Video conferencing with clients in small but fast paced vet practice.
November 4, 2020 6:35 AM   Subscribe

Our veterinary practice has been requiring that the humans remain outside while their pets are brought in by staff and examined and treated. The vet speaks with the humans on the phone using speakerphone during the visit. Is there an inexpensive and "easy" way to video conference using a tablet in the exam room and connecting with clients' smartphones? I envision the staff sending a text to the client inviting them to the meeting from the tablet that is already in the room ( a staff member can send the text beforehand, or the receptionist does it from a computer for all of the tablets would be easier), the human connects and then waits for the Dr to start the video once he is in the room.

The staff is not tech-savvy but could likely learn to push the right buttons in an app. We can use a iPad or tablet but prefer iPad. We want to use their phone numbers, not email addresses, to connect. Other than Facetime, I am familiar with Zoom, as a free way to do this, but we are willing to spend a little money to subscribe to an easy service. This is a one vet clinic, small but insanely busy and so we're often having three rooms full with the Dr and tech's moving from one room to the next, so we will have a tablet in each room. Note we are not doing telemedicine here. Also, note that you can disregard what I envision and come up with some other way of doing this.
posted by waving to Technology (10 answers total)
Response by poster: Also, what more expensive options are out there? We can pay to play if it's good.
posted by waving at 6:53 AM on November 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Not everyone has a smartphone. Have a couple tablets you can check out to people. Clean them after each use.
posted by aniola at 7:03 AM on November 4, 2020 [6 favorites]

A lot of my providers (for humans) have been using - I don't know what the provider interface is like but it's very easy on the patient end (unless you have trouble getting your camera and microphone turned on). It's web-based, so unlike FaceTime it works on any device and unlike Zoom it doesn't require the patient/pet parent to install any software.

I think it would save you a lot of time/trouble compared to Zoom (which someone on your non-tech-savvy staff would have to coach your non-tech savvy pet parents through setting up). It's not free, but it looks like they have "clinic" pricing at $50/month + a $300 setup.

The easiest might actually be for the videoconference invitation text to have links to call the tablet in question via a couple of different interfaces, like:
Dr. Weiner is ready to talk to you about Winkie!
To speak with them over Facetime, click here.
To speak with them over Zoom, click here.
To use Skype...[ad infinitum]
Or call 000-000-0000*.
This way the client can use the software they're comfortable with (no coaching them through installing something) and your staff just receives the call on the tablet. This would require a bit of setup on your end, but could be pretty automated once you get going.

* each tablet should have a phone number, whether it's a real number, Skype, Google Voice, whatever.
posted by mskyle at 7:08 AM on November 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

Is it possible to have a qr code printed?
posted by coberh at 7:45 AM on November 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

If your clients have a smartphone it seems like Facetime might be a simple solution.
posted by citygirl at 9:07 AM on November 4, 2020

Facetime is super easy but it's iOS only, so no good with Android users.
posted by mskyle at 10:16 AM on November 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

I’d agree with looking at the software that small human medical practices are using to videoconference with patients— seems to be very popular.

As vets you don’t have to worry about HIPAA but the key to a successful human medical VC system is that it is very easy for patients (who tend toward the older and less tech savvy) and providers (who tend to be busy and less tech savvy) to use. is nice because it does not require a lot of logging in or special software on the part of the client.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 5:22 PM on November 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

My PCP and my therapist both use It's very easy to use on my end.
posted by kathrynm at 6:53 PM on November 4, 2020

It would also be nice if pet parents could tap into the vet office's wifi from the parking lot instead of having to do video calls using cell phone data.
posted by oceano at 7:16 PM on November 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

we are old school at my clinic, but we did just get an update from covetrus that says it will streamline thing (but it seems more relevant to people who are already using tech space)
posted by megan_magnolia at 2:10 PM on November 5, 2020

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