The world we live in is changing. Now, consumers can order virtually anything online and have it delivered in a matter of hours. Too sick or otherwise inhibited and can’t leave the house? Never fear, you can even consult with a doctor online now. Prescriptions can be delivered to residences. Restaurants are shifting to partner with companies such as Uber Eats or Postmates in an effort to cater to the “never leave the house” generation.
Can veterinary medicine successfully make this transition as well? Leading technology company Televet certainly thinks so — and so do several heavy hitting investors, who gave the virtual vet care brand an injection of $2 million in seed funding at the beginning of 2020.
What does Televet offer? Virtual consultations and options for busy veterinarians looking for a new way to serve their clientele. In an age in which veterinarians are suffering from burnout, depression, and compassion fatigue, finding a solution that encourages more balance is vital. Combine the current state of mental health with the drastic increase in pet ownership and a consumer desire for convenience and non-existant wait times and there is a potential for a terribly perfect storm. But not if Televet can help it.
The software company has set a goal of partnering with some 30,000 veterinary practices and connecting with over 160 million pet owners using commonly useful technology such as texting and video chatting. Take the example of the success of companies such as Talkspace, which offers mental health services remotely.
Not only do these types of services allow for veterinarians to balance work and home life better, but they also enable practices to see more clients without increasing the in-office overhead. TeleVet has stated that its usage of the new funding is mostly growth-based, focused on expanding teams, sales, and product development.
Remote Pet Care Can’t Replace You
Is this a harbinger of what’s to come in the veterinary industry? Perhaps. The support TeleVet received from investors is an indicator of confidence — though it’s safe to say that not every company that receives seed funding goes on to be wildly successful. However, it doesn’t take more than a cursory look around the consumer world and understand that embracing technological advances and offering top quality service in a convenient setting is the way of the future.
Of course, there are other considerations to factor in when integrating more technology such as remote consultations and care. For one, veterinarians often need to be able to physically palpate a patient in order to properly diagnose an issue. For another, administering medications or other procedures is not only impossible remotely, but also potentially unsafe should a pet owner attempt to do something they are not properly trained for. While companies such as TeleVet do not profess to be a replacement for veterinary care, the reality remains that many office visits may prove to be unnecessary and a remote consultation may be a viable solution for many of these instances.
Should every veterinary practice jump aboard the remote care wagon? Not necessarily — though it’s important that you keep an eye on the current state of affairs surrounding this relatively unknown area of veterinary medicine. There are many factors to consider:
- Can your staff be properly trained on another new platform?
- Do you have the manpower to support additional calls that are done remotely?
- Do you have the clientele that necessitates remote care?
- Does the potential return on investment make sense when considering the added cost of using a service such as TeleVet?
These are just some starting points to consider. Remote veterinary care may not be viable for every practice, but it may be worth exploring if your market demands it.
Stay Ahead of Trends
Only time will tell if TeleVet can turn its millions into multi-millions through further product development and distribution. But if nothing else, this funding is a sign that technology is going to be a more closely integrated part of client care. Every practice, big or small, should be aware of these trends and be thinking of how technology can best be used to improve existing services. Expect competition to increase as these options become more readily available. Are you prepared?