The average veterinarian sees about five neurology cases per month, but refers only one case to a specialist, according to the Collaborative Care Coalition (CCC). A referral decision depends on many client- and veterinarian-related factors, among them financial concerns or failure to properly educate the client on the referral process and benefits. Clients who are offered a referral early in a complex disease process feel more trust in the practice and patients are provided with better, less expensive treatment outcomes. However, referral is not the best choice for every client or patient.

At VESPECON, we can help you provide an intermediate option for clients who cannot afford or travel for a referral, or who prefer to exhaust other options through their primary veterinarian—clients can consult with our specialists virtually. Our team includes specialists across all disciplines who will help you elevate patient care, keep more cases in-house, and maximize revenue. Learn how consulting with a veterinary neurologist through our platform can improve patient care.

#1: Increase client access to specialist care

Although specialists, including neurologists, are highly concentrated in large metropolitan areas, they can still be inaccessible for many clients because of long travel distances, long wait times, financial restrictions, or personal preferences. Some primary veterinarians also hesitate to offer referral, because they fear they will lose revenue or they assume clients cannot pay a specialist. Remote consulting is an intermediate step that increases client access to specialty care—physically and financially—and allows you to offer clients better treatment outcomes. 

#2: Improve seizure management

Seizures and epilepsy are the most common neurological issues that primary care veterinarians handle. Previously, only a few medications were available, so management was relatively simple, but not always successful. Now, many case management options are available, which is great for the patients, but can be a complex learning curve for veterinarians. So, rather than referring your difficult-to-manage seizure cases, ask your clients to keep a seizure log, and you can consult with a neurologist about necessary adjustments. Chances are, the specialist has dealt with whatever snag you’re dealing with and can offer you valuable insights. 

#3: Refer patients to the correct specialty

Neurological conditions can sometimes mimic problems in other body systems, and vice versa. Before sending patients for referral or trying to work up a difficult case, consult with a neurologist to ensure you’re on the right track. Visiting the correct specialist first can save the client significant time, money, and emotional effort. For example, your patient has sudden blindness—should they see a neurologist or ophthalmologist first? Discussing your findings and the patient’s history with a neurologist will guide your choice.

#4: Support the triad of care

The triad of care is the concept that for the best outcomes, pets need collaborative team-based care from a team that consists of the primary veterinarian, the client, and the specialist veterinarian. Each brings an important perspective—the primary veterinarian knows the pet’s medical history, the client spends the most time with their pet and makes critical decisions about their health, and the specialist offers focused and advanced expertise. Complete the care triad without the wait by consulting with our neurologists.

#5: Work cases up more efficiently

Although many neurological patients will require advanced imaging or other diagnostic tests only a specialist can provide, an intermediate consultation can ensure you take the proper steps to prepare your patient for referral. Did you order the correct blood work? Should you obtain a muscle biopsy sample? Our consultants’ answers will help streamline the referral process, allocate your client’s money efficiently, reduce repeat testing, and check off every rule-out from your list.

Consulting with VESPECON

We make connecting with a boarded veterinary specialist easy for busy primary veterinarians who need help with their most complex cases through our video chat platform, which allows you to connect on a deeper level than phone or email. You can meet virtually with any of our specialists or submit an imaging study for review and interpretation whenever you need our assistance and, because we have a small team, you can meet with the same specialist each time. When your patients need to see a specialist in person, you can use our concierge services to coordinate an appointment and transfer records seamlessly.

Ready to learn more about how VESPECON virtual consultations and access to our in-person referral hospital network can elevate your patient care? Contact us to speak with a team member about the process, or sign up online and get started right away.