RECENT Q & A
Please let us know if you have questions about setting up your first appointment with Dr. Donovan. These are some of the most commonly asked questions we get.
1. Do I need a referral to have an appointment with Dr. Donovan?
A referral is not needed because our clinic is private. However, should any of your physicians wish to send us a referral note, we will send them a summary of your visit. If you wish to have a referral package to give to your physician, you can download it here
p2. Should I see my dermatologist or family doctor first before coming to see Dr. Donovan?
A good starting point for hair loss is your family doctor and he or she can then refer you to a dermatologist if there are further concerns. In general, Dr. Donovan sees patients who have ALREADY BEEN ASSESSED by one or more physicians about their hair loss. We strongly recommend that most patients see their family doctor or dermatologist as a starting point for reviewing the cause and appropriate treatments.
3. How long is the wait time for an appointment ?
We are currently doing our very best to limit wait times to no longer than 4 months. Patients who require earlier appointments for emergency types of hair loss (rapid alopecia areata, scarring alopecias) may wish to indicate this when completing the contact request form. Please be sure to let us know if you feel you need to be evaluated on an urgent or semi-urgent basis as we keep several openings every week for this specific purpose.
4. How do you treat hair loss?
We treat hair loss first by understanding the precise diagnosis or reason the patient is losing his or her hair. In total, there are over 100 reasons to lose hair. For some patients there is more than one diagnosis responsible for the hair loss. Once we determine the diagnosis, we can then discuss a wide range of treatment options, including prescription treatments, over the counter treatments and in office treatments. We don't have one treatment fix all cures in our clinic .... but treatments backed by clinical evidence depending on the diagnosis.
5. I see your clinic requests me to have blood tests. I can't get them because I don't have a family doctor. What should I do?
We recommend that all patients see a physician as a first step in their work up and evaluation for their hair loss. Our clinic is not generally a starting point as we typically see patients who have already seen a physician first and had an appropriate basic evaluation completed. A basic evaluation usually includes a review of the patient's story, a scalp examination and typically blood tests as well. If you do not have any blood tests from the last 1-2 years, we may or may not be able to accept you as a new patient until these tests are done. This will be reviewed with Dr Donovan on a case-by-case basis. If Dr. Donovan decides you can proceed with an appointment and waive the need for pre-visit blood tests, he will order them for you after he meets with you. You can have your blood tests performed at various labs in Vancouver/BC area or at labs closer to your home. Because our clinic is a private clinic, you will be responsible for the fees associated with these tests, and the lab can tell you the specific fees at the time of your testing. You can read more about this in the following links
5. I see Dr. Donovan recommends patients have blood tests. Can they be just general kinds of tests or do I need the specific ones you have listed?
Dr. Donovan is trying to determine the accurate cause of your hair loss and therefore hair specific tests are needed. Generally tests may or may not be relevant to the diagnosis of hair loss. The proper evaluation of hair loss requires assessment of specific tests which are found in the following link.
If you do not have any blood tests from the last 1-2 years, we may or may not be able to accept you as a new patient until these tests are done. This will be reviewed with Dr Donovan on a case-by-case basis. If Dr Donovan decides to waive the need for blood tests, he may then order them for you after he meets with you. You can have your blood tests performed at various labs in Whistler or Vancouver or closer to home in whatever country you live. Because our clinic is a private clinic, you will be responsible for the fees associated with these tests, and the specific lab you plan to go to can tell you the specific fees at the time of your testing. Most of the patients we see come to see us after having had first time evaluations and so they have had these types of blood tests already ordered.
6. My doctor is going to order some blood tests before I come see Dr. Donovan. However my doctor wants to know more about why these tests are needed? Can you help me?
All patients with hair loss need screening tests. There are hundreds of tests that could be ordered but there are a series of tests that are appropriate for anyone with hair loss. These are outlined in the links below.
7. My doctor has done lots of tests before. Can you give them a call and ask them to send over my results to you?
We would be happy to help coordinate this. Please complete the attached form in order to give us your formal written permission to request your results. Please note that we are not able to simply phone your doctor's office without your permission IN WRITING first. Please complete the attached form and send back to us:
8. How many minutes will be first appointment be?
First time appointments are generally 30-40 minutes in duration. In rare situations, the appointment can last 45-50 minutes. Dr. Donovan generally runs on time but please plan to arrive 5-10 minutes before your scheduled appointment to complete appropriate paper work.
