Stoker Plastic Surgery has offered virtual consultations for many years to patients traveling from out of town, and now we’re doing them for local Los Angeles-area patients, too.
Many people considering aesthetic surgery or other treatments may want to take advantage of getting their consultations completed from the comfort of their homes. In this blog post, I’ll describe the virtual consultation process in general and how to prepare for the appointment. Our patient coordinator, Jamie, discusses with each patient what would be optimal for them.
What Happens During a Virtual Consultation?
The first step for a virtual consultation is scheduling the appointment. As with in-person consults, patients can either call our practice at (310) 300-1779 or use the online form to request the consultation. Patients then register with our practice and download and fill out the forms listed on our virtual consultation page.
Patients also need to take photos of the area of the body to be treated. They then submit the completed forms and photos using a secure online form. (The instructions are included on the virtual consultation page.)
Our office then contacts patients after receiving the photos and forms and schedules the appointment. For the consultations, patients need a smartphone, tablet, or a laptop or desktop computer with an integrated camera that supports video conferencing. We use Skype and FaceTime for the consults. It’s important to be in a private space and to wear a robe if the procedure involves private areas of the body.
A typical virtual consultation will take about 45 minutes.
Common Questions About Virtual Consults
Most of the concerns we hear from patients about virtual consultations involve privacy.
Are online connections private? Both Skype and FaceTime offer end-to-end encryption, which means no one but the people using the connections have access.
Are photos secure? All photo files attached to the consultation request form are encrypted in transport. We’ve included instructions for taking and uploading photos on our website’s virtual consultation page.
Do I need to download an application for a virtual consultation? If you have an Apple device, such as an iPhone or iPad, FaceTime is already installed. Using Skype involves downloading the app and setting up a Skype account. Jamie, our patient coordinator, will discuss which platform you prefer and provide any help you need.
What should I wear? Patients who are consulting about facial procedures can dress as they would if they were meeting in person. If you’re considering a procedure that involves a private area, we recommend that you wear a robe so you don’t have to remove clothing during the consultation.
As I mentioned, we’ve offered virtual consults for years. This isn’t new to us, so you can be confident that the process is private and secure.