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What is VetConsult and How Does the Platform Work?

There are many different platforms, services, and programs made to help both clients and vets navigate the increasingly complex world of veterinary medicine. Among those many programs is one called VetConsult, and you may have heard of it. So the question becomes, what does it do for you, and is it worth using? Let's talk about it.

What is VetConsult?

Before we can get too deep, we need to bring up the elephant in the room. Fortunately, no, the elephant isn't here for treatment, so you don't have to figure out how it even got in here.

There are actually two different, distinct, and valuable platforms named VetConsult. Depending on what kind of topic and service you're talking about, you may be referring to either one of them, and this has been the source of no small amount of confusion in discussions on the topic.

Both platforms are:

  • Relevant to veterinary care

  • Useful to veterinarians and their practices

  • Services you may consider using

So, it's not worth dismissing one entirely in favor of discussing the other. So, we'll talk about both. For the sake of differentiating them, we'll give them slightly more specific names: VetConsult Online and Wiley VetConsult.

What is VetConsult Online?

VetConsult Online, found at (hence the name), is a platform that helps veterinarians manage their office work. It handles services such as:

  • Invoicing

  • Appointment scheduling and booking

  • Video consultations for basic patient care and follow-ups

Each of these three services is packed with useful features that can free up time for your front-office staff, streamline your office work, and make sure you have more time for your patients, not the paperwork.

Invoicing and a payments system give your practice the option to accept payments for services and prescriptions directly through your website rather than requiring in-person, by mail, or by-phone transactions. You can also request payments for outstanding invoices by sending email or SMS reminders to your clients. All of this allows your front-office staff to spend less time hounding people about their bills and more time handling other administrative tasks to keep your practice going. Of course, it also keeps invoice history and payment history records for your use down the road.

Appointment booking is another very useful time-saver. It works like an online calendar; you can set up your general availability, track your specific responsibilities that mean you're out of the practice and can't see clients in specific time blocks, and leave the rest available to be booked. This can also integrate into other practice management systems or calendar systems you may be using, so existing appointments are populated so you don't double-book.

This also has an additional useful feature in conjunction with the payment processing system, which is that you can request payment in advance for appointments. You aren't required to do so – and many clients won't want to pay until they come in, which is fine – but it's an option to streamline everything from the check-in process to payment processing in general.

Remote consultations are another useful tool in a few ways. For one thing, when there are simple check-ups, basic symptom checks, vibe checks for the level of emergency a patient is experiencing, and various post-treatment follow-ups, you can often handle these directly via a video call rather than needing the patient to be bundled up and brought in just for you to spend two minutes looking at them, determine that they're fine, and shoo them out.

Video conferencing and calling can be used to give basic advice, to triage cases, to calm the nerves of a worried client, and to rapid-fire process basic cases that don't need a full appointment slot. It's something that can be done in between other appointments and can even be an additional income stream. Combined with the payment processing features, you can even request payment directly before taking a call or leave it for after-the-fact billing.

One of the nice things about VetConsult Online is the pricing. You may be used to veterinary management platforms, appointment schedulers, video calling apps, and others, all charging monthly fees to operate. VetConsult Online doesn't have that; instead, they charge solely via a small transaction fee for the transactions they process. They used to have a setup fee as well, but they waived that for COVID and haven't reinstated it.

Are there any downsides to this VetConsult system? A few. The biggest is that they're a business registered in England and Wales, so their references are to pounds (the currency, not the facility) and there may be issues communicating with them if you have trouble due to time differences.

The other potential issue is that much of what they offer isn't really that unique. Many other modern practice management systems already offer all of these services or make it easy to integrate with other free systems that do, like using Zoom for video calling and processing payments through Square or Stripe. You may find that you don't actually need anything they have to offer.

What is Wiley VetConsult?

Now, let's talk about the other VetConsult. Wiley VetConsult, named such because it's a product produced by the educational resource publisher Wiley, can be found here:

As a veterinarian, one of your biggest challenges is simply the vast array of information you need to know.

Think about it in human medical terms. In medicine, a doctor needs to know a broad amount of basic and intermediate information about one species (humans) and can refer a patient to specialist practitioners for more specific consultations and treatment for things like neurology or oncology. There are doctors who train their entire careers just to identify, diagnose, and treat skin conditions, or one specific kind of cancer, or something equally narrow.

Meanwhile, a veterinarian general practitioner needs to know all of that broad, general information, not just for one species, but for multiple. Cats, dogs, maybe lizards and birds, maybe livestock; you might specialize in just the most common household pets, or you might have a broader base of knowledge.

