Telemedicine Workstream

The COVID-19 pandemic sped up the way telemedicine was used across the veterinary profession. With lockdown restrictions now over, Vet Futures is in the process of setting up a group to discuss the opportunities and challenges this technology brings.

This group is led by Veterinary Council of New Zealand CEO and Registrar Iain McLachlan who says it is important the profession develops a coordinated response if it decides to make telemedicine a permanent fixture in veterinary practise.

“During the COVID-19 lockdowns, the rules were relaxed slightly so that it could be used throughout the country,” he says. “Now these restrictions have eased, it’s time to take a closer look at this technology and discuss the finer details.”

At the COVID level red setting, it was decided that people who were at home in isolation, could access Telemedicine services with guidance. However, this treatment option could only be sought if the medical team treating the animal had seen and heard the animal recently.

“Telemedicine has been a controversial issue, but I know there are a lot of vets interested in this space,” Iain says. “It’s all dependent on what it’s being used for. For instance, some vets may use it to triage patients and provide after hours care.”

Iain says that in some areas, the technology needs improvements before it is rolled out and there are still some questions that need to be addressed. For this reason, he wants to include the Veterinary Professional Insurance Society (VPIS), independent insurers, and several practising veterinarians in future discussions.

If you have a specific interest in telemedicine and would like to be considered for this working group, please contact Iain by emailing [email protected]