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Small animal general practice veterinarians' use and perceptions of synchronous video-based telemedicine in North America during the COVID-19 pandemic

Greg T. Bishop DVM1, Mark Rishniw BVSC, PhD2, and Lori R. Kogan PhD3
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  • 1 Bishop Veterinary Services LLC, Portland, OR 97211.
  • | 2 Veterinary Information Network, Davis, CA 95676.
  • | 3 Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess small animal general practice veterinarians' use and perceptions of synchronous video-based telemedicine before and during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

SAMPLE

550 respondent veterinarian members of the Veterinary Information Network (VIN).

PROCEDURES

An anonymous online survey was used to gather data from VIN-member veterinarians in small animal general practice regarding their perceptions and use of synchronous video-based telemedicine. Two emails to all VIN members were used to distribute the web-based questionnaire. For consistency, only responses from North American veterinarians who reported working in small animal general practice were included in analyses. Responses were collected between September 28, 2020, and October 21, 2020.

RESULTS

There were 69,488 recipients and 680 respondents (1.0% response rate), 550 of whom had North American internet protocol addresses and reported working in small animal general practice. Not all respondents answered all questions. Use of video-based telemedicine substantially increased among respondents during the COVID-19 pandemic, and most (86/130 [66.2%]) reported little to no difficulty in adopting videoconferencing. Respondents also reported that telemedicine took less time (61/135 [45.2%]) and resulted in less financial compensation (103/135 [76.3%]) than in-person consultation. Several respondents reported concerns regarding legal issues and potential inferiorities of telemedicine.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Our results indicated that a substantial proportion of respondents incorporated synchronous video-based telemedicine into their practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite low perceived difficulty in adopting videoconferencing telemedicine, many planned to discontinue it for some clinical applications once the pandemic is over. Further research is required to elucidate the perceptions and challenges in successful use of veterinary telemedicine.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess small animal general practice veterinarians' use and perceptions of synchronous video-based telemedicine before and during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

SAMPLE

550 respondent veterinarian members of the Veterinary Information Network (VIN).

PROCEDURES

An anonymous online survey was used to gather data from VIN-member veterinarians in small animal general practice regarding their perceptions and use of synchronous video-based telemedicine. Two emails to all VIN members were used to distribute the web-based questionnaire. For consistency, only responses from North American veterinarians who reported working in small animal general practice were included in analyses. Responses were collected between September 28, 2020, and October 21, 2020.

RESULTS

There were 69,488 recipients and 680 respondents (1.0% response rate), 550 of whom had North American internet protocol addresses and reported working in small animal general practice. Not all respondents answered all questions. Use of video-based telemedicine substantially increased among respondents during the COVID-19 pandemic, and most (86/130 [66.2%]) reported little to no difficulty in adopting videoconferencing. Respondents also reported that telemedicine took less time (61/135 [45.2%]) and resulted in less financial compensation (103/135 [76.3%]) than in-person consultation. Several respondents reported concerns regarding legal issues and potential inferiorities of telemedicine.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Our results indicated that a substantial proportion of respondents incorporated synchronous video-based telemedicine into their practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite low perceived difficulty in adopting videoconferencing telemedicine, many planned to discontinue it for some clinical applications once the pandemic is over. Further research is required to elucidate the perceptions and challenges in successful use of veterinary telemedicine.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Appendix S1 (PDF 223 KB)

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Bishop (gtbishop@ucdavis.edu).