Responding to COVID-19 together

As the world continues to struggle through this global pandemic, our thoughts are with the people affected and the veterinary professionals working to help those in need. It is clear that we all must figure out ways to keep safe yet press on as best we can. Our team continues to provide technical support and solutions to help our clients through these tough times. One of those ways is to offer ideas as to how best to utilize available technology alongside VIA to allow hospitals to continue to provide excellent veterinary care. As this difficult situation is ever evolving, so too are the methods. Please read a few ideas we’ve found to be successful.

Working from home

As we know, the current response to the global pandemic suggests that everyone work from home. If you are unable to get to your facility, one solution is to create a workstation to workstation connection from your home computer to a workstation in the clinic. If you do not already have a dedicated remote access connection already set up to VIA, or it is not available to you, a relatively simple connection can be made using the free Google Chrome Remote Desktop Application which can be installed on a Mac as well as Windows. Just search for it, download, and follow the instructions.

For additional guidance see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aDS3RoAXIY

Google Chrome RDA is not a long term solution for remote access. For permanent use it is recommended to have a dedicated VPN connection or you may benefit by migrating to our VIA cloud services.

Telemedicine

Telemedicine involves sharing medical information in order to improve patient health. It incorporates phone calls, emails, texting, and video conferencing with clients. Generally speaking, in order to provide telemedicine there must be an existing veterinary-client-patient relationship (VCPR) in place. Otherwise your state and local licensing laws will govern.

Please see AVMA’s guidance regarding veterinary telemedicine:  https://www.avma.org/policies/telemedicine

You may want to initiate and have your clients authorize a simple telemedicine consent form. We have created an integrated VIA consent form based on AVMA’s guidelines. To add this form to your VIA database please email technical support at [email protected]

Video conferencing

Technology can play a vital role in reducing the impact of COVID-19 and allow you to provide patient care even when you are not there physically. Video conferencing is a great way for a veterinarian to connect with a client and patient, and most of these tools are free to use. A video conferencing service running side by side with VIA allows for a visual inspection of the patient on your screen while quickly entering medical notes in VIA. Some of the leading services that we recommend are:

  • Skype
  • Google Hangouts
  • Amazon Chime

Please visit these sites to learn more as well as YouTube to find training information on each.

You may have to choose a paid subscription in order to activate enhanced functionality such as recording your video conference, depending on the company you are using. Once saved, the recording can easily be attached to the patient record in VIA.

An ideal set-up for video conferencing may be to attach a second monitor to a tablet or laptop in order to expand your working space. Then each monitor can be used for a different program; one for VIA and one for the video conference.

If your laptop does not have an HDMI port to drive a second screen, you could alternatively use a USB monitor, which only requires a single USB-C 3.0 port for both power and data such as this:  https://www.amazon.com/AOC-i1601fwux-Extremely-Portable-1920×1080/dp/B06Y8SSQG5/

In cases where two monitors aren’t available you can simply minimize and use the Microsoft ‘snap’ tool to split your screen (see https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/help/4027324/windows-10-snap-your-windows) and then run your video conference and VIA side by side.

As you can see, video conferencing may enable patient care ranging from basic examinations to more advanced triage. In cases where consent forms need to be reviewed and accepted, use VIA’s built-in email tools to send the documents.

Accepting payments remotely

Hospitals who are using VIA’s integrated credit card and payment processing can simply hit the ‘Process’ button in VIA from the payment screen.  Then you can take the credit card payment over the phone and instantly process the charges from within VIA.

If you are not already integrated with our partners at Open Edge, please reach out to them at either [email protected] or call 800-774-6462 option #1 for Sales.

Hospital based examinations

In most cases, shelter in place or stay at home orders allow for visits to the grocery store, pharmacy, and doctors office for you, your family members, and pets. PLEASE ADHERE TO YOUR LOCAL LAWS but when they allow, you may be able to receive and treat patients in person.

In these circumstances you may want to provide curb-side check in and pick up for patients. Procedures would entail that you meet your clients as they wait in the car and receive the patients and take them inside the clinic. Once inside, provide patient care as normal and connect with the clients via teleconference or video conference with the same ideas as mentioned above.

Our team is here for you

The staff at VIA is here for you, especially during these trying times. We continue to develop new functionality to better serve you and your patients. We have recently developed a new, integrated SMS client texting module. It is currently in testing and will be coming soon, allowing automatic texting of reminders and appointment confirmations as well as your general client messages texted straight from VIA, capturing every message to your records. In addition, we are investigating more ways to enhance VIA for use with telemedicine and limited access environments.

We appreciate your feedback in areas that can help you and welcome you to reach out to us with your ideas. Also, be sure to check back on this page for updated tips and news as we navigate this difficult period together.