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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To explore pet owners’ use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) during virtual veterinarian-client-patient consultations and to examine pet owners’ attitudes toward virtual consultations.

SAMPLE

714 pet owners.

METHODS

In an anonymous online survey distributed using snowball sampling, all participants were asked about utilization of ICTs, preferred method of interaction (face-to-face and 5 ICTs), opinion on virtual communication, and demographics. Sentiment toward virtual veterinarian consultations was measured for participants who had experienced a “virtual only” or “combination virtual and face-to-face” consultation in the previous 6 months using the Net Promoter Score. For these participants, multivariable logistic regression was used to explore factors associated with recommending virtual consultations.

RESULTS

92% (583/632) of participants resided in Ontario, Canada. Most (85.6% [611/714]) participants had experience using the telephone for veterinary care, while only 5.2% (37/714) had used live videoconferencing. Participants ranked face-to-face interactions as most preferred (P < .001), followed by telephone and then live videoconferencing. Participants were significantly (P < .001) less confident communicating during virtual consultations, particularly for building rapport. For participants experiencing a virtual consultation in the previous 6 months (n = 348), the overall Net Promoter Score was neutral at –1.43. Participants were divided about recommending virtual consultations, with 33.3% (116/348) being promoters and 34.8% (121/348) being detractors. Age of participant and comfort using videoconferencing were positively associated (P < .05) with recommending virtual consultations.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Although participating pet owners significantly preferred face-to-face consultations with veterinarians, many appear willing to consider virtual consultations. Further exploration of pet owners’ preferences and concerns around virtual care, including communication, is needed.

Free access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To explore veterinarians’ use of virtual veterinarian-client-patient consultations before and during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and examine veterinarians’ attitudes toward virtual consultations.

SAMPLE

135 companion animal veterinarians in Canada, the US, and Europe.

METHODS

An anonymous online survey was distributed to gather participating veterinarians’ use of information and communication technologies and their perception of virtual consultations’ effect on patient care, client communication, and their own well-being. Willingness to recommend virtual consultations was evaluated using the Net Promoter Score. Multivariable logistic regression explored factors associated with willingness to recommend virtual consultations.

RESULTS

Percentage of participating veterinarians using the telephone and videoconferencing increased significantly (P < .001) from before (83.6% and 3.0%, respectively) to during the COVID-19 pandemic (97.0% and 22.4%, respectively). Participants were significantly less confident (P < .001) about their ability to reach a diagnosis using a virtual consultation as compared to a hands-on patient examination. Participants perceived client communication to be more challenging during virtual as compared to face-to-face consultations, particularly for building rapport and expressing empathy. Participants were extremely unwilling to recommend virtual consultations (Net Promoter Score = –41.4) with 21.6% (24/111) promoters and 63.1% (70/111) detractors. Confidence doing a virtual patient examination and comfort using videoconferencing technology were both positively associated (P < .05) with willingness to recommend virtual consultations.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Veterinary practices and organizations interested in encouraging virtual veterinarian-client-patient consultations likely need to prioritize veterinarians’ acceptance as an initial focus. The veterinary profession would benefit from further research and education to inform virtual veterinary care.

Restricted access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

Abstract

Objective—To determine the role of veterinary team effectiveness regarding job satisfaction and burnout in companion animal veterinary practice.

Design—Cross-sectional observational study.

Sample—48 companion animal veterinary health-care teams.

Procedures—274 team members participated in an online survey. Overall job satisfaction was evaluated with a 1-item measure, and the 3 dimensions of burnout (exhaustion, cynicism, and professional efficacy) were measured with the Maslach Burnout Inventory-General Survey. Team effectiveness was assessed with a survey developed for this study. Demographic and team effectiveness factors (coordinated team environment, toxic team environment, team engagement, and individual engagement) associated with job satisfaction and burnout were evaluated.

Results—Overall mean job satisfaction score was 5.46 of 7 (median, 6.00); veterinary technicians and kennel attendants had the lowest scores. According to the Maslach survey results, 22.4% of participants were in the high-risk category for exhaustion, 23.2% were in the high-risk category for cynicism, and 9.3% were in the high-risk category for professional efficacy. A coordinated team environment was associated with increased professional efficacy and decreased cynicism. A toxic team environment was negatively associated with job satisfaction and positively associated with exhaustion and cynicism. Individual engagement was positively associated with job satisfaction and professional efficacy and negatively associated with exhaustion and cynicism.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggested the effectiveness of a veterinary team can significantly influence individual team members’ job satisfaction and burnout. Practices should pay specific attention to the effectiveness with which their veterinary team operates.

Full access
in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association