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Abstract

There is an erratum to this paper published in Veterinary Evidence Vol 7, Issue 2 (2022): 10.18849/VE.V7I2.627

Objective: To assess outcomes of a limited period (7 months) of remote video consultation with prescribing of prescription-only (POM) or prescription-only-veterinary (POM-V) medications by Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) registered veterinary surgeons to UK clients via a veterinary telemedicine smartphone application.

Background: Objective evidence is needed to inform the veterinary profession on the impact that remote prescribing, without physical examination in person, has on animal health and welfare. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the RCVS allowed remote prescribing temporarily.

Methods: Clinical records from all veterinary video consultations from 1 April–31 October 2020 were reviewed. Details were assessed pertaining to: signalment, body system / disease categories managed, referrals into practice, medication classes prescribed and outcomes following POM-V / POM medications. Records of adverse events and antimicrobial prescribing were reviewed.

Results: 16.6% (3,541/21,383) of video consults had a POM-V / POM prescribed; with a (mild) adverse event rate of 0.8% (30/3541). Antibacterials were prescribed in 5.88% of all consultations (1,258/21,383), 99.3% (1249/1258) being first line. Follow-up on prescribing was available in 67.7% (2,399/3541) of cases. 89% (2135/2399) of all known treatment outcomes were complete or had an expected response to treatment. Dermatological disease was the most common body system / disease category seen and prescribed for.

Conclusion: Low prescribing rates (including antibacterials) were recorded, treatments were efficacious and no harm was done by prescribing remotely via a veterinary video consult app.

Application: Veterinary surgeons and governing bodies are invited to use the information provided in this clinical audit to inform decisions on the suitability of remote consultations and prescribing in veterinary medicine.

 

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