Introducing VetVine’s Online Veterinary Community
What is VetVine ®? VetVine.com is a growing, global online community for veterinary professionals powered by veterinary specialists and industry experts.
At its heart VetVine is a private place for veterinarians to connect with each other through message boards, formal case consultations, and continuing education and serves as the trusted online resource for pet owners to find veterinary information articles and locate veterinary services.
Where it all Began Six years ago, I found myself challenged by health issues that took me out of the day-to-day practice of veterinary ophthalmology. I wanted to continue contributing to the profession and to the well-being of animals and thus began looking at opportunities to utilize technology in a way that would benefit the profession and pet owners. The vision was to create a global network, with a user-friendly interface, that would provide a convenient means for professionals to connect and share information, all the while serving to educate pet owners on pet health topics and veterinary specialty care.
This crossroads on the Internet – where veterinary professionals and pet owners could intersect – came to be known as VetVine.
The goal was to build a veterinary community powered by veterinary specialists that is also the trusted “go to” destination where pet owners could be directed by their veterinarians for expert-driven information.
As many have said, “It sounds like the WebMD for pets.”
The Network Whereas Facebook and Twitter are heavily trafficked social media outlets, there are many who don’t engage in those channels partly due to the concern of crossing the line and tarnishing their professional image – sharing “TMI” – too much information and unbecoming of professional demeanor.
VetVine provides a platform where professionals can separate their personal from their professional online engagement. It’s an online community for the profession, and members can further elect privacy settings – allowing their profiles to be searchable by prospective clients or not.
I’m often asked, “How is it different from VIN?”
There are several differences, notably the VetVine CE presentation format and the fact that paying members have all CE courses included in their annual membership fee as well as access to the most up to date and mobile-friendly version of Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook Online.
Another difference is that discussions in the Specialty Forums (message boards) are lead and moderated by veterinary specialists and other industry experts.
Members can build their personal library by purchasing and downloading (specially priced for VetVine members) scientific publications including entire textbook chapters or journal articles of interest as opposed to simply accessing scientific abstracts.
Lastly, the VetVine Specialty Consulting Service (see below) provides veterinarians decision support services through comprehensive case review and a multi-disciplinary approach to consultation requests.
The Moving Parts
1. VetVine Directory The VetVine Directory holds member profiles that feed a robust search engine where prospective clients can look for a veterinary professional by geographic location, practice type, or specialty. To ensure continuity of care for clients that move or travel, the Directory is a resource to help a client find a veterinarian at their next destination.
Members can also link their practice’s website address on their profile – which increases their “credibility” in the eyes of search engines and contributes to better-filtered rankings in online search results.
2. Continuing Education VetVine CE is accredited by the AAVSB RACE program, New York State, and the NJVMA and has been an online provider since 2010. CE is presented live and events are recorded, which makes them available for on-demand viewing, a convenient option for the busy professional.
Some live sessions can even be accessed from a device like an iPhone or iPad! We’ve recently started an online journal club and host virtual rounds where veterinary specialists discuss member’s cases online.
Excerpts from over 130 hours of CE are available as brief educational references on various diseases and conditions on the VetVineHub YouTube Channel and in the videos section of the VetVine website.
Here’s an example from our “What’s Buzzing in Technology” series with VMD Technology’s Dr. Caleb Frankel.
3. The Hub The VetVine Hub is the place to network with other professionals and includes forums, chat rooms, and a classified ads sections.
Forums allow general topic-based discussions with colleagues or the opportunity to engage in specialist-moderated discussions. Any member can join or start a group to share information, publicly or privately, with like-minded colleagues. The groups allow for easy uploads and sharing of photos, videos, and documents.
VetVine’s roster of specialists moderating forums is constantly growing. Currently, we have forums for topic-based discussions on emergency and critical care, feline medicine, oncology, ophthalmology, surgery and other topics.
VMD Technology’s Head Techy (and VetVine Member), Dr. Caleb Frankel, has recently joined in moderating the Technology Trends Forum – the place to ask questions and discuss new technologies and their application to veterinary medicine!
The Hub also allows for 24/7 chat with colleagues in a public or private chat room and “ Vine’ifieds”, which are classified ad placement opportunity for members.
4. VetVine Specialty Consulting Service Our Specialty Consulting Service takes a multidisciplinary approach in providing guidance and advisement on your challenging cases – we’re here to serve as an extension of your team. The growing roster of board certified specialists includes consultants in critical care, internal medicine, nutrition, ophthalmology and surgery.
We provide the requesting veterinarian with suggestions from a variety of specialists (if appropriate) on points about the case they may not have considered. This is a huge “value add” to any veterinarian using our service.
The online exchange of information is user-friendly and provides convenient real-time updates from our specialists sent by email or text messaging.
Consultation reports can even be downloaded and easily be added to electronic or standard medical records.
VetVine Membership and Benefits Joining VetVine is free!
Basic (free) Membership includes 2 free CE credits when signing up to use for live or on-demand CE and a free basic listing in the Member Directory. You also get a 10% discount on the mobile/online version of Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook!
Upgraded Memberships (3 options starting at $199/year) include unlimited CE access plus several additional benefits (below). For a limited time, VetVine is offering a discount on new or renewing Upgraded Memberships!
Enhanced profile listing and preferential filtering in the Member Directory
Links back to your website from VetVine
Plumb’s Veterinary Drug Handbook Online access
Discounts and free shipping on textbooks
Discounts on downloadable journal articles and textbook chapters
Eligibility for sponsor promotions and Raffle prizes
Services provided by the VetVine Specialty Consulting Service (Premier Memberships)
A special note for students: you can attend all CE for free (we only ask for proof of enrollment in an academic program). VetVine offers discounted group memberships too. Click here to find out more and be sure to let us know how many doctors, technicians and client care members are on your staff!
Click here to join VetVine or renew an Upgraded Membership and save!
About the Author
Dr. Sheri Berger is a board certified veterinary ophthalmologist and former Medical Director of a 24-hour emergency and specialty practice in New York City. Dr. Berger is a graduate of Texas A&M University. She completed her internship at the Sacramento Animal Medical Group and remained in private practice for two years before beginning her residency in Comparative Ophthalmology at the University of Minnesota. During her practice career spanning over 18 years, Dr. Berger worked in veterinary specialty centers in which her duties included the supervision and training of over 300 veterinary interns as well as providing continuing education to veterinarians around the country. Dr. Berger founded PetsVetSpace®, LLC in 2007 and currently serves as CEO and Chief Visionary Officer of the company. In February 2002, New York Magazine recognized Dr. Berger as one of New York City’s Best Vets in Ophthalmology!