So how do we as doctors and as a profession combat the ease and affordability of the internet? Communication, as usual is the key. Here are some resources to consider:
1. Partners for Healthy Pets- the face of the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare™, a committee of the non-profit American Veterinary Medical Foundation that was created to ensure that pets receive the preventive healthcare they deserve through regular visits to a veterinarian. This alliance of more than 20 leading veterinary associations and animal health companies is committed to a vision of improved overall health for pets.
Our Goals: We are dedicated to helping veterinary professionals provide the best preventive healthcare by:http://www.partnersforhealthypets.org
2. Direct clients to some good websites/resources, before they start searching.
At their first visit hand them a resource list for reputable websites. Some of the ones I like include:
- http://www.veterinarypartner.com/- run by VIN with approved content this a great, free resource for clients
- Let clients know they can call with questions anytime for free. You may even consider setting up an email account that either a technician or trained client service representative runs and answers in 48 hours.
- http://www.njveterinaryblog.com/- is run by Ocean County Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey and has great articles on pet health care.
- Direct clients to your state VMA (veterinary medical association). Many of them have great client resources.
3. Encourage clients to purchase pet insurance and wellness plans. Studies have shown that clients that subscribe to these programs, see their veterinarian more often. By increasing office visits, we ensure their pets health and have time for communication.
4. The simplest answer is to warn clients. Help them understand that while the internet is a great resource, nothing can take the place of a physical exam of their pet.