In October 2015, the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC) announced that it had established the Veterinary Innovation Council (VIC) as "a nonprofit 501(c)(6) association with the mission of convening the brightest minds in the profession and industry together to tackle innovation opportunities that lift up all animal health care segments including caregivers, academia, suppliers and consumers."
Further details of the VIC were released during the NAVC Conference 2016… including the specific mission: "Improved animal health, greater access to pet care, increased demand for veterinary services, and higher-performing veterinary teams with technology from human healthcare becoming a staple in small animal practices."
At that time, the NAVC was quick to point out that it's the first time an industry-wide body formed specifically to expedite important initiatives, "without bogging down in task forces, long-term working groups or conventions."
We recently caught up with Dr. Mia Cary, VIC Executive Director, and Chief Innovation Officer at the NAVC, to give us an update, describe the VIC's first project, and explain what this organization means to Distribution Sales Reps.
Here's what she told us:
"The mission and general structure are still the same as when we launched. It's all about collaboration and innovation, working together to identify and overcome challenges facing our profession.
During our January board meeting, telemedicine was approved as our first focus project because we felt that creating telemedicine-related tools, resources and workflows would help our profession get out ahead of the telemedicine curve in order to embrace it instead of fear it.
At our May 25th planning meeting, we recommended that the team working on this pilot project replace the term 'telemedicine' with the more inclusive 'telehealth' terminology. The group agreed with the term ‘telehealth’ as an umbrella term while 'telemedicine’ is utilized when telehealth tools are used in the transfer of information in a medical setting. The current plan is to launch a series of telehealth microtests this fall and a pilot in the spring. Initial results will be reported at the NAVC Conference 2017 in February, with a more comprehensive report occurring at the Innovation Summit being held at Texas A&M University in April, 2017.
Regarding distribution sales… we know that DSRs like to be on the cutting edge, and like to bring valuable, relevant information to their customers.
- In your role as a OSR or ISR, staying abreast of the Veterinary Innovation Council and the telemedicine pilot project progress will help you achieve this goal.
- Discussing VIC with customers also opens the conversation to innovation, which could naturally segue to some of your most innovative and novel product and service offerings.
- The results of the VIC microtests and pilot will include the creation of new ways to reach underserved clients and pets who deserve quality medical care.
- This extension into underserved communities and households will also create opportunities for health care staff to introduce and recommend the very products that you carry."
How is VIC engaging the profession on the subject of telehealth?
Dr. Cary said, "We have been invited to present updates at several upcoming animal events. NAVC CEO Tom Bohn will present an update on the Banfield Pet Healthcare Summit in Portland, OR, and Mark Cushing, VIC advisor, will present an update to the American Association of Veterinary State Board’s (AAVSB) annual conference in Scottsdale; both in September 2017. I'm a member of AVMA’s working group on telehealth education, and will use that opportunity to collaborate with, and update, the AVMA as well as other organizations on our plans."
If you'd like more information about the VIC and its pilot project, or you'd like to submit suggested topics/areas for the VIC to consider tackling in the future —