An investigation into the impact of telemedicine on the veterinary practitioner
Larry James Moore, Auburn University, United States
Auburn University . Awarded
The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of telemedicine on the veterinary practitioner. Three research questions were addressed (1) What is the diffusion of telemedicine usage in veterinary medicine in the Southeastern United States and are the characteristics of veterinary practitioners who are using telemedicine technology different from those who are not using telemedicine technology; (2) How is telemedicine technology being used in veterinary medicine by the veterinary practitioner; (3) What are the perceived benefits of telemedicine to the veterinary practitioner?
A survey design sampling 104 veterinary practitioners from the Southeastern United States was used to address the research questions. Demographic data was obtained regarding the nature and type of practice to address the first research question. Other questions asked participants to indicate how they were using telemedicine. These data were used to answer the second question. Participants responded to a 5-point Likert scale regarding their perceptions of the benefits of telemedicine to the veterinary practitioner to address the third question. In addition, eight of the respondents provided an in-depth telephone interview to provide further information.
Independent t-tests indicated a statistically significant difference between users of telemedicine and non-users with respect to average number of patients seen daily. Chi-square tests of independence revealed statistically significant differences between users and non-users with respect to age, number of veterinarians in the practice, and use of computer.
Users of veterinary telemedicine used telemedicine primarily in the areas of ultrasonography and radiology. Most of the users reported using telemedicine on only one to five cases per month. The key reasons indicated by users for using telemedicine were the desire to stay up-to-date, educational benefits, and lack of specialty personnel. Users of veterinary telemedicine perceived that telemedicine has improved their diagnostic skills and has had a positive effect on animal health.
One implication of this study is that veterinary practitioners find telemedicine cost-effective when there is a sufficient number of veterinarians in the practice to warrant the cost and time involved in using telemedicine. Suggestions for future research include studying the perceptions of telemedicine providers and specialists regarding veterinary telemedicine, and investigating the legal implications of using telemedicine technology.
Moore, L.J. An investigation into the impact of telemedicine on the veterinary practitioner. Ph.D. thesis, Auburn University.
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