This week we sat down with Dr. Trevor M. Born, one of North America’s leading practitioners in the field of cosmetic plastic surgery. He is a thought leader who is committed to improving patient engagement, experience and quality of care for surgery. Dr. Born founded TMB Cosmetic Surgery in Toronto in 1996 and since then has also expanded to include a practice in New York City on Fifth Avenue. He is also currently on staff at Lenox Hill & MEETH Hospital in New York City.
Why is the patient experience so important to you?
There’s a lot of choice out there for patients seeking a plastic surgeon, but the actual level of aesthetic quality is still low. People get swayed by a lot of different factors and I think the most important factor, other than true quality of results, is a patient’s whole experience: from the moment they contact the office, to the time they have their procedure, follow up and recovery. If those parts are not done well, then patients may not remain with the practice. We want patients to have a great experience, so they tell their friends and return to the practice for other procedures.
How do you provide a great patient experience?
We provide the following 5 components to deliver a great patient experience:
- Providing a personalized experience. When patients come to the office they do a consultation with the nurse and myself. We don’t have them meet just anybody to learn what their options are – we want to make sure they meet a team who has great knowledge about what can be achieved for that individual.
- Focusing on the peri-operative experience. The peri-operative experience is not only communication with the office for the initial visit, but it’s also the follow up communication and making sure that the patient’s questions have been answered. We make sure that patients have a good structure that they can follow for their post-operative and follow-up instructions, so that the patients have confidence they will be taken care of in case there are questions or concerns.
- Providing an excellent nutrition plan. For a great peri-operative experience, patients need to have a great nutrition plan. We have a protocol around supplements and we make sure that our patients are not smoking or drinking alcohol. This helps speed up their wound recovery and dramatically improves results.
- Eliminating fear of pain. People have a big fear of pain with surgery, and I think that our practice more than any other focuses heavily on preventing pain. We make sure that patients have pain medication on board before surgery, so when patients wake up they’re comfortable and can go home with very minimal use of narcotic pain medication.
- Following up with patients. We make sure that all patients have their follow up scheduled. So if there are any concerns or complications, they’re caught early.
What are your biggest challenges today when educating or engaging patients?
I think the biggest challenge is the Internet. A lot of patients go online and read about procedure related information that is completely inaccurate. There may be positive or negative surgery experiences reported on the internet, but a lot of them are out of proportion and misguide patients. An example of misrepresentation is the inaccurate information online about the safety of liposuction – when, in fact, liposuction as a surgical procedure is very safe and the instance of complications is very low.
Another challenge is patients understanding their recovery time and adhering to protocols. Compliance to instructions is always a challenge and we’re constantly finding new ways to improve our patient experience.
How is technology helping you better care for your patients?
I think technology is only as good as the person using it. It’s great if people are willing to take the time to use an application or read their email in order to utilize the technology to get accurate information or follow-ups.
I use SeamlessMD, a patient engagement and remote monitoring solution that helps me guide my patients through surgery. I use it to follow up with my patients and monitor their progress remotely. It’s great because now we know exactly when someone is following the steps in their protocol to help them recover from their surgery. It’s also been very good in terms of improving patient satisfaction.
We’ve also started to notice that most people look up rating sites such as RateMDs or RealSelf. We have a protocol around asking our patients to give us ratings if they are satisfied with their results, but getting someone to complete their ratings is often quite challenging. I’m sure there are people who have hundreds of ratings on their website but reality is what value do they provide?
Which is why we focus on capturing quality ratings which talk about the patients experience, and SeamlessMD has helped us solve this problem as patients get sent to testimonial websites once they have recovered.
Are you a thought leader in digital health or do you know someone who is? Give me a shout at email@example.com – I would love to chat!
This post was written by Moin Virani, Growth Manager at SeamlessMD.