Video consulting is a brand new service that has never been offered by the majority of vets in the UK. As a profession we have fallen into the habit of casual, free telephone advice being commonplace. Video consultations (especially when using a veterinary specific service like VetHelpDirect) are a way to formalise the provision of telemedicine and reduce the unstructured and unpaid time vets spend dealing with telephone calls during normal working days.
Clients like convenience! Video calls allow a consultation/triage to be performed without the stress and hassle of a vet visit. The vet/nurse can actually see the patient during a video call and may be able to direct some basic clinical examination with the help of the owner, which allows for increased clinical information to be collected while helping the owner to feel more involved in their pet's care. This is particularly helpful when wounds/growths/skin conditions/lameness/breathing changes are present, and also helps to reduce the administration time involved in following phone calls with clients sending photos/videos for the vet to see then getting back to the client. Equally, the pet’s home environment and behaviour can be assessed (to an extent) on a video call. This increased clinical information may help vets to feel more comfortable with making recommendations, compared to simply talking about it on the phone.
Face to face interaction, especially with familiar vets, is also very reassuring to clients and allows for more personality/emotion to show through compared to telephone calls. Video allows vets to make the most of body language and facial expression to enhance the effectiveness of communication and portrayal of understanding/empathy. Your clients are likely to perceive much more value in a video consultation than in a telephone conversation.