As part of a special feature on AestheticLink, a web based integrated in-office communication tool used by aesthetic practitioners nationwide, understanding the value of virtual consultations has become a vital need. Not only can a virtual consultation create a better relationship between the patient and the practice, but it can also save hours of valuable time and, in some cases, detect health issues in a patient before they even come into the practice. At Aesthetic Insider Radio, we talked with Dee Horning, Patient Coordinator at the practice of Juan A. Brou, M.D., in Oklahoma City. Dee has worked with Dr. Brou for almost 20 years and not only does she understand the importance of proper communication with patients, but also knows first-hand how beneficial the virtual consultation is to a busy aesthetic practice. AestheticLink is changing how patients and aesthetic surgeons and their staff interact pre- and post-surgery. It is also helping doctors create better, longer lasting relationships with their patients. www.aestheticlink.com.
THE ART OF VIRTUAL PATIENT CONSULTING
Virtual Consulting is growing in popularity and, according to Dee Horning, a Patient Coordinator at the plastic surgery practice of Dr. Juan A. Brou in Oklahoma City, OK, the addition of AestheticLink’s Virtual Consulting software is helping them capture more new patients for their already bustling practice.
Dee has been a Patient Coordinator for almost 20 years and is more experienced than most when it comes to understanding the various needs of aesthetic patients. In this exclusive interview, Aesthetic Insider News breaks down the steps of how best to use Virtual Consulting in an aesthetic practice.
What does your role of Patient Coordinator entail?
I am responsible for converting a new patient consultation call into an in-person consultation, and then converting that into surgery. My favorite part of the process is getting to know patients and forming a bonding relationship with them, as well as educating them via telephone on the procedure they are interested in. I am also proud to discuss Dr. Brou’s credentials and my experience working with Dr. Brou. Part of the dialogue usually includes price quotes, financing needs and, of course, I schedule their surgery. As you can imagine I am in charge of a very busy surgical schedule.
How many schedules are you coordinating?
We have several providers in the office. Two surgeons, Dr. Brou and the recent addition of Dr. Oscar Masters, as well as a Physician’s Assistant (PA), three Registered Nurses, two aestheticians and two patient coordinators. We also have one of the largest medical spas in Oklahoma City and offer a very wide variety of procedures.
Is the application of the AestheticLink Virtual Consultation beneficial to the practice?
Absolutely. Technical advancements in recent years have really helped our practice function more smoothly and efficiently. We brought the AesthethicLink software solution in because we were becoming very challenged trying to meet patient needs. Most of our new patient consultations with Dr. Brou are three to four months in advance and this was a down point for patients that wanted immediate answers. With AestheticLink we are able to offer patients a faster response. It has also been a great time saver as we are able to better screen patients who might not yet be candidates for the procedures they have in mind.
Can you explain how AestheticLink’s Virtual Consultation aspect works?
We have a direct link on our website that patients can access. In most cases, when a patient calls they are transferred either to me as I am the lead Patient Consultant, or to our second Patient Coordinator. We qualify the patient for the particular procedure they are interested in and get to know them. We then invite the patient to join an AnestheticLink consultation which is done through a private email giving them the link and directions to sign up. From there they can upload photos and complete the necessary paperwork. Dr. Brou can then review the patient details and give recommendations. This process saves everyone so much time, including the patient, which is a real plus.
Does this help you determine if the patient is a good candidate before they come in?
Yes. The patient is required to complete a demographic and medical history form online. This helps Dr Brou review their medical history and make sure that there are no underlying concerns that might delay elective surgery. The program also instructs the patient how to take their photos correctly so Dr. Brou can give an accurate assessment. The patient can also make notations about the procedure, their time frame for surgery, questions and concerns. I generally review these documents with Dr. Brou so we can do a careful evaluation before we make recommendations to the patient. After that, I reach out to the patient with Dr. Brou’s recommendations and full evaluation.
Is this process time efficient?
Generally, an inperson patient consultation takes anywhere from 45 minutes to over one hour, and sometimes longer if the patient hasn’t completed the pre-consult paperwork. In addition, if the patient has any health concerns that we only establish during this in person consultation, they may not be candidates for surgery until a later date. This is very time consuming for both the patient and the doctor. The Virtual Consultation eliminates the time to complete paperwork, take photos and review the chart before meeting in the office. That systems saves us a lot of time and has made our team far more efficient.
Is it secure?
One of our concerns prior to implementing AestheticLink into our practice was the compliance of privacy through e-mail and texting and those issues have been alleviated with using AestheticLink. It is a HIPAA compliant portal and I do let our patients know that before they begin use of the system. I think that just makes the patient feel more secure. It definitely makes us feel more secure.
What’s your favorite aspect of the Virtual Consultation with AestheticLink?
What I really like is that after surgery we can continue to communicate with patients via this software application is an efficient and effective manner. The patients love it and we are able to easily keep building on the relationship we have established.
To listen to Dee Horning on Aesthetic Insider™ Radio CLICK HERE!