Industries across the globe are undergoing unprecedented change in order to thrive in our COVID-19 world. Plastic surgery and med spa offices globally are adjusting their patient experience and addressing aesthetic concerns that are soaring as a result of time spent connecting virtually. While change may feel like a foe, the practices being instituted both within the office, inside treatment rooms and throughout surgery centers are elevating the level of care and safety for all. From new patient intake protocols, to refined office visit parameters and adjustments in the operating room, physicians, staff and patients alike are feeling more secure during their journey of transformation.
At Grover Aesthetics, the patient/doctor connection has always been viewed as vital to ensuring an optimal outcome for the patient. This ignited the need for Grover Aesthetics to implement virtual consultations that can be scheduled for elective procedure consults and post-operative check-ins. While these telehealth appointments have been utilized in the past for out of town patients, now they are utilized for local patients as well who desire to minimize their time outside of their home. Patients near and far can now connect in real-time with their surgeon, right from the heart of their home. Many patients seek out expert care from surgeons who are outside of their home towns. Now, these out-of-state or out-of-country inquiries can be facilitated even more efficiently than before. As for post-operative visits, for those who prefer to limit their exposure, virtual check-ins are a great way to stay on track with post-operative care.
As in-office visits resume, many patients wonder what to expect as they embark on in-person visits. Like many other establishments, proper at-the-door screening via intake forms, temperature checks and health questionnaires are part of the welcome in process. Both staff and patients alike are required to wear face masks while inside Grover Aesthetics to ensure the protection of all—even though physical distancing measures are in place and each room is fully sanitized between individual patient visits. Special care is also given to scheduling in order to manage patient flow within the facility. While these steps are significant in minimizing potential virus exposure, they also provide elevated safety, and therefore patient care, during each office visit. While sanitation and cleanliness are always top of mind in a physician’s office, some are taking a heightened next step beyond medical grade sanitizing and considering the use of UV-C lights. These have been proven to be highly effective in killing germs, viruses and bacteria and can treat common areas alongside treatments rooms seamlessly between each patient visit.
As surgery day approaches, one critical step that Grover Aesthetics has put in place for each patient is pre-operative PCR COVID-19 testing. This allows both patient and physician to know with a degree of certainty that the patient is not currently carrying the virus which would impair their ability to heal from surgery and create complications with anesthesia. PCR testing provides fairly good assurance that up until the time when the test was taken, which is usually three to five days prior to surgery, that patient was negative for COVID-19 and thus is less likely to be an asymptomatic carrier. In comparison to antibody testing which is still fairly unreliable, PCR COVID-19 testing even detects asymptomatic carriers.
While there remains a large demand for a variety of face and body treatments, many men and women have now experienced the ZOOM effect. From virtual office meetings to social happy hours, most of us have spent a lot more time looking at–and starting to analyze ourselves—from the neck up. This has driven a demand for many treatments that address areas such as the chin, under chin, neck, jowls, droopy eyelids and nose. As our world plans to keep social distancing in place for the foreseeable future, many patients are wanting to make sure they look and feel their best virtually, so they can still have the same confidence in their interactions online that they were used to in-person.
Reflecting on the unexpected facelift that our industry is undergoing, I have often been asked if it is for the best. As someone who always puts patients first, and holds their overall health and safety to the highest standards, my answer is yes. As we continue to evolve through the pandemic, many of the intake protocols will become more seamless as we develop more efficient ways to assist patients. However, with time, graceful new systems will emerge that will undoubtedly continue to put each person’s health first.