Your practice may not need to do video consultations right now (with the COVID-19 pandemic maybe you do!) . However, in the near- future there will be a generational shift in pet ownership. The indicators are that future pet owners will be seeking convenience and lower cost access to pet services. Medechat provides a reliable platform to offer this to your existing clients. On-line veterinary services are already working with insurance companies to reduce in-clinic visits to the pet insurance company subscribers. Medechat helps combat poaching of your clients to these services. It promotes consultation with your own vets and drives in-clinic visits to your practice, not practices affiliated with other on-line video chat services. Most importantly Medechat helps promote better mental health for employed vets by allowing a flexible working roster and improving their salary (depending on the agreement with their employer).
The video chat service provided by Medechat is branded to your vet clinic so it will appear like your own individual service. Pet owners will see Medechat branding because they may have multiple vet surgeries / emergency centres / specialist services that they utilise to share their pet's data.
The pet owner can login to Medechat directly via the platform website, the Medechat public website or via their vet surgery website widget to book on-line. Alternatively they can call the surgery directly for the practice manager to book an appointment for them or book on-line via the surgery's on-line booking service.
Medechat is a cloud based platform which can be accessed by any device that has internet connection. The quality of the video consultation will be determined by the screen definition of your devices and the internet connection speed that the vet and pet owner are using. If using a desk top or laptop computer you will need a camera and microphone. Phones and tablet devices will need to allow Medechat access to the camera and microphone.
If the video or microphone connection drops out there is a chat box facility to allow text messaging during the consultation. You and the pet owner can re-enter the consultation multiple times if required until the appointment end time has passed without incurring extra charges or resetting the timer on the consultation.
A pet owner can apply for registration via the Medechat or VetCheck 24/7 website or via your own practice website. If registering from your own practice website the pet owner will automatically be linked to your practice as the default practice.
Since the pet owner needs to pre-register with the vet practice, all details required to be a bonafide patient and client will have been already gathered and the pet will most likely have been seen recently in-clinic by the vets at the practice. Recent veterinary board updates have allowed telemedicine consultations to be considered diagnostic if there is limited option for physical examination with the COVID-19 pandemic and the practitioner feels they have adequate information to make a diagnosis and prescribe medication. Medication prescriptions can be created through Medechat but all States of Australia still require a handwritten script within a few days of an online order. The limitations of telemedicine must be outlined to the pet owner (included in the Medechat terms and conditions) and if necessary a physical examination must be recommended if an accurate diagnosis can not be made via video consultation. Medechat adheres to all Australian State Vet Board and AVA policy guidelines as well as meeting the requirements of all Veterinary Licences / Registrations regarding Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationships worldwide (Vet-Owner-Patient relationship in Victoria). The 24/7 teleheath / teletriage service provided by VetCheck 24/7 does not allow prescriptions to be written through Medechat as there are no pre-existing relationships to validate the VCPR / VOP. VetCheck 24/7 is a teletriage service only. The VetCheck 24/7 vets do not make a diagnosis or prescribe medication but give general veterinary advice.
Absolutely! It is an important point of difference of Medechat from other video consultation platform providers that none of your pet owner’s details will be used or sold without their express permission via promotions that they need to subscribe to. This is one of the main reasons that patient history integration with the PMS is at a distance, controlled by the vet clinic admin so there can be no drilling into information or databases by external or internal sources. Your practice owns all the data of your patients within your Medechat account, however a pet owner may be affiliated with multiple vet practices via Medechat.
Absolutely. There is an initial set up fee but the ongoing subscription fee is payable month by month. You can cancel at anytime. There are no cancellation fees or refunds but if you decide to use Medechat again in the future then you will need to pay another initial set up fee when it is reactivated. There may also be some costs if you would like the Medechat widget removed from your website or social media pages by Medechat.
Medechat is a business of VetCheck P/L. The company was founded by Dr Moss Siddle BVSc and his wife (Christine). It is not a multi-national corporate organisation and does not have any commercial interests in any other industries. VetCheck P/L has also produced a (free) pet health care app (VetCheck). Dr Moss also owns a veterinary clinic in Victoria, Australia.
Dr Moss was very concerned about the rate of vets leaving the profession and the dissatisfaction regarding pay and lifestyle. He set about developing a way to improve the lifestyle and income of vets in line with what pet owners have indicated that they want (convenience, less stress for their pets and lower cost access to veterinary services). (*Based on 2016 AMA study and Bayer 2011 Vet Usage Survey). The ability to work from anywhere and still generate income for the practice is an attractive feature of Medechat.
Marketing is a complicated client acquisition tool. Investment in on-line marketing and direct or indirect advertising may or may not produce results for the clinic. Medechat generates income directly for the practice. This is in addition to in-clinic consultation income, not in place of it. Targeted e-mail newsletters, social media ads, etc still have a place in reinforcing your brand and attracting new clients but Medechat captures the generation of pet owners seeking convenience and trusted, lower cost advice.
Just the opposite. Medechat drives in-clinic visits by allowing lower cost first contact access to professional advice. In a lot of cases a follow up in-clinic examination may be required, or the pet owner may just be seeking general advice that may have normally been sought from the groomer, dog walker, trainer, breeder, etc. At present, during the COVID-19 pandemic a lot of practices (especially those in level 4 lock down) are charging full consultation fees (equal to in-clinic charge) for Medechat video consults and using it as a triage service to determine which cases need to be seen in-clinic. You can if you wish, choose to offset the cost if an in-clinic examination is then required.
