Dr Rinky Kapoor, Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist & Dermato-Surgeon, The Esthetic Clinics, is a cosmetologist as well as is associated with some of the best dermatology hospitals in India. At her cosmetic dermatology clinic, Dr Kapoor ensures that people who are not comfortable with their skin are helped in the best way possible so that they can overcome their insecurities and enjoy life to the fullest. And, the current COVID-19 scenario does not bar Dr Kapoor from being available to her patients 24/7. Additionally, her team and she have been working towards putting together and sharing skin educational videos on Facebook, Instagram and her website for patient information. She shares more on how she has been managing her practice, online consultations, and plans post lockdown with Aesthetic Medicine.
How are you managing your practice through the COVID-19 outbreak?
I am not seeing patients currently as I rarely ever have emergency patients. The clinic is open though and my staff has been kept on rotational duty with some working from home and minimum few required to handle patient calls. Since I am not physically available, many patients have queries regarding continuation of medicines and timelines which need to be addressed so that their care does not suffer. All precautionary measures such as masks, soap, water and sanitisers have been taken care of for the staff. They are being reimbursed for their travel expenses and have been given special passes from the clinic so that they can travel to the clinic.
Are you conducting online consultations? How are you maintaining communication with your patients?
I am conducting online consultations. However, these are for follow-up patients and does not involve enrolling of any new patients. I charge follow-up fees for patients who would have, otherwise too, come for a follow-up consultation. However, for those with some minor issues, they have direct access to my e-mail all the time, as well as clinic WhatsApp numbers are on 24/7.
What are the challenges involved in e-consultations for doctors? Can any measures be taken to overcome these or control these?
Skin consultation hugely depends on what we see on the skin. Hence, it is easier to consult online than consulting a patient with a kidney disease for example. However, many a times, we need a 3D examination, which can only be done in a physical consult as photos cannot assist beyond a limit. Similarly, touching and feeling the skin, the skin lesion and problems underneath the skin cannot be evaluated without a physical consult. Similarly, dermoscopy and woods lamp require a physical examination. Hence, I first ask for a brief history and pictures from a patient who wishes to seek online consultation, to decide if an online consult is worth it or no, and then take a call.
How are you coping with the current situation of COVID-19? Do you have a plan in place to implement at the end of the lockdown?
End of the lockdown, there may be a sudden rush of patients. While we do not know if the lockdown may extend further; we hope it does not and the disease spread comes under control. However, precautions have been advised in the clinic for doctors, patients and staff. For example, SOP’s regarding conscious washing of hands, use of soap and water, sanitiser if needed, avoiding overcrowding of patients in the clinic, and spacing appointments accordingly, should be followed going forward as well and must be implemented into daily practice for the benefit of all. If need be, we will be increasing our working hours by an hour for a few weeks, to avoid crowding.
How are you utilising the current lockdown period to enhance your reach and connect with your clients/patients?
We are shooting skin educational videos for patients on various skin conditions, their diagnosis, available treatments, laser treatments, and treatments we offer. These videos are being shared on Facebook, Instagram and our website for patient information. I have written many articles for online healthcare portals and medical journals during this time. Also, as mentioned above, WhatsApp and email is available for our patients 24/7.