9. Should I wash my hair before my appointment ?
Don't worry about the timing of your hair washing. If you washed your hair the same day, that is fine. If you washed your hair 5 days ago, that is also fine. The most important thing is to simply make note of WHEN you washed your hair as that information will be important to Dr. Donovan.
10. Does Dr. Donovan see infants and children ?
Yes, Dr. Donovan sees patients from newborn to the very elderly.
11. I have questions for Dr. Donovan that I would like to ask him prior to my visit. Can you have him call me back?
We are happy to make sure your questions get answered. Dr. Donovan does not contact patients prior to their appointment by any means except letter mail. Some questions you may have will require Dr. Donovan to see you and know more about your story and see you scalp up close. If you have questions prior to your visit, please address them directly to our team. Our team is experienced and can answer the vast majority of questions. If necessary, we will speak to Dr. Donovan and review any medical related questions with him that we can not answer. Please note that most medical related questions can not be answered without Dr. Donovan seeing the patient. Also, take note that Dr. Donovan is not permitted to give specific medical advice to any patient on any matter without first reviewing their history, blood tests and examining their hair loss. This is a strict policy of the office. Please review the following helpful link on questions prior to the apportionment.
If your questions are of a private nature, you can write to Dr. Donovan at this office. Please see the following link for details on how to do this.
12. Does your office offer Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatments?
No, our office does not offer PRP treatments
13. Can I get a biopsy same day as my initial appointment?
Usually a biopsy must be scheduled for another time. We set aside 35-40 minutes for your initial consultation and usually there is not enough time for the biopsy (i.e 15-25 minutes) the same day as Dr. Donovan has another patient to meet with after your appointment. We strive to run on time in our clinic and limit any delays (i.e. running behind) as many patients are coming from far away and may have flights to catch. If for some reason you know ahead of time that you wish to have a biopsy or your dermatologist or hair restoration surgeon has recommended that you see Dr. Donovan for the purposes of a biopsy, please let us know ahead of time (at least 3 weeks) so that we can adjust the day's schedule to accommodate the time needed for a biopsy.
To learn more about scalp biopsies, visit our page on Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Scalp Biopsies.
14. Does the fee for the appointment also cover the treatment costs?
No, the appointment fee covers the fee for Dr. Donovan's professional advice. Many treatments are either prescription or over the counter. If a prescription is required, Dr. Donovan will give you a prescription.
15. I am Canadian. Will my provincial insurance in my home province cover the visit?
Our office is a private office and Dr. Donovan does not participate in MSP or participate in reciprocal billing with other provinces. We encourage all patients who are interested in getting part or all of their visit fees covered by any type of insurance to look into this and receive confirmation PRIOR to their appointment with Dr. Donovan. We will provide a receipt for the visit which can be sent to insurers. Although some third party private insurance companies will cover a portion of the visit fees, most provincial insurance plans in Canada (ie. OHIP in Ontario and Alberta Health) will not reimburse for this visit. Be sure to contact your respective insurers well in advance of your appointment with Dr. Donovan about these issues.
Please refer to Policy 16 of our Hair Clinic Policies.
16. I am a non Canadian patient and have private insurance. Will you accept my insurance to cover the fees associated with the visit?
Our clinic does not participate in any type of billing through third party insurance companies. Fees for the appointment are the responsibility of the patient and are due immediately following the end of the appointment. Patients with separate health insurance (i.e. work related insurance or other insurance), may wish to contact their individual insurance companies to discuss whether a portion or all of the appointment related fees will be covered prior to their appointment with Dr. Donovan. There are fees for all follow up appointments and all blood tests, biopsies, swabs ordered through our clinic. We will provide a receipt for the visit which can be sent to insurers.
17. I am a Canadian patient and have private insurance through a health spending account. Will you accept my insurance to cover the fees associated with the visit? How do I get reimbursed?
