Cosmetic Dermatology practice in COVID times – A positive prospective – Challenges and survival

Updated: June 22, 2021 11:54 AM

Fear that stems from the unknown. Fear for self, fear for our families, fear of getting infected with the virus. This fear is true not only for us but our patients as well.

Cosmetic DermatologyA pandemic doesn’t mean that problems like acne, hair fall etc., have suddenly vanished overnight! On the contrary, we have seen an exponential increase in skin and hair issues.

By Dr Kriti Lohia, 

Submerged in the Current Pandemic of COVID -19, with the threat of the third wave hovering over us, the two biggest challenges today are – FEAR and PARANOIA.

Fear that stems from the unknown. Fear for self, fear for our families, fear of getting infected with the virus. This fear is true not only for us but our patients as well.

Paranoia, the ultimate question of ‘what if?’ ‘What if this pandemic doesn’t end?’

The only thing that kills fear is action, and paranoia is belief.

Action oriented mindset always promotes a positive outlook.

We successfully fought fear among the doctors and our staff by ensuring protection from COVID-19 by providing N95 masks, face shields, OT gowns from day one of re-opening our doors. There were no exceptions. As a result neither any patients nor staff was infected from the clinic premises.

COVID-19 insurance was purchased for all staff members- It was a way of ensuring emotional and financial support to any warrior that might contract the virus.

Instead of focussing on the sudden reduction in the total patient count across out clinics, we focussed more on patient retention. So what if we had only 1/3 rd of our original patients? If they are courageous enough to come, we will be there for them, listen to them, because amidst this lockdown human empathy became precious.

Offering them a safe, clean space, services like medicines couriered to their houses personally, earning their trust through our dedication towards them. It helped us to improve patient engagement. We went from being just their doctors, to be their friends and well-wishers as well.

The nation saw a huge shift once teleconsultation was legitimised, we capitalized on the way that would help us reach hundreds of patients at once.

Fighting Paranoia was perhaps the harder of the two. With the daily news with mounting numbers, it could have been hard to keep the spirits up. The nation was struggling, we were struggling. But, we have always considered ourselves as one huge family. One for all and all for one. Being able to see each other, talk to each other, either in person or virtually via Zoom become the best stress buster. One can call it ignorance, but most of us avoided the daily news updates.

Instead of focussing on the endless what ifs, we accepted certain hard facts.

1. A pandemic isn’t something that will be over in a matter of a few weeks or months. It could last for years. The last pandemic lasted over 2 years.

2. A pandemic doesn’t mean that problems like acne, hair fall etc., have suddenly vanished overnight! On the contrary, we have seen an exponential increase in skin and hair issues.

3. All our lives as doctors, as medical health professionals we spend running. Running from one degree to another, establishing our practises, starting our families, but we never ever had the chance to walk, to breathe, to appreciate our achievements and understand why we are doing what we do in the first place.

So we learnt to believe. Believe in ourselves, in the people working around us, in the organization, in sincerity towards our patients. The world around us was changing so we changed with it.

To educate and empower – that became our motto.

From conducting in –house online webinars for doctors, our therapists, receptionist etc, to upgrading our software, standardizing our techniques, building our capacity, re-inventing ourselves by re-investing in ourselves. In the past year, ever since the peak of the pandemic, Creative ideas and innovation has become the norm. With a staff of 110 members, creative juices are now continuously flowing. Why should one person worry, when there are 110 others to share our happiness and sadness with?

To have a positive outlook, it is important to not be affected by the ups and downs of revenue and of returns. Despite the pandemic when the clinic was doing unexpectedly well in the months of Oct 202- Feb 2021, we didn’t waver from our new found vision.

To all the young and new dermatologists, my sincere advise will be to stop worrying about the what ifs and what nots. Instead, focus on the one thing the world really needs, that we all need, which is to heal. Heal our patients which in turn helps us to heal ourselves.

Everything that starts, will eventually come to an end. But, we can’t sit in despair waiting for the end to come. The Pandemic is still upon us so don’t let your guard down, learn the lessons it has come to teach you for today, tomorrow and always.

I would just like to end with something that Albert Einstein once said, ‘Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work’. So get to work!

(The author is a practicing dermatologist based in Pune. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult health experts and medical professionals before starting any therapy or medication. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, Check out latest IPO News, Best Performing IPOs, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1Indian-American doctors raise $5 million for COVID-19 relief
2Covid-19: Long-lasting symptoms rare in children, new study confirms
3No vaccination at civic, govt centres in Mumbai on August 4 due to shortage of doses: BMC