Members of the founding coalition include more than 30 veterinary associations and industrial companies.
A group of leading professional and industry organizations has formed the Coalition for Connected Veterinary Care with the goal of improving and expanding patient care through the wider use of telehealth in veterinary medicine. Announced at the 2022 American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the coalition will work together across the veterinary and animal health industries to improve and expand veterinary care through the use of technology, while enhancing the health and well-being of animals and the people who care for them, according to an organizational press release.
“The proper use of telehealth holds great potential to improve access to veterinary services, improve the medical care we provide to our patients, strengthen and support our relationships with our customers, and improve the efficiency of our veterinary healthcare teams and improve the services we provide,” Jose Arce, DVM, president of the AVMA, said in the release.
Use of telehealth, including telemedicine, increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, but adoption has slowed in both human and veterinary health care as face-to-face visits have resumed and many veterinary practices are not taking full advantage of available resources, Arce said. . He emphasized that before using telehealth, a personal vet-client-patient relationship (VCPR) should be established.
Scott Bormann, senior vice president of Merck Animal Health, a founding member of the coalition, noted that in-person surveys and customer relationships lead to healthier animals, more efficient staffing and support for continuity of patient care, coupled with telehealth services. “The tools, technology and resources delivered to veterinarians through telehealth support, promoting ongoing and regular patient care, are helping to reduce some of the mental stress placed on veterinarians due to the increased demand for services, and the time necessary for a patient to receive veterinary advice and care,” Bormann said in the press release.
“Veterinary telemedicine is most effective and safe—for patients, clients, and veterinarians/vet offices—when used to maintain a VCPR already established through a face-to-face exam,” said Link Welborn, DVM, DABVP, CEO of the Veterinary Study Groups, another founding member of the coalition, in the release. “We will be seeking coalition members to help develop and share resources that will support veterinarians in seamlessly integrating telehealth into their practices, while recognizing the importance of the VCPR.”
The goals and next steps of the coalition include:
- Creating awareness of the opportunities offered by telecare to improve patient care.
- Helping veterinarians explore and apply telecare tools that:
- Strengthen relationships between practices, clients and patients
- Improve continuity in patient care
- Fully deploy technology to advance healthcare
- Improve practice efficiency and support the wellbeing of veterinary teams.
- Build and provide practical training and resources for veterinarians and their teams across the profession that help them integrate a variety of telehealth services in ways that work for their practice.
- Advocate for regulatory measures that support the use of telecare while respecting the integrity of the vet-client-patient relationship and ensuring the safety of veterinary patients and the confidence of their owners in the quality of veterinary care.
In addition to the AVMA, Veterinary Study Groups, and Merck Animal Health, other founding coalition members include veterinary associations and industrial companies, as follows:
- Alaska Veterinary Medical Association
- American Association of Bird Pathologists
- American Association of Bovine Practitioners
- American Association of Equine Practitioners
- American Association of Pig Veterinarians
- American Heartworm Society
- Animal Health Institute
- Boehringer Ingelheim
- Florida Veterinary Medical Association
- Hawaii Veterinary Medical Association
- Independent Association of Veterinarians
- Iowa Veterinary Medical Association
- Michigan Veterinary Medical Association
- Midwest Veterinary Delivery
- Minnesota Veterinary Medical Association
- Missouri Veterinary Medical Association
- National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America
- National Veterinary Staff
- Nevada Veterinary Medical Association
- North Carolina Veterinary Medical Association
- North Dakota Veterinary Medical Association
- Oklahoma Veterinary Medical Association
- Association of Veterinarians in South Carolina
- Texas Veterinary Medical Association
- Vermont Veterinary Medical Association
- Virginia Veterinary Medical Association
- Washington State Veterinary Medical Association
Visit avma.org/connectedcare to learn more about the Coalition, its growing membership, and the resources available to veterinary professionals.
Veterinary groups launch new coalition to advance telehealth for patient care. news item. AVMA. July 30, 2022. Accessed July 31, 2022.