A NEW ‘televeterinary’ service set to launch in Ireland this March will be delivered remotely from Kildare and provide online consultations for animal owners.
VideoVet – led by CEO of telemedicine firm VideoDoc Mary O’Brien – has been described as a collaboration between technology providers in Sandyford and veterinary personnel at Kildare Vet Surgery in Kildare town.
According to veterinary director Des Groome, who runs Kildare Vet Surgery and has a broad and varied background in the industry, he was approached by Ms O’Brien about adapting VideoDoc’s technology for the veterinary sector.
VideoVet will provide advice on every aspect of animal health, behaviour, nutrition and management, particularly to pet owners. One-off consultations will be provided for a fee of €20 while an annual membership of €55 will also be available for non-emergency consultations. A visit to a clinic can be arranged if necessary.
VideoVet’s initial focus will be on the Irish market, but will also look at entering the UK during 2019. One job has already been created in Kildare and ten new positions are predicted in the next two years between veterinary and technology roles, while Mr Groome explained that he will be devoting part of every working day throughout 2019 to ensure high standards are met and that the services is reaching as many people as possible. He noted that VideoVet will be resourced from Kildare to begin with on the veterinary side, but hopes that in time a network of partner practices would be formed.
“The VideoDoc team are bringing their software and their technology expertise into it and here at Kildare Vet Surgery we’re providing the clinical and veterinary expertise,” he explained.
VideoVet’s advantages include instant access to qualified advice from vets at a reduced cost and without having to travel; removing the need for an appointment; and availability after hours (seven days a week between 8am and 10pm).
Mr Groome also spoke about the importance of making trustworthy information available online for a generation of people who have become accustomed to turning to the internet as their first port of call.
“I’m seeing it now with customers coming into me who are of that generation that are completely IT-savvy,” he said. “Their first port of call for information is the internet, so I think it’s important that the information that they access on the internet is trustworthy and that it’s put there by the right people.”
Televeterinary could also ease the burden on vets in some parts of the country in the face of recent measures introduced to reduce antibiotic usage levels on Irish farms and increase on-farm vet visits and vigilance. With the correct measures around GDPR, record-keeping and other key considerations in place, Mr Groome believes, VideoVet could offer an innovative solution.
Exciting times are undoubtedly ahead.
“I’ve always prided myself on having an eye to the future,” he said regarding VideoVet. “This is a scenario where the world is moving in that direction. I’d like to see the veterinary sector move with it, so that we can respond to the changing trends in the way people live and in the way they access information.”