What Does a Virtual Appointment Mean?
Because of the effects of COVID-19, virtual office visits have become more and more popular. In addition to increasing safety measure, these visits have the following positive benefits for patients:
- No transportation time or costs
- No need to take more time off of work than necessary for the actual visit
- On-demand options
- Access to experts in the necessary field
- Less time spent in waiting rooms
While virtual consultations are certainly beneficial, we understand they are a new experience for many, and this can be a bit intimidating. Most patients who come in for plastic surgery are not experts, and so visiting a plastic surgeon is a new experience in and of itself. For this reason, we’ve prepared the following pieces of advice for patients who are ready to take the plunge and schedule their virtual consultation:
- Make sure you have your paperwork and any reference pictures ready.
If you have the necessary paperwork ready to go before the appointment, this will help us spend as much time as we can discussing your needs and ultimately creating the best result for you. We encourage you to send us this information ahead of time so that we are fully ready to go over your options with you. In some cases, it can be helpful to send us pictures of the area you would like to enhance. While video cameras are powerful these days, they do not allow us the same insight into your chosen areas that we would be able to get in person. As the nature of plastic surgery goes, we will eventually have to meet in person. However, leading up to that point, it always helps us to get a better picture of the canvas we are working with so we can paint the most beautiful picture possible. Some of our best tips for taking great photos are:
- Take the photo without backlighting or flash. If the photo is of your face, make sure to include one where you are not smiling.
- Take the photo in front of a solid background.
- Make sure to include a straight-on photo from the front view and if the photo is of your face, pull your hair out of the way.
- Send us photos from various angles so we can get a clear picture of the area.
- The photo should show the entirety of the area we will be working with, but it should not be zoomed in to the point that we cannot see the way that part of the body works with other areas.
- Rhinoplasty patients should provide a photo with their head tilted back so we can see a clear view of the nose and nostrils.
- Write down a list of questions beforehand.
In order to get the most out of your appointment, you’ll want to prepare a list of questions to ask us beforehand. The last thing you want is to leave your appointment wishing you had communicated an issue and feeling uncertain about a part of the process. Think about how you envision your particular procedure going from start to finish. Next, think about any roadblocks that might pop up along the way. Of course, we will walk you through the necessary preparation and recovery information that you need to know. However, preparing questions for us beforehand will help us address your specific needs and help you feel reassured about your procedure.
- Make sure your camera is working properly and you troubleshoot any connectivity issues beforehand.
Technology affords us many privileges, especially during these trying times, but our computers are not flawless systems. As you have probably encountered, sometimes it takes a bit of extra work to make sure everything runs smoothly. Overall, virtual consultations are a convenient option, but only if the technology is functioning properly on both ends.
- Find a comfortable and quiet place to have the consultation.
We want to make your consultation as relaxing and pleasant as possible. Finding a comfortable and quiet place for the consultation will help us do this. It will also help us avoid miscommunications and make sure that we both understand your specific desires for your procedure.
- Don’t be afraid to speak up at any time throughout the consultation.
One of the downsides of communicating virtually is that it is not as easy to tell if someone is not understanding what was said or if someone wants to ask a question. Video calls are notorious for lagging, which can make you feel like you are interrupting even if you are not. For this reason, we encourage you to speak up at any point throughout the virtual consultation if you have a question. Don’t be afraid to feel like you are interrupting! Ultimately, this consultation is about you and it is our goal to make sure your needs are addressed. If we can do anything to make the process clearer, we are happy to accommodate.
For questions about West Coast Plastic Surgery Center, or to schedule a consultation, call us at (805) 978-8545 or contact us online.