This guideline outlines the appropriate standard expected of a registered veterinary practitioner in the course of veterinary practice. It should be read in conjunction with other related guidelines.
Improvements in telecommunications and computer technology have increased the public’s access to veterinary services, particularly for animals located where access would otherwise be limited.
Veterinary telemedicine, delivered remotely and with the assistance of telecommunications, provides an alternative to the direct physical examination of an animal or a face-to-face consultation between a veterinary practitioner and an owner. Veterinary services provided through telemedicine consultation may include diagnostic advice or advice on maintaining the wellbeing of an animal.
Veterinary telemedicine is undertaken only when there is a pre-existing veterinary practitioner–owner-animal relationship. The Board acknowledges that veterinary advice given without a physical examination of an animal and/or without pre-existing knowledge of the animal’s circumstances and environment may increase the risk of errors in clinical judgement and may not be in the best interest of the animal.
Veterinary services delivered via a telemedicine consultation should be of the same standard as, and demonstrate professional conduct equal to, those delivered via a consultation involving direct physical examination of an animal. In particular, a veterinary practitioner delivering telemedicine consultations must create and maintain a veterinary medical record for each animal and owner receiving remotely delivered veterinary services.
A veterinary practitioner must be satisfied that the owner understands and is able to follow directions on the use of veterinary medications prescribed and/or supplied to the owner during a telemedicine consultation.
Where there is any doubt as to whether a telemedicine consultation is appropriate or adequate for a particular case, a veterinary practitioner should consult with another veterinary practitioner and record their peer’s opinion in the medical record.
This material is current only at the time of publication and may be changed from time to time. The Board reviews and updates the Guidelines on a continuous basis to reflect changes in the science and knowledge base underpinning contemporary veterinary practice. The Board will take reasonable steps to inform the veterinary profession when such updates are released but it remains the responsibility of the individual veterinary practitioner to ensure that their knowledge and application of these Guidelines to their own practice is current.
While the Board has made every effort to ensure that the material in these Guidelines is correct in law, it shall not be liable to any veterinary practitioner or any other person or entity in relation to any claim, action or proceeding whatsoever (whether in contract, negligence or other tort or in proceedings seeking any other form of legal or equitable remedy or relief) for any inadequacy, error or mistake, or for any deficiency in the whole or any part of this document (including any updates incorporated in the document from time to time). A veterinary practitioner or any other person or entity acting upon the contents of this document acknowledges and accepts that this is the basis upon which the Board has produced these Guidelines and made them available to such person or entity.