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VetCT says the app, which offers round the clock, rapid access to specialist support, aims to bridge the existing gap for those clinical cases where specialist input is desired, but for which full referral may not be ideal or possible.
It is also hoped that the new service will reduce the amount of time that GPs currently have to spend seeking further clinical advice, currently estimated at 10 hours per week, and reduce the amount of advice that Specialists currently give for free, estimated at 5 hours per week.
Using the app, GPs can send all the relevant information for the consultation, including the history, test results, videos and photos to Diploma-holding specialists across the entire range of specialties, direct from their mobile phone.
They can then choose whether to get an immediate call-back or text chat, a written report or a virtual appointment.
Victoria Johnson, co-Director, said: “Our mission is to help every vet be the best and feel their best every day. Behind the app we have a committed team of over 50 employed specialists, plus 100 radiologists and a full customer support team ready to respond to enquiries.
"All our specialists also work in clinical roles and previously have worked in first opinion practice, and we have so much respect for the challenges our general practitioner colleagues face.
"We want to make their lives that little bit easier, supporting them – with empathy – in giving the best care to complex cases where referral may not be an option.
"We also want to provide pet owners with access to specialist care for their pets, where cost or travel may preclude them from seeing a specialist at a referral centre.”
In addition to the consultation fee, there's an annual practice membership fee of £200 which is reduced for locum vets. VetCT says practices may choose to charge fees on to clients, or some practices may decide to absorb the costs for the support value it offers their clinicians.
VetCT says it will also gifting additional credits to help support vets who may benefit from a helping hand, such as those returning from extended leave, moving to different species areas, or new graduates.
The service is designed to complement existing specialist services. Victoria added: “We recognise the vital importance of physical referrals, and this service in no way replaces that. Indeed, we have started to see evidence that using the app will lead to more patients getting physically referred for the right reasons, at the right time, with the right information.
"However, we also know that many vets and specialists are under huge time pressure. Many specialists felt they were unable to do a good job of dealing with advice queries alongside their busy day job – much as they wanted to help. We hope this app relieves the pressure for both parties, provides fast, exceptional and supportive specialist advice, and increases the number of pets and owners who can benefit from specialist input."
The new app, which will be available for both IOS and Android, will launch at BSAVA Congress 2021, with pre-registration available prior to the launch on 25th March.
To discuss rates and credit options, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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