It has been nearly 6 weeks since we shut our doors in response to the COVID crisis. During that time, we have alternated among concern, heartbreak, boredom, and inspiration, in varying amounts. One benefit of this mandatory shutdown in our practice has been an opportunity to reexamine how we operate as a business, and to perhaps improve our interactions with our patients.
One of the most fundamental shifts in my practice has been the adoption of virtual consults. This used to be a phone call, which was fine for transmitting information. A teleconference like Zoom, however, can provide a much richer experience for both patient and surgeon, and this is a platform that I only adopted 5 weeks ago in response to the stay at home order.
In the same way that my communication has evolved, the tools I now use to educate patients and illustrate potential outcomes have had to change. I have been an enthusiastic user of our Vectra 3D imaging system for 6 or 7 years and have found it invaluable. It has its limitations, however, the foremost being that it requires an in-person scan of the patient to render the simulation, something that was impossible during our mandatory closure.
Enter Crisalix, a system that has been around for several years but has now really come into its own. Unlike the hardware-based Vectra, the Crisalix software allows an accurate 3D simulation of breast augmentation, mastopexy, or reduction based solely upon 3 user-submitted photos.
Once completed by me, these simulations can be sent to the patient before the consult has even occurred, further enriching the process, and elevating the dialogue during the consultation. As partners in the decision-making process, I can guide the patient as they choose among a variety of safe but aesthetically varied results.
Moving forward, I plan to continue utilizing the Crisalix system for both virtual and in-person consults. This crash-course in remote consultation has been challenging but will ultimately result in a refined breast consultation process that is more efficient, informative, and intuitive than the one I was using before the pandemic shut us down, and I look forward to further improvements in the process over the next few months.