Once a vet clinic has registered interest in hosting Medechat to provide video consultations, information about pricing will be sent. There is an initial once off set up fee to establish the Medechat widget on your clinic website / Instagram / FB page and provide training, support and marketing tools. There is an ongoing software access licence fee which includes all software updates, compliance, tech and admin support and marketing materials and advice to help make Medechat a success for your practice. Your practice may easily cover the monthly cost of Medechat with 1-2 video chats per week, not including the resulting in-clinic examinations, diagnostic work and medications. We also offer a premium subscription which includes access to prescriptions and our vets that are available 24 hours for triage / telehealth (using VetCheck 24/7).
Yes, Medechat has arrangements with various groups. Please contact Medechat for more information.
Using the in-built, secure platform is the most reliable way to ensure payment from the pet owner by credit card at the completion of the consultation. An account with the Medechat embedded payment platform (Stripe) will be required. The Medechat admin will help each practice set this up but it is simple to do through Medechat. Pet owners need to have a validated credit card to make an on-line appointment via Medechat.
Yes, any animal / herd can be examined via video or a farmer may want some time for a consultation about herd health or show the vet the in-paddock symptoms before a farm visit is scheduled.
Your own vets can take video calls if they wish (much safer than attending the surgery to see pets after-hours) or your pet owners can access the VetCheck 24/7 teletriage service automatically via the Medechat platform (extra charges apply for Medechat premium service). If the pet needs to be physically seen by a vet then your clients can be referred to an available after hours practice (of your vet practice's choice).
That depends on the vet practice and the type of video examination / consultation. A post-surgery check of sutures might be minimal charge, a behaviour consultation may be based on time (for example $4 / minute or a flat fee of $300-$500+). As a rough guide, for standard 15-20 minute video consultations Dr Moss suggests around 80-90% of the price of an in-clinic hands-on examination (for example most practices may charge $66-$90) but some practices are charging the full price of an in-clinic examination. If the consultation runs over time, a second consultation charge may be automatically billed (at the consulting vet's discretion). There is also a timer visible by the vet during the consultation which helps keep the vet on track with the appointment schedule. The consulting vet has the ability to choose a different type of consultation to charge if this is more appropriate.
It is up to each practice to decide this, but it is Dr Moss’ opinion that a special discounted price for follow up Medechat appointments that need to be seen in-clinic would be reasonable (charged at a revisit fee rate).
Often the out of pocket expense for a pet owner is slightly more than if they just visited the practice in the first instance, however the convenience for the pet owner is immense. Even if the pet owner does need to present their pet for further work up or examination a lot of the history is already discussed. Also, if a pet is coming in for a procedure then the owner can be prepared by having the pet fasted ready for sedation / anaesthesia and know what to expect at the visit.
Yes, there is a $5.95 (flat rate) commission payable to Medechat for each video consultation and $2.95 for each prescription issued.
Yes, you can. However, to be Vet Board compliant there needs to be a way of recording and documenting the consultation with full pet owner consent, as well as linkage of the consultation to the specific patient and client. Medechat securely adheres to these requirements, records the video consultations (& stores them securely to protect vet & pet owner information & privacy), clearly seeks the owners informed consent prior to consultation and permanently links the consulting vet to the video chat. Patient histories within Medechat use the standard, compliant SOAP / HEAP format to send back to the PMS for incorporation into the patient history. Tech and admin support are always available (during normal business hours) with Medechat. Use of free platforms like Skype, Facetime or Zoom for commercial purposes and to generate income may be a breach of their conditions of use.
Yes, the admin user at your clinic has full control over bookings and registration of clients.
Yes. Vets or nurse / technician users can be activated or deactivated at any time. Since there is no fee for each user, add as many as you like.
Only the vets wanting to perform video consultations through Medechat will need to be registered. It is not Vet Board compliant to perform a video consultation under another vet’s name. The video recordings will be linked to the specific vet that logs in to perform the video chat. There is no charge for multiple users / vets / nurses to use the platform so you can sign everybody up with no extra cost to use the platform.
Yes, however Medechat admin will need to perform this alteration and there will be additional charges if this occurs.
Yes, within Medechat anyone can be signed up as a user, however they will need to be assigned to a particular registered vet (possibly a practice owner vet) in their usual PMS that can take responsibility for the advice given if there was ever a Vet Board complaint. RCVS registered vet nurses based in the UK are able to do consultations under their own name.
Yes, of course. Video chats would be perfect to incorporate into wellness plans either at a discount, free of charge to pet owners included in the wellness plan subscription.
Medechat will be in contact to arrange suitable times for widget placement on your practice website / social media pages. Dates for training and a marketing plan for the practice will be arranged to ensure successful use of Medechat.
This depends on the size of your practice and how easy it is to access your practice website or social media sites for widget integration. Generally, a few days to weeks for complete integration / implementation and training on average may be expected.
Yes, the Medechat software access can be cancelled or deactivated at any time but no refunds are issued. If Medechat is not financially viable for your practice it would most likely be due to inadequate utilization or marketing of the service. Our marketing team will be able to help your practice to ensure Medechat is viable. There will be a fee to remove the software widget and code from your website or social media site/s if you require Medechat to do this.