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Home » Archive » 2021

TDK conference 2021

Digital transformation in veterinary medicine: Telemedicine
Renner, Anton - year 5
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Veterinary Forensics, Law and Economics
Supervisors: Dr. László Ózsvári, Dr. Erik Diez

Abstract:

Veterinary telemedicine is not as novel a field as it would seem, as it has basically been practised ever since consultations by telephone are possible. More recently, technological advances in telecommunication have made it an exciting addition to analogue medicine, a fact that remains especially relevant during the global Covid-19 pandemic. This study aimed to survey animal owners’ perception and acceptance of digitalised animal healthcare, as it is an increasingly used tool in veterinary medicine.

An online survey was developed using the platform SurveyMonkey and distributed via social media and internet forums. The questionnaire was also presented to actual veterinary institutions and telehealth providers. 362 responses were gathered between March and August of 2021 from all the states of Germany. A descriptive statistical analysis and hypotheses testing were performed, using Kruskal-Wallis, Spearman and Wilcoxon rank sum tests.

The results show that while 71% of responding pet owners view telemedicine as an asset to their clinic or practice of choice, 84% have never used telemedical services of any kind. The main factors contributing to hesitancy toward online consultations among pet owners were limited examination methods (82%), lack of personal component (32%), technical complications (13%) and insufficient broadband connection (10%). The main disruptive elements in connection with clinical visits according to respondents were waiting times (59%), aggressive or nervous pets (55%), and general stress (39%).

Correlation testing revealed no significant relationship between regionality and willingness to participate in online consultations (p=0,8187 Spearman-test) (p=0,06 Kruskal-Wallis-test), nor between the age of the respondent and likelihood to make use of online consultations (p=0,077 Spearman-test) (p=0,63 Kruskal-Wallis-test), and neither between owning small animals and likelihood to take part in telemedical consultations (p=0,595 Wilcoxon rank sum test).

We can conclude that there is great potential for telemedicine as an addition to traditional veterinary sciences as researchers, veterinarians, owners, and animals can profit from its benefits. Commonly occurring difficulties in connection with veterinary sciences can be improved upon. The collected data shows, that despite many respondents having a positive attitude towards telemedicine, it is still underused in clinical practice in Germany. Further research into possibilities of improving implementation into everyday practice is needed. Educational institutions should also consider teaching about telemedicine as it is becoming an important part of all medical fields at an increasingly fast rate.



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