Why plastic surgeons are leaders in using the web to talk with patients

Plastic surgery is a competitive field, and as such, is a leader in using social media for marketing.

Just go to YouTube, for instance, and you’ll find a plethora of plastic surgeons vying for your business.

But in an interesting progression, they’ve also taken the lead on “e-consultations,” using Skype and other video conferencing tools to interact with patients with the hope of bringing them to their practice.

Whereas professional organizations like the American Academy of Family Physicians require that online interactions be done over a secure site, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons has no such policy. It’s pretty much the online version of the Wild West.

Connecting with an actual doctor, and getting an online quote for a procedure, are both appealing concepts — and foreign for many patients. Although there are many issues to be worked out, like offering advice over the web to someone you’ve never met and ensuring patient privacy, it’s clear that plastic surgeons have been the most aggressive physicians to utilize the web for marketing.

They have no choice. As one surgeon remarked, “If I don’t do it, somebody else will.” Nothing like a little competition to spur progress among doctors.

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