The MVMA does not have specific by-laws or rules that speak directly to the issue of telemedicine. In this sense, the same rules apply when providing veterinary service either in person or through a telemedicine modality (telephone, email, text, video call, etc.). With this said, members may want to review the following MVMA rules that many times touch on issues related to telemedicine within Manitoba:
- The veterinarian must have a valid VCPR in order to provide veterinary service in Manitoba (Section 4-6-2 of the MVMA General By-Law No. 1).
This raises three key issues:
- The veterinarian must have sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) to initiate at least general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition.
- The veterinarian cannot establish a VCPR through telemedicine alone.
*** Please note the Peer Review Committee passed a resolution that has relaxed the VCPR rules until August 10, 2020.
- Until August 10, 2020:
A veterinarian must have previously completed a hands-on examination of the animal(s) or visited the premises where the animal(s) are kept.
- From August 10, 2020, onwards:
A veterinarian must have completed a hands-on examination of the animal(s) or visited the premises where the animal(s) are kept, within the last year.
- The veterinarian must be confident that the telemedicine modality that they are using (telephone, email, text, video call, etc.) is suitable and appropriate to provide the veterinarian with sufficient knowledge of the animal(s) to initiate at least general or preliminary diagnosis of the medical condition. The individual veterinarian is responsible for assessing each situation and determining if telemedicine and the specific telemedicine modality is appropriate on a case by case basis.
As per the MVMA General By-Law No. 1 and the PIPS By-Law the veterinarian must keep compliant medical records for each patient. This includes patients that receive service via telemedicine.
For guidance about when telemedicine may be appropriate, please review the MVMA’s Evaluation Tool: Essential vs Non-Essential Veterinary Procedures.
As a result of COVID-19 and the current state of emergency, the MVMA has been fielding an increased volume of questions about telemedicine in Manitoba. Please note that this information has been recently updated to include information about the Peer Review Committee (PRC) resolution passed on April 3, 2020.
The MVMA does not have any regulatory rules that define telemedicine. Generally, when veterinary professionals discuss telemedicine, they are referring to any technological mechanism that assists a veterinary professional in the provision of specific veterinary medical advice and veterinary treatment of an animal(s) based on the remote diagnosis of disease and injury by means of telecommunications technology where no physical examination of the animal(s) by the veterinarian takes place.
Telemedicine can include any technology that serves this purpose but has historically involved technologies like the telephone, email, text, video call.