The Experts in Animal Health

The Michigan House is considering a bill to codify the ability for veterinarians to conduct telehealth exams without prior in-person visits. Currently, these are allowed there only in emergencies or when the patient is a shelter pet. While some cite the convenience offered, others, including the MVMA, oppose the proposal. Their argument relates to upholding a doctor-patient relationship. Though a vigilant pet parent may be finely attuned, the pets do not talk.

Some may recall that the State of Colorado once considered legislation equating pets to members of the household, such as children. That, too, was opposed locally due to concerns over potentially skyrocketing legal cases and fees.

Brakke Consulting conducted an in-depth review of telemedicine in the veterinary industry and could not find that the practice has gained any traction. Undoubtedly, the service is widely available and touted, but apparently not popular with veterinarians. In fact, uptake was found to be nearly negligible.

Still,  research with pet owners has found that they find the concept quite appealing: a 2020 survey found that nearly half would like their veterinary practice to offer digital/remote consultations

What do you think? Is this an idea whose time has come? Does convenience trump veterinary familiarity?

Jeff Santosuosso

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