When it comes to using technology for marketing purposes, cosmetic surgeons are at the forefront. After all, in the world of elective surgery two things need to happen for a given physician to have a successful practice. First, prospective patients must decide to submit to the knife and the surgeon must often be the one chosen operate.
In the process of “patient acquisition,” as it’s called, technology is key. Now, cosmetic surgeons have a new device in the toolkit: the online consultation. Like other bits of technology, the online consultation can be useful for you as a patient too. You just need to understand both the power and the limitations of this new option and use it appropriately.
Many plastic surgeons have been doing in-home consultations by phone for years. The new Web site, SurgeonHouseCall.com, automates the process further and adds a new aspect. It “shops” the procedure you’re considering and enables surgeons to respond to you.
Here's how it works. You visit SurgeonHouseCall.com and fill out an online form with information about you and the procedure you’re considering. Then you upload images of the area you’re interested in addressing. As many as three surgeons will then get back to you with a possible surgical plan and a rough estimate of the cost. The founder of SurgeonHouseCall.com, Dr. Jason Mussman, says that when patients go through the online process and commit to a procedure they can then, "meet face-to-face with the doctor of their choice and have a much more focused conversation detailing specific outcomes and scheduling.”
Many people who undergo cosmetic surgery consider their options for months and even years before moving forward. Many patients do an incredible amount of research before committing, and only then start the search for the right surgeon. They look at the Web sites of professional organizations, like the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), they join forums and they browse individual surgeons’ Web sites. It’s hard to imagine that someone who has put time into the decision-making process and has some Internet skills would learn much more from three quick Web-based consults.