Our clinic does not participate in any type of billing through third party insurance companies. Fees for the appointment are the responsibility of the patient and are due immediately following the end of the appointment. Patients with separate health insurance (i.e. work related insurance or other insurance), may wish to contact their individual insurance companies to discuss whether a portion or all of the appointment related fees will be covered PRIOR to their appointment with Dr. Donovan. There are fees for all follow up appointments and all blood tests, biopsies, swabs ordered through our clinic. We will provide a receipt for the visit which can be sent to insurers.
18. Will I receive a summary of my diagnosis and treatment plan? Will my doctors?
Yes, you will receive a summary of your diagnosis and treatment. We will send a summary to your doctors as well - but only if you give us permission to do so. Please be sure to come to your appointment with your doctor's correct spelling, as well as their address and fax number. A letter will be sent within 3 weeks after your appointment. For example, if your appointment is August 8, we will send a letter by the end of August to your doctor.
19. If my appointment is at 10 am, should I arrive early?
We would advise to arrive 5-10 minutes prior to your appointment to simply fill out some general information about your name, date of birth and address.
We do not allow patients into the office any sooner than 1 hour prior to their appointment.
20. Is there parking located close by?
Parking is available around the area. There is metered parking in the large parking lot adjacent to our building in the Marketplace area.
21. Is there a fee for follow up appointments too?
22. How many appointments will I need?
The number of appointments depends on the diagnosis of the person's hair loss as well as which physician will serve as the primary physician for your hair loss. For example, patients with androgenetic alopecia are typically seen every 9-12 months. Patients with scarring alopecia may be seen every 3-6 months. Patients receiving steroid injections for alopecia areata or scarring alopecia may be seen every 1-3 months.
23. I understand that I don't need a referral from a doctor to see Dr. Donovan. But if I do get a referral, is the fee reduced?
No, the fees are the same regardless of whether a patient has a referral. We are a private clinic and do not bill MSP or your provincial health plan.
24. Is there an age requirement?
Dr. Donovan sees patients with hair issues from newborn to elderly. There is no age requirement.
25. How long of a wait is it to see Dr. Donovan? Is there a wait list or cancellation list to have my appointment moved up?
We work to limit waiting times. The wait is generally 3-4 months. We do have a wait list. In order to be placed on the wait list, please let our office know that you wish to be put on the cancellation/wait list. We will require that your file is "complete" in order to add you to our cancellation list, meaning that we have receive BOTH of the following.
a) received your questionnaire
b) received your blood tests
If you have any questions about being placed on our wait list/cancellation please let us know. Please note that there are no exceptions to the above two requirements.
26. What is the success rate of treatments?
The success rate depends on the diagnosis of the person's hair loss. For example, a patient with a patch of alopecia areata has a 90 % chance of regrowth with steroid injections. A male with androgenetic alopecia has a 40-50 % chance of improvement or stabilization with finasteride. A patient with lichen planopilaris has a 40-65% chance of stopping their disease with hydroxychloroquine and steroid injections. As you can see, it all depends on the diagnosis of the person's hair loss.
27. Where do I go to get my blood tests completed?
We recommend that anyone with hair loss see their family doctor as a first step. Your family doctor may then order various screening tests for your hair loss. Your family doctor may refer you to a dermatologist if additional assistance is needed. If you do not have any blood tests from the last 1-2 years, we may or may not be able to accept you as a new patient until these tests are done. This will be reviewed with Dr Donovan on a case-by-case basis. If Dr Donovan decides to waive the need for blood tests, he may then order them for you after he meets with you. You can have your blood tests performed at various labs in Whistler or Vancouver or closer to home in whatever country you live.
28. Should I be fasting for my cholesterol tests?
It's a good idea to speak to your physician about whether or not you should be fasting for these test or not. Certainly, new studies suggest that it may be better NOT to fast before getting your cholesterol tested and new International Guidelines released 2016 support this notion. These recommendations comes from studies of over 300,000 patients who had tests without fasting. You may have long assumed that fasting overnight before getting your cholesterol testing would give a more accurate assessment of total cholesterol, harmful LDL cholesterol, protective HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. New very interesting research now show you are wrong.
All in all, we encourage patients to review these specifics with your physician.
