Survey: Pandemic’s Impact on Dermatology Practices and Patients

The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery investigated how the COVID-19 pandemic affected both dermatology practices and patients from staffing reductions to telehealth.

The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) explored how the COVID-19 pandemic affected dermatology practices and patients through its “Pandemic Impact Survey.” The survey asked questions on personal protective equipment (PPE) sourcing, staffing reductions, hiring challenges, changes in patient communications, procedural shifts, and telehealth implementation, according to the press release.

“It’s important to learn from the past to shape our response and decisions for the future,” shared ASDS president Sue Ellen Cox, MD, FAAD, Durham, North Carolina. “This survey reveals the significant challenges our membership experienced, but even more so, highlights our ability to overcome obstacles, innovate to provide the best patient care and advance the future of our specialty.”

Practice Impact

Of the responders, 72% experienced PPE supply challenges and 90% had limited operation during some period of the pandemic, with more than half forced to reduce staff.

Group practices (60%) and solo practices (49%) were the most impacted by employee reductions. Many of the members had trouble rehiringstaff, withstabilized staffing challenging for 85% of those surveyed.

Patient Impact

There was evenmore interest in telehealth appointments, the survey showed, with an overall 187% increase in telehealth appointments with responders.The survey participants claimed that telemedicine pre-pandemic saw a 226% increase in telehealth appointments. Also, many responders have had to adapt their type of patient communications. Digital forms of communication rose with responders increasing emails (47%), social media (27%) and offering virtual education options (21%).

Procedural Impact

Many patients have delayed coming back to the practice, with 83% of responders’ patients experiencing delays in skin checks or skin cancer follow up care. Also, 70% of survey participants observed skin cancers they assessed and treated following reopening the practice were larger or more aggressive by the time the patient was examined, according to the release.

As many more people are video calling due to working from home, some have chosen to see a physician about their appearance. There were 52% of responders who welcomed new patients because of this “Zoom” phenomenon, and the effect drove 80% of responders’ existing patients to seek cosmetic treatments. The most popular cosmetic treatments during the reopening phase included wrinkle relaxing injections (65%), soft tissue fillers (54%) and laser/light/energy-based device treatments (40%).

To see the survey’s full results, visit asds.net/Pandemic-Impact-Survey.

Reference:

Discovering the Pandemic’s Impact on Dermatology Practices and Patients. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. Press Release. Published February 7, 2022. Accessed February 10, 2022. https://asds.net