A new app designed to provide round the clock, rapid and reliable access to specialist support for vets in practice is being launched by VetCT at BSAVA on 25th March. The app aims to bridge the existing gap for those clinical cases where specialist input is desired, but for which full referral may not be ideal or possible.
The new app provides a quick, efficient way for vets to send relevant case information (history, results, videos, photos) to Diploma-holding specialists across the entire range of specialties, direct from their mobile phone. They can then choose a flexible range of options, from instant call-back or text chat, to a written report or arranging a virtual appointment. VetCT has been operating a global teleradiology business since 2009, and is building on their existing service supporting all parts of the veterinary ecosystem including students, vets in practice, vets in specialist training, and fellow veterinary specialists.
Victoria Johnson, co-Director, says, “Our mission is to help every vet be the best and feel their best every day. Behind the app we have a committed team of over 50 employed specialists, plus 100 radiologists and a full customer support team ready to respond to enquiries. All our specialists also work in clinical roles and previously have worked in first opinion practice, and we have so much respect for the challenges our general practitioner colleagues face. We want to make their lives that little bit easier, supporting them – with empathy – in giving the best care to complex cases where referral may not be an option. We also want to provide pet owners with access to specialist care for their pets, where cost or travel may preclude them from seeing a specialist at a referral centre.”
The standard service includes an annual practice membership fee of £200 (reduced for locum vets), and a fee of £80+VAT per specialist consultation of up to 20 minutes. Practices can then charge this fee on to their clients. Alternatively, credits may be used to access the service free of charge. Each practice will be awarded credits for using the service, with VetCT also gifting additional credits to help support vets who may benefit from a helping hand, such as those returning from extended leave, moving to different species areas, or new graduates. In addition, time on the app is automatically logged as CPD with quarterly certificates being generated for users. Additional services include the ability to book bespoke CPD, significant event reviews and live training sessions e.g. for procedures such as bone-marrow biopsy.
The company conducted surveys showing vets spend on average almost 10 hours a week seeking advice on cases, including further reading, internet searches, time on veterinary forums, telephone calls and emails. In addition, specialists spend an average of five hours per week giving free advice, either by email or phone. This equates to huge losses in both time and potential lost revenue at both ends of the line. The app aims to increase the efficiency and predictability of vet-to-specialist interactions, but also provide a source of revenue reflecting the true value of vet and specialist time spent on these cases.
The service is designed to complement existing specialist services. Victoria says, “We recognise the vital importance of physical referrals, and this service in no way replaces that. Indeed, we have started to see evidence that using the app will lead to more patients getting physically referred for the right reasons, at the right time, with the right information. However, we also know that many vets and specialists are under huge time pressure. Many specialists felt they were unable to do a good job of dealing with advice queries alongside their busy day job – much as they wanted to help. We hope this app relieves the pressure for both parties, provides fast, exceptional and supportive specialist advice, and increases the number of pets and owners who can benefit from specialist input.”
The app is downloadable for both iOS and Android systems, with pre-registration available prior to the launch on 25th March. Practices and individuals who would like to discuss rates and credit options, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.