2020-04-17

Start your journey with a video consultation

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Video consultations are helping patients start their treatment journey straight away despite the coronavirus restrictions, Clinic Manager & Patient Advisor Stefanie tells us

When Stefanie visited Transform 10 years ago for her breast augmentation surgery, she was 21 and unsure what she wanted to do as a career. But speaking to her Patient Advisor was a lightbulb moment.

“I knew that I wanted to become a Patient Advisor myself. I felt it was something that I would be good at,” she remembers. “I was delighted with the results after my own surgery and impressed by the company itself. I was so enthusiastic about joining Transform that I applied for 8 Patient Advisor roles in different clinics over a period of months! I would have travelled across the UK to make my dream come true. After a while the company gave me the chance I’d been looking for and I became a Patient Advisor in Cardiff, which fortunately was close to where I lived. Maybe they were getting tired of reading my application forms!”

Stefanie enjoyed learning all about the role and advising and guiding her. She says, “I’m a people person and I had been right – this role was perfect for me.”

While most people might imagine that the main reason for someone looking to change their face or body is simply vanity, Stefanie’s experience as a Patient Advisor tells her that isn’t a true reflection of their motivations for treatment. “In reality, most patients decide to have surgery because they’re struggling – they have one or more aspects of their body that they are very unhappy with. It can severely affect their confidence levels,” she explains. “In many cases, they’ve tried everything else they can think of to remedy the situation before they come to Transform. We know how emotional it can be when our patients meet their Patient Advisor for the first time. They can be upset because of the challenges their body has presented to them, and now they know that they can get the help they need.”

Stefanie has enjoyed steady progression in her time at Transform, firstly being promoted to Clinic Business Manager/Patient Advisor after 5 years before becoming the Registered Manager of the clinic as well. “I’m responsible for the day to day running of the Cardiff clinic, including our overall standards of patient care, supporting and training my team of 9 colleagues and carrying out clinic audits. It’s a busy role and I enjoy the camaraderie of the team and the daily interaction with our patients.”

With the arrival of COVID-19, though, Stefanie is now working from home carrying out Patient Advisor duties for the foreseeable future. The hands-on role she loves so much is on hold just now. While she’s missing her colleagues and her face to face contact with her patients, she remains upbeat. “It’s very different being at home without the team around me, but it’s great that I can still speak to our patients,” she says. “I’m supporting our Cardiff, Exeter and Bristol clinics’ patients just now. I have a good support network myself within the business, including daily communication with my manager and our contact centre, so my days are always busy!”

A key element of Stefanie’s role just now is facilitating surgeon video consultations with patients, so that they’re ready to go ahead with their treatment straight away after the government restrictions are lifted. She says, “While patients aren’t currently able to visit a clinic, they can still start their journey towards the procedure they really want this way. I set up the patient’s video consultation, welcome them, take notes while they’re chatting to their surgeon, and I’ll always make sure that they’re completely happy with everything at the end of the appointment.”

Stefanie is delighted at how well the video consultations have been received by patients. “They’re going really well!” she says. “Our patients are very comfortable with them, because everyone is so used to video calls and meetings these days. Having a virtual consultation means that they don’t need to wait – they can go ahead and can get the information they want while they’re at home with time on their hands. They’ve been very happy to chat away to their surgeon and ask all their questions about treatment. Once they’ve had their consultation, our patient know that they’re suitable for the procedure they want, and their appointment is booked to go ahead in a few months’ time.”

In fact, video consultations have proved so popular that they’ll remain an option for Transform patients in the future. Stefanie points out, “Patients who live quite a distance away from our clinics – for example, in West Wales – can find it expensive to travel to the clinic in Cardiff for a face-to-face consultation. And no matter where you live, modern life means that we’re all time-poor. It’s great news that video consultations are here to stay, because we can help more patients gain the confidence that they’ve been searching for.”