DOI: 10.1177/1098612x231209855 ISSN: 1098-612X

Recasting the gold standard – part I of II: delineating healthcare options across a continuum of care

Ryane E Englar
  • Small Animals


This is the first part of a two-part series on spectrum of care that encourages practitioners to embrace a non-binary approach to healthcare delivery. When care is not framed as all-or-none, either/or or best versus lesser, the provider and client can agree to diagnostic and/or treatment plans that individualize the practice of veterinary medicine. Care is tailored to the patient along a continuum of acceptable options. Care may also be intentionally incremental, with plans to reassess the patient and revise case management as needed.


Acknowledgment and ultimately acceptance that patient care journeys can be distinct, yet equitably appropriate, offers providers the flexibility to adapt case management competently and confidently to the patient based upon contextualized circumstances including client needs, wants and expectations for healthcare outcomes. Thinking outside the box to recast the historic gold standard with a continuum of care strategically offers feline practitioners a means by which they can overcome barriers to healthcare delivery.

Series outline

This first article introduces spectrum of care as an appropriate approach to case management and broadens its definition beyond cost of care. Part II explores communication strategies that enhance veterinary professionals’ delivery of spectrum of care through open exchange of relationship-centered dialogue.

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