Veterinary medicine has more options for diagnosis and treatment of companion animals than ever before, with some referral facilities offering levels of care that rival human hospitals; however, as many clinicians, particularly those in general practice, recognize, not every clinical option is doable or even desirable to an individual pet owner. When we pressure clinicians, even inadvertently, to only offer the highest possible level of care, we ignore the many real-world variables that influence an owner’s choices for their pets.
That’s why the teams behind Plumb’s™ fully embrace the concept of Spectrum of Care: expanded clinical guidance for practitioners that defines an appropriate continuum of care and takes pet owners’ expectations and financial limitations into account.
Using the model of Spectrum of Care, guidelines become established for diagnosis and treatment that, although not always characterized as “gold standard,” are reasonable alternatives in the general practice setting. The Spectrum of Care approach to medicine both promotes and benefits from greater communication between clinician and pet owner and has the potential to reduce stress on both sides of the examination table while still leading toward a positive clinical outcome.
The Dx & Tx monographs in Plumb’s Pro™ will now feature a Spectrum of Care section with closely evaluated information on diagnostic and therapeutic options beyond the “gold standard,” with a focus on shared decision making with owners so that mutual goals of care can be established and met.
Our hope is that by promoting the greater flexibility of Spectrum of Care, we can help more owners and their pets receive high-quality yet appropriate (and, ideally, evidence-based) veterinary care, leading to a greater number of positive patient outcomes and improved satisfaction both within the veterinary community and the pet-owning public.