29. What is the cancelation policy?
We require a full 48 hours notice. To review our cancellation policy click on the link
30. When do I pay for the appointment?
For appointments in the office, you can pay for the appointment after the appointment. If for any reason, you wish to pay before, that is acceptable, but not necessary. There are circumstance where an appointment is paid before hand. For example, an individual who is having the appointment fee paid by another individual may pay before hand. This would include a child, for example, who is brought in by a caregiver and the appointment is being paid for by the parent. All patients having remote consultations (skype, phone, FaceTime) are required to submit payment no later than one week before the appointment.
31. Am I able to pay in instalments? Do you have a payment plan?
Payment, in full, is required at at the time of the appointment. We do not have a payment plan.
32. What methods of payment do you accept?
We accept cash payment, debit and payment by most credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, AMEX).
33. Does the clinic offer appointments with additional levels of privacy?
Please contact the office directly with the specific request. We are generally able to accommodate with advanced notice of 4-6 weeks.
34. If I normally wear hair fibers (like TOPPIK) should I remove this before my appointment or is it okay to wear to by appointment?
Please make sure all fibers are washed out of the scalp well before your appointment. If you feel that you need to wear these please let us know. We will likely ask you to reschedule your appointment. There should be NO FIBERS in the scalp in order for Dr. Donovan to properly assess your scalp. This request is for your benefit so that you can have a thorough assessment. Please choose an appointment date and time that allows you to come without camouflaging products in your scalp. If you are rushing from a meeting to your appointment and must have your fibers in during the meeting, this may not be a good day to schedule and appointment with Dr. Donovan.
35. I have decided to bring additional blood tests to the appointment rather than email or fax them ahead of time. Should I come early?
We require patients to submit blood tests before we can book an appointment. If there are other tests you have, we would strongly encourage patients to send ALL test results ahead of time.
If you have additional test results and do not wish to send them to us, please come 15 minutes early so that we can photocopy your test results. The results will be reviewed by Dr. Donovan during your appointment time. Should you wish Dr. Donovan to review your results ahead of time, please email, fax or mail them so they arrive 24 hours before your appointment. Dr. Donovan reviews all patient files the day prior to the appointment. If you choose to bring results on the day of the appointment, they will only be reviewed DURING the appointment.
We would prefer these are sent ahead of time if at all possible. Dr. Donovan likes to review notes, blood tests, consult notes from other physicians 48 hours ahead of each patient's appointment. These records can be faxed, emailed or mailed to us. Even if you have a large binder of records, it is quite common in our practice for this to be couriered to us ahead of the appointment. (Of course let us know if you mail us large numbers of records if you would like them returned back on the day of your appointment - otherwise Dr. Donovan is likely to write on them.) If you choose not to send records ahead of time, a significant amount of the time Dr. Donovan has allotted for your appointment is spent reviewing your notes. Dr. Donovan prefers he spends time reviewing your medical information long before you even set foot in the door. But the choice is yours.
36. Will I need a scalp biopsy?
For most patients, a scalp biopsy is not required. However, in some situations a scalp biopsy is the only means to determine the precise reason for hair loss. Dr. Donovan will advise you if he feels a scalp biopsy is necessary.
37. If Dr. Donovan wants me to return for a scalp biopsy, do you have advice on how I should prepare and the kinds of things I will need to do afterwards?
If you are planning on having a scalp biopsy, please take time to review these simple pre and post procedure instructions.
A scalp biopsy is a 20 minute procedure that allows Dr. Donovan to obtain a few hairs (and the surrounding skin). This specimen will be sent off to the pathologist for further evaluation. The procedure is very safe and should not be a cause for worry for you. Some minor tenderness can occur for a few days in the area where the biopsy was taken. Dissolving stitches will be placed in the area - it takes approximately 6-8 weeks for the stitches to dissolve fully. A small scar will be present permanently in the area where the biopsy was taken.
38. Should I bring photos from years gone by?
Yes, photos are ALWAYS helpful. Please limit to no more than 10 photos. Generally 1-2 photos normally is sufficient.
39. How long is the first and second appointment?
Your first appointment is generally 35-40 minutes. The second appointment (and beyond) is typically 20-25 minutes.
