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Unable to stand still: the necessary rise of the virtual consultation

02 June 2021
Volume 10 · Issue 5


In a bid to keep afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, aesthetic business owners turned away from in-clinic daily practice to consulting with patients through online means, such as Zoom. Tracey Dennison explores the implications of this and what the future may hold for the aesthetics sector

Medical aesthetic practitioners have had to learn how to develop rapport and read the body language of patients through a screen

In March 2020, like many, medical aesthetic practitioners were forced to think, work and consult differently. As a sliver of light at the end of the long COVID-19 tunnel begins to be seen, it is time to review, evaluate, take stock and figure out how and if we should pivot back. There are many instances when treating patients needs to be a hands-on experience; however, whenever possible, from March 2020 onwards, these in-clinic appointments were reserved for when actual patient contact was needed (or required by law). The rest of the time, medical aesthetic practitioners got a little more creative.

The virtual consultation/telemedicine is not a new concept: it was first used in the late 1960s as a tool of necessity for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). If people are going to be sent to the moon, they need to be kept safe while travelling approximately 20 000 mph to get there. Yet, over 50 years later, many were still unprepared when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. For years, although there had been a desire (within and beyond the NHS) to move to a more remote model for consultations, there always seemed to be more reasons why they should not be conducted than why they should be. There was always some barrier that could not be overcome, or another reason to delay. By preventing (in some cases) patients from being seen face-to-face, COVID-19 brought an end to these excuses, as medical professionals pivoted and embraced technology to do what they could with what they had.

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