Christopher J Hwang, MD, MPH Kian Eftekhari, MD Robert M Schwarcz, MD Guy G Massry, MD
Skype video telemedicine consults are gaining popularity to evaluate patients from distant locations. No study has analyzed the utility of this means of patient evaluation in a cosmetic oculoplastic patient population.
The authors sought to provide an evidence-based analysis of the utility of Skype video consults in a cosmetic oculoplastic surgery patient population with regards to patient demographics, reasons for consult, and procedural conversion rate.
A 1-year retrospective chart review (May 2016 to May 2017) of patients who underwent aesthetic oculoplastic Skype consults from 2 authors’ practices was performed. The authors analyzed patient demographics, referral source, chief complaint, location of residence, length of consult, and conversion to face-to-face consultation and intervention.
Seventy-nine patients (60 women and 19 men) underwent Skype evaluations. Mean age was 49 years. Sixty-four consults (81%) lasted 15 minutes or less. Referral sources included the internet (67%), another physician (19%), self-referral (7.5%), referred by former patients (4%), and social media sites (2.5%). Consultations were obtained for revision (49%), or first-time (30%) eyelid/eyebrow surgery, cosmetic ptosis surgery (6%), laser skin procedures (5%), cosmetic orbital decompression (5%), and lower eyelid fat prolapse (5%). Twenty patients (25%) followed-up with in-person consultation. Sixteen of these patients (80%) had surgical (56%) or nonsurgical (44%) interventions.
Skype consults are an efficient, in-office modality to increase patient flow through the office, expand patient base, and generate income. In this report, 25% of Skype contacts followed-up with formal in-person consultations, of which 80% had surgical or nonsurgical interventions.
Sheila S Nazarian, MD, MMM
Skype is a very common solution for both aesthetic and nonaesthetic practices to meet new patients and follow up with existing patients. With the advent of social media, the demand for physicians outside of patients’ geographical areas is of higher demand. Telemedicine is a helpful tool to allow physicians to meet prospective patients without the time and the high costs of travel. It behooves the patient to see if they are a candidate for the surgery before spending time and money travelling to see their physician of choice.
As this article points out,1 the patients who came to the office after having a Skype consultation were more likely to book the procedure and were…