The future of veterinary practice


Forced to pivot because of COVID-19, the profession learned more lessons about telemedicine. The pandemic exposed clinics and clients to pet-only visits and could lead to the rebranding of relief work.

Curbside drop-off is not just a convenience that is occasionally offered but is becoming the standard of care for clinics.
It’s anything but business as usual in the veterinary profession. Over the past couple of months and likely for the next several months, practices have adapted to a world that looks very different. While each day brought surprises and challenges, there is a sense that practices have implemented protocols, adjusted hours and staffing, and begun offering new services such as telemedicine to continue to support clients and patients.

What is less clear are the long-term impacts that this period might have on the profession. Will the adjustments to how care is delivered transition to permanent behavior change? If so, what are the big and bold transformations that this will accelerate?

Here are three ideas of how this might look.

1. National VCPR and New Licensure Models

The role of the veterinarian-client-patient relationship has been of paramount focus during the COVID-19 pandemic as states and provinces evaluate how best to ensure the safety of patients while enabling new ways that veterinary services can be delivered. Historically, a lack of clarity and consistency around the VCPR has been a barrier to the widespread adoption of telemedicine.

In broad strokes, most states have not allowed a veterinarian-client-patient relationship to be formed for a new patient via telemedicine alone, but it’s far less clear in regard to existing clients and patients. What if the patient hasn’t been seen in more than 365 days or if the issue is entirely different? Or what if a client calls for a prescription refill but the veterinarian who saw the patient is unavailable and another veterinarian handles the interaction and prescription? The time requirements, condition requirements and other considerations tended to leave veterinarians unsure of where the “line” was.


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