Aesthetic dermatology practices are eagerly awaiting to reopen and start helping patients feel and look their best after a long quarantine. However, we need to make some adjustments to our own expectations as we start to see more and more patients in the office.
New Visit Protocols
We should try to keep up with telehealth as much as possible. My practice incorporated digital early on for marketing and virtual consultations before coronavirus disease (COVID-19) was a concern, so we were prepared to do a majority of our consultations digitally. Our virtual visits require patients to send in pictures or videos of their concerns, and our staff follows up with a FaceTime or phone call to discuss those concerns. Even after reopening in early June, we continue to have a high number of virtual visits to keep risks as low as possible.
My practice is seeing roughly 60% of what we used to because of COVID-19. For office visits, our front desk now has a shield to create an essentially touchless entry, and we try to have patients fill out any paperwork online, including specific consent forms about the risks of receiving care at this time. After entry, we take the patient’s temperature with a contactless thermometer and escort them back to their exam room. Throughout the office we have hand sanitizing stations, and high-touch items/surfaces are sanitized routinely. Most importantly, patients are asked to wear a mask or face covering in public areas. We have broadcast our new visit protocols, based on recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Medical Association, as much as possible through our website, patient phone calls, emails, and social media.
We are now offering procedures and treatments that we can perform under current government guidelines and as recommended by expert working groups. This means rolling out less invasive procedures—fillers, neuromodulators, laser treatments, peels—first. Also, given COVID-19’s economic impact, patients will likely want a high-quality result for as little cost as possible, so focusing on cosmetic treatments that provide a more immediate return on investment for patients could help your bottom line too. This is why the launch of my first skin care line could not have come at a better time. On July 13, I unveiled Emerage Skin, a line of seven products and treatment kit designed to help my patients repair and rejuvenate their skin from the inside out. Each product contains a number of ingredients to improve concerns about complexion and aging, which are common areas that patients want to address in the office.
We have seen significantly more patients purchase at-home skin care products through our online store and preorders for Emerage Skin. These clinically advanced products help deliver results for my patients while they continue to practice social distancing through virtual visits and online store purchases.
Part of the success of our online store is due to our digital marketing efforts to garner patient interest. I am huge on using social media to market your practice and build rapport with potential clients.1 For example, I have hosted at least one Instagram or YouTube Live every day. Whether I am presenting alone or talking with a dermatology colleague, these videos cover a variety of topics such as my personal skin care routines, different types of retinol, and skin care tips after outdoor exercise. We have also featured collaborations with different influencers and companies in the makeup and beauty industry. These live videos are a great way to engage your target audience and showcase your practice’s products and procedures.
Regardless of how you prep your practice for reopening during the pandemic, we cannot deny how COVID-19 has had a big impact on our industry and its future. Patients are going to want medical-grade treatments for at-home use, and they’re going to want to spend less money for the same high-quality pre-COVID results. Patients are going to be savvier with their money coming out of the pandemic, and honest marketing about your available cosmetic procedures and clear communication on your new office protocols can help get your aesthetic practice back on the right track.
Dr Emer is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Emerage Medical in West Hollywood, CA.
Disclosure: The author reports no relevant financial relationships.
1. Mateja L. Go viral: tips for growing your practice with social media. The Dermatologist. 2019;27(11):38-40. Accessed June 24, 2020. https://www.the-dermatologist.com/article/go-viral-tips-growing-your-practice-social-media