I blogged last month about the ASAPS Meeting in Las Vegas and all the new things out there. One concept that the practice has introduced for some procedures is a pre – consult visit. New patients are best served by a timely consult that is not time constrained. Unfortunately, those goals are hard to accomplish at the same time. For consults that are scheduled out for greater than 1-2 months for procedures that have relatively few variations, we have been inviting patients in for an earlier pre -consultation. Pre – consults are booked for most Monday, Thursday, or Friday mornings as soon as convenient for the patient. Before the consult, the patient views online our new Understand.com 3-D educational videos. At the consult, the patient is enrolled with the practice, has photos, and then meets with an experienced Plastic Surgery Nurse. In this unhurried and low pressure setting, the patient learns more about the procedure of interest and is able to have all her (or his) questions answered. In some cases, a preliminary quote range may also be provided. The information obtained at the pre – consultation is then reviewed by me prior to the surgeon consultation. Patients have enjoyed the pre-consult as it allows them to receive information about plastic surgery as soon as possible, shortens wait times in the office, and allows for faster move up for surgeon consult and ultimately surgery if there are any cancellations. The downside, of course, is the need for two visits. If this is a problem for patients who have trouble making time for the appointment or who live at a distance, the standard all in one consult is always offered and available. We have used this approach with Breast Cancer and Breast Reconstruction patients thus far and will be including aesthetic breast and body patients who would like to be seen earlier. At this point, face and nose procedures have so many variations that they do not lend themselves to a pre -visit. This concept has worked well for many surgeons and patients nationally and I hope that it proves to be valuable in Idaho as well.
Mark D. Wigod, MD, FACS, providing Cosmetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery to Boise, Meridian, Treasure Valley and Southeastern Idaho.