Telehealth is the term to describe the use of technology (such as home computers, tablets, smartphones) for interactions between clients/patients and veterinary professionals, for example the FirstVet app. The goal with telehealth is to provide reliable information, patient care, and client education in a remote setting.
Via our service, you may receive telehealth services of which the scope will depend on what state you are resident in; either teletriage or telemedicine. In order for a veterinarian to perform telemedicine services, there usually must be an established veterinary-client-patient-relationship (VCPR). This typically means that the veterinarian has seen the patient in their practice within the past 12 months and is familiar with the client and pet, but some states allow a VCPR to be established virtually. A VCPR may also be established where a licensed medical professional has access to pre-existing VCPR medical records, provided by you or your veterinarian furnishing such documents to us.
With an existing VCPR, or lack of VCPR requirements in a state’s veterinary act or veterinary medical board regulations, the veterinarian providing the telemedicine consult is legally allowed to provide you with a diagnosis (when applicable), prescribe medications, and give a prognosis for your pet’s condition.
Veterinary telemedicine involves the use of electronic communications to enable you to share medical information about your pet with a veterinarian in a different location for the purpose of enabling the provider to evaluate, diagnose, consult, and provide treatment for the pet.
Teletriage involves the provision of general advice from a licensed medical professional to a client/patient using an electronic device like a tablet or smartphone. Veterinarians providing teletriage services can provide timely assessment and management of pet patients but, without a VCPR, cannot provide a diagnosis, prescribe medications, or give a prognosis for the animal’s condition. Teletriage is meant to help pet owners make good, safe decisions for their pet’s health. This is especially helpful if you’re unable to make a timely appointment with your regular vet, or if you’re not able to leave your home for any reason. Your teletriage vet will be able to help you determine if your pet needs to be seen at an emergency clinic right away or if you can manage your pet’s condition at home.
Telemedicine and teletriage services have become an even more valuable resource in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual visits limit contact between hospital staff members and clients, lowering the chances of spreading the virus.
Besides the public health benefits, virtual care is designed to make your day (or night) easier! Scheduling a teletriage appointment allows you to seek professional advice for your pet when you’re unable to leave your home for any reason. Or what if your pet is terrified to get into her carrier or ride along in your vehicle? Speaking with us can help you decide if a trip to your local clinic is necessary or if you can manage your pet’s illness at home without additional stress.
Virtual care appointments are often fast, efficient, and can be scheduled on your time. This can be really helpful when you have urgent questions but can’t get into your regular vet right away. Or what about late at night? Or on the weekend? Speaking with a FirstVet vet can give you peace of mind when you have an after-hours emergency.
As with any medical procedure, there are potential risks associated with the use of teletriage and telemedicine. These risks include, but may not be limited to:
Delays in medical evaluation and treatment could occur due to deficiencies or failures of the equipment;In rare cases, information transmitted may not be sufficient (e.g. poor resolution of images) to allow for appropriate medical decision making by the veterinarian and consultant(s);
In rare cases, a lack of access to complete medical records may result in adverse drug interactions or allergic reactions or other judgment errors; and
In very rare instances, security protocols could fail, causing a breach of privacy of personal medical information.
Some states do allow veterinarians to form a veterinary-client-patient-relationship (VCPR) remotely, and other states do not require a VCPR relationship for telemedicine. Hence, we only provide telemedicine services in states where it would be VCPR compliant, which we currently deem to be New York and New Jersey. In the other states, we only provide teletriage services.
Our veterinarians may further establish a VCPR with you by getting access to pre-existing VCPR medical records, provided by you or by your primary veterinarian.
FirstVet only provides telemedicine in states where it is VCPR compliant. As of now, we provide it in New York and New Jersey but hope that the legal environment will enable us to do it in more states!
FirstVet is not a pharmacy, but our veterinarians may prescribe medication and fill medication orders if certain requirements are met, including that a VCPR has been established and there is nothing else legally restricting us from doing so. FirstVet does not sell any medications, but partners with pharmacies that may deliver your medications to your home.If you have an existing prescription through another veterinarian, you may also ask us to fulfill an order through our licensed pharmacy partners. To be able to do so, we must verify the prescription after checkout, and prior to an order being shipped. If we cannot verify the prescription with your veterinarian, the order will be cancelled and refunded. Hence, we will need you to provide information for your clinic. Mandatory information includes the clinic's name, phone number, and address.
We have licensed veterinarians in almost every state, please see below a list of all of our veterinarians with license number and the state they are registered in:
SC, NC, VA, NY, MI, NJ
3248,10245,301206033, 010937, 6901400729, 29VI00840100
Elizabeth Marie Rush
Services such as FirstVet allow you to easily download an app and set up an account with your pet’s information right from your tablet or smartphone. You’ll be asked to answer a few questions about your pet’s health and any concerns that you may have. You can even upload pictures or videos of your pet when applicable.
Next, you’ll make an appointment to meet with one of our vets. During your scheduled video call, your FirstVet vet will speak to you about your concerns, answer your questions, and help you solve your pet’s health concerns. You may receive recommendations for at-home treatments and monitoring, or be referred to a local emergency clinic if your pet needs more urgent care. You may further receive prognosis, treatment plan and diagnosis if you live in a state where this would be VCPR compliant and the veterinarian deems it suitable. The veterinarian’s medical notes and recommendations will be emailed to the address you provided when creating your account.