Telemedicine is the next frontier. The vast majority of patients are now getting their information online first, searching for procedures, and investigating doctors and practices through reviews on Yelp, Healthgrades and others, personal recommendations, physician referrals, and cosmetic surgery forums like RealSelf. Patients are interested in taking advantage of more opportunities to communicate with, vet, and connect with potential physicians for the procedures and expertise they seek.

Virtual consultations are playing an increasing role. With online consultations, it is possible to bridge the communication gap between cosmetic patients and doctors, streamlining the consultation process. An online consultation can be started through the commonly used ‘Contact Us’ form on doctors’ websites where the patient can send comments on the procedures or areas he or she may be interested in. More sophisticated options, including elaborate virtual consultation platforms, are taking off. Virtual pre-consultations and even follow up care can be utilized to help both doctors and patients communicate more efficiently.

One innovative consultation platform is called, created by board certified plastic surgeon Gary D. Breslow of The Breslow Center in Paramus, NJ. Through Zwivel, patients can search for a doctor with special expertise, in specific locations, and connect with the doctor through this secure, HIPAA compliant platform. They can upload photos and ask direct questions before they even schedule a live consultation. This preconsultation process serves many purposes; most notably, it is a time saver and a way to prescreen patients. It is also very attractive to patients who are busy and do not have time to go to several consultations during business hours. It also has the ability to speed up the process from consultation to actually scheduling a procedure.