3 Real-World Tips to Make the Most of Telemedicine

By August 24, 2020July 5th, 2021No Comments

In a recent free webinar Telemedicine on the Frontlines, Barb Kauffman, Veterinary Practice Manager for the Animal Hospital of Factoria in Bellevue, WA, shared real-world insights into how her busy three-doctor practice implemented Petriage, the complete telehealth solution, to strengthen client relationships, improve patient outcomes, and increase practice profits by 25%.
If you haven’t watched the webinar, here are some excerpts with important takeaways for practices to make the most of telemedicine, prefaced by Kauffman’s views on two common misconceptions that often prevent practices from implementing telemedicine.


Misconception #1: Telemedicine Will Negatively Impact Work-Life Balance

“I think there is this overall common misconception,” says Kauffman, “that ‘Oh gosh. If I implement telemedicine, I’ll have to be on call 24/7 and I already don’t maintain a great work-life balance’.” Kauffman found that by implementing Petriage, “the opposite” was true for her team, adding, “Petriage is so customizable, we get to decide if or when we want to address things.”

Misconception #2: Telemedicine Means You Must Diagnose Things Virtually

While Kauffman acknowledges that diagnosing virtually is possible “if you feel comfortable with that” and allowing for provincial or state veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR), she says that’s not how they use Petriage at her practice. Says Kauffman, “We really don’t use it to diagnose things over the computer. It is just another form by which we stay engaged with our clients.”
Kauffman cites three reasons why her team chose Petriage:

1. Meeting Client Expectations

“We decided several years ago,” says Kauffman, “that we were exploring telemedicine because we really needed a way to stay relevant and engage our clients by adapting to the expectations surrounding technology in today’s world. We also realized that we needed to shift the paradigm from making profits off medication to making profits off services, and we saw telemedicine as the perfect way to do this.”

2. Increased Practice Efficiency

“Everyone in our field knows that we’re never just doing one thing at a time, “says Kauffman. “We’re pulled in a million different directions at any given point, and communication via Petriage with our clients really allows us to be so much more efficient.” Providing an example by saying “We’re no longer tied to a phone line for whatever duration of time [a pet owner] decides to be chatty,” Kauffman says that Petriage’s asynchronous capability “allows us to answer them on our terms and on our timeline when it’s convenient for us.”

3. Billing Flexibility

Kauffman enjoys the fact that, with Petriage, practice teams can “decide the way in which you want to structure for charging for your time,” adding that, “if something isn’t working, you can change it.” Kauffman and her team experimented with charging per e-consult, and explored a subscription model, where clients paid an annual fee if they wanted to access the Petriage platform for one year. Yet to remove any barriers for clients, Kauffman and her team eventually decided to “roll this service into the cost of our annual exams. So, we increased the price of our annual exams, and we made this one of the features that our clients have access to as long as their pet is current.”

One of the Most Important Aspects of Implementing Telemedicine

In her experience, Kauffman says that “one of the most important aspects of implementing telemedicine is making sure that your staff has buy-in, that they understand how this is not only going to benefit the client and the pet and the pet’s outcome but it’s also going to benefit them and make their job easier.”
In terms of getting clients on board with Petriage, Kauffman says, “Any time that we checked in an appointment for any various reason, we would have the person checking in that appointment and our team members talk to the client about Petriage after taking their initial history.” Acknowledging that not all practice team members may be comfortable talking about Petriage with clients, Kauffman says, “It’s important that your team members find their own rhythm, their own cadence when discussing the platform with clients, since you absolutely want it to come across genuine.”

Bonus Tip to Increase Client Engagement

To further engage clients on Petriage, Kauffman stresses the importance of team members having a personalized photo of themselves on their Petriage profile. “This really helps to drive home to your client,” says Kauffman, “that they are talking to their pet’s veterinary team—the team that they chose to trust their pet’s medical care. This builds that client-patient relationship, which we all know is the foundation of not only providing great care but also generating revenue.”
Kauffman also recommends assigning specific team members on a rotating basis to monitor the Petriage platform each day. “They’re the point person to make sure that clients are being responded to and that their concerns are being addressed. This is the way that we do it to ensure that things don’t fall through the cracks.”

Start Telemedicine for Free

If you’re ready to strengthen client relationships, improve patient outcomes, and increase practice revenue, there’s never been a better time to try Petriage.
Until Sept. 30th, 2020, we’re offering the best-in-class Petriage telehealth solution *free for 2 months with no commitment. That’s a savings of $598 USD for 2 months.
*Some conditions apply.
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