BMC Veterinary Research (Dec 2019)

A survey of knowledge and use of telehealth among veterinarians

  • Kylie Watson,
  • Julia Wells,
  • Manoj Sharma,
  • Stanley Robertson,
  • John Dascanio,
  • Jason W. Johnson,
  • Robert E. Davis,
  • Vinayak K. Nahar

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 15, no. 1
pp. 1 – 8


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Abstract Background As usage of digital information and communication technologies continues to grow, the incorporation of telehealth and telemedicine has become a topic of interest in the veterinary industry. Veterinary telemedicine presents the opportunity to expand veterinary medicine by increasing access to healthcare services for clients and patients and improving medical quality. The objective of this study was to assess veterinarians’ knowledge and utilization of telehealth and telemedicine. Results Seventy-six veterinarians participated in the study and both qualitative and quantitative analyses were performed on the data collected. Several key themes emerged from the qualitative analysis of open-ended questions, including telecommunication, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM)-patient services, and remote interaction, among others. Through coding and qualitative analysis, researchers identified a lack of knowledge of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) definitions of telehealth and telemedicine. Specifically, a notable amount of participants were unaware of the distinction between the two practices per AVMA guidelines. Quantitative analyses revealed that the largest group of respondents reported sometimes utilizing telehealth and telemedicine in practice, with no distinct difference in utilization among the different age demographics of participants. Conclusions These observations indicate a need for interventions both in veterinary school and continuing education programs with the purpose of increasing both knowledge and utilization of telehealth and telemedicine among veterinarians. While these recommendations serve as a starting point, future studies are needed to further enhance the understanding of veterinary telehealth and telemedicine in practice.