Even veterinary specialists often cover wider bases. In human cancer, you might find a doctor who specializes entirely in bone cancers. In dogs, you have a vet who specializes in canine cancers, but they have to cover all of the different kinds of canine cancers, not just osteosarcoma.

So, what does all of this have to do with Wiley VetConsult?

Essentially, Wiley VetConsult is a centralized platform and knowledge base for veterinary information on pretty much anything you could need, at least for cats and dogs. It covers three main bases:

  • Feline and canine general diagnosis.

  • Feline and canine behavioral issues and training.

  • Feline and canine endocrinology and reproduction.

If these topics sound familiar, they are; these are three of Blackwell's most famous resource books for veterinarians: The Canine and Feline Behavior Manual, The Small Animal Endo and Reproduction Clinical Companion, and The Five-Minute Consult Book.

Basically, these three books, and all of their associated knowledge, including updates and expanded information, is all plugged into the Wiley program.

What does Wiley VetConsult actually do?

It's basically a resource book you can use to look up things like symptoms and issues. You can use it to assist with diagnoses, help pet owners with training and behavioral issues, generate handouts, and more. They give three examples: puppy training, client handouts, and infertility guides for dogs.

Unlike using more public resources like WebMD for pets or PetMD or whatever else Google happens to serve, VetConsult is guaranteed to be authoritatively sourced because the information they use comes solely from the Blackwell books. This is increasingly important in a world where AI-generated content is showing up everywhere, and AI can easily recommend completely incorrect statements or conclusions; it's harder than ever to vet (sic) the information you come across online; having a reliable source is very important, especially for something outside of your usual comfort zone or area of expertise.

In a way, Wile VetConsult is just like having those books on your shelf where you can reference them when you need to diagnose a patient or confirm your suspicions. But, unlike books, it's kept up to date and is much more easily searchable. VetConsult even includes suggestions and predictive searches to help you explore related issues when you search for one in particular.

One of the biggest advantages that Wiley VetConsult offers is something worth a small digression.

Here at Hope Vet, in addition to our resource-packed blog, we offer remote consulting services. If you have a tricky, complex, or unusual case in a specialty such as oncology, neurology, internal medicine, dermatology, or critical care, you may run into a common problem. You might not know the answer! Or, if you think you know the answer, you may not be confident in that answer.

This leaves you in a tricky position.

  • You can go with your gut, offering a diagnosis and pursuing treatment, but what if you're wrong or off-base? You can run into all sorts of problems and potentially lose a client (or patient) because of it.

  • You can go digging online for information to validate or disprove your hunch. This can be effective, but with so much AI-generated content as well as content made just for advertising some medical product or another, it's hard to know what to trust.

  • You can research in books, which are much more reliable, but slow and hard to search through, and may be out of date if you haven't updated your resource library in a while.

  • You can call or message a colleague or specialist. This is the most effective – assuming they're in a relevant specialty, of course – but it also means a delay, especially if that colleague isn't in the office at the time.

Our consulting services are top-notch, and we staff a variety of highly-trained, experienced specialists who work in different forms of veterinary care. But, there's a time delay on requesting a consult, which is why we say to give us 72 hours for a comprehensive response. You can be confident in the information we provide, but if you're in a situation where time is of the essence, you can't wait.

That's where something like Wiley VetConsult comes into play. With it, you solve most of these problems. You don't have to go with your gut because a third-party validation is right there. You don't have to search online, and can trust the information you get. You have a much faster and more robust search ability than a book index, as well. You don't get customized opinions like you would from our consulting or from a colleague, but you get the next best thing.

If you're interested, Wiley VetConsult has a few avenues you can take. You can click here and fill out a form to get samples of some of their results and information, including handouts and the behavioral information we mentioned above. You can fill out the form on their main page to sign up or get more information as well. Or you can simply subscribe.

You have two subscription options here. You can pay monthly, $8 per month, for access to the core package. Or you can pay for an annual subscription at $75 for the year. They also have multi-user accounts if you want multiple veterinarians or veterinary nurses in your practice to have access.

Is Wiley VetConsult worth it? That's up to you. Most vets have some kind of support network and set of resources for serving this purpose; the question is, are they as reliable and as fast and easy to search as VetConsult? That requires individual evaluation.

In the meantime, you can always contact us. Our consulting may not be available in mere minutes, but our expert information is always available to help you feel peace of mind, build up your knowledge, and confirm your thoughts. Whether you need ideas because you're out of your wheelhouse or you just need a second opinion to verify your thoughts, we're here to help. Just reach out!

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