our regulators to maintain the public trust and appreciation necessary for a sustainable industry?
This workshop will begin with a 20 minute overview of the current state of veterinary telemedicine. Small groups will rotate through discussion of key aspects of virtual communication that impact the veterinary-client-patient relationship, concluding with a teach-back session of opinions and plans. Participants attending this session should consider future involvement in the formation of a working-group focused on the impact of virtual medicine on veterinary practice. This group will be open to contributing to an evolving position statement on how to responsibly integrate virtual medical communication within veterinary practice. Ideally, this position statement could be used as a starting point for academic institutions and regulatory bodies looking for perspective on veterinary telemedicine from communication centric practitioners.