40. I am coming from a 3 hour flight away. Should I stay overnight at a nearby hotel? Will there be any tests the following day?
For most patients, all testing can be completed in the same day. Please let us know how we can help coordinate your appointment. If you are unsure, please ask.
41. Do you have a list of hotels in case I do decide to stay overnight?
Absolutely, attached is a list of hotels our patients have stayed at.
42. Will you send a letter to my doctor?
When you arrive for your appointment, we will ask you to provide the name, and fax number of the main physician who you would like us to send results. We will fax a letter to that physician. Please come to your appointment prepared with the full name (and proper spelling), and fax numbers of your physicians. A letter is sent within 3 weeks of your appointment.
43. I would like Dr. Donovan to send a copy of my results to my mom. How do I go about arranging this?
In order for our office to send results to ANYONE but your doctor, we will need you to complete the attached from. Please list the name, email address and mailing address of the individual. We will EMAIL them a copy of the result you have requested. We do not send results to family members, spouses, children without the permission of the patient.
44. I am not so good with understanding all my results and tests and would like Dr. Donovan to send a copy of my results and all details to my son. How do I go about arranging this?
In order for our office to send results to ANYONE but your doctor, we will need you to complete the attached from. Please list the name, email address and mailing address of the individual. We will EMAIL them a copy of the result you have requested. We do not send results to family members, spouses, children without the permission of the patient.
45. I would like to speak to a current patient of the clinic to know more about what to expect with my appointment and treatment?
We do not, under any circumstances, provide names or details of any patients in Dr. Donovan's practice.
46. I see that you have photos on your website in a few areas of patients. Can you tell me if Dr. Donovan will take photos of my scalp and how my photos will be used?
Photos are never used without a patient's permission. If Dr. Donovan decides that photos are needed for your care, you will be asked to sign a consent form indicating whether you wish to have your photos kept private and just for your chart, or whether you give permission for the photos to be used in teaching and research purposes as well. Photos are used in teaching and research only with appropriate patient consent.
47. I live in the UK. Will Dr. Donovan's prescription be valid in the UK?
Dr. Donovan's prescription are valid only in Canada. You have the option to fill the prescription here before leaving. Many patients however follow up with their own practitioners back home to review Dr. Donovan's recommendations. Prescriptions are then copied by the local physician. Dr. Donovan is happy to forward your physician a consultation note, so please let us know if this is required.
48. I will be driving from 4 hours away with my sister. She might want to see Dr. Donovan about her hair too. Can this be made possible for us?
Your sister will need a separate appointment. Please have your sister contact the office to complete the online questionnaire and coordinate forwarding any blood test results or other results. It will likely take a full 35 minutes for Dr. Donovan to review your details, examine your scalp and provide you with recommendations. There will not be time for him to address your sister's concerns. If you give us enough notice (generally 8 weeks), we will arrange the schedule so you and your sister can have back to back appointments (for example one at 2 pm and one at 2:45 pm). Please let us know how we can best help.
49. I want to record the visit with a microphone recording device. Is this acceptable?
It is possible - with a few considerations. Please be certain to let Dr. Donovan know the meeting is recorded so that we can help you make the most out of your recording and protect your privacy.
50. I am wondering if I can have a translator for my appointment as English is not a language that I am comfortable with.
We help patients from all over the world. We understand that some patients prefer to receive information and ask questions in a language other than English. If you would like to have a language translator in the room with you during your appointment, please let us know. You can read more information about arranging a language translator at the following link: www.donovanmedical.com/translation
51. If my treatment that Dr. Donovan has outline does not help me, and I want to speak to Dr. Donovan about the 'next steps', do I need to make another appointment?
Yes. Depending on your diagnosis, some treatments may have a high chance of helping, and others may have a more moderate chance of helping. Discussion of 'next steps' and changes in the treatment plan require booking a follow up appointment.
52. My schedule changes a lot. Am I able to change my appointment if I need to?
Yes, but please provide us at least 48 hours notice if you can't make your appointment. We do have many patients on our waiting list who will take your spot if you are not able to attend.
53. I will be coming directly from the airport. What is the cost of the taxi/bus fare?
There are buses to Whistler and typical fees are 25-35 one way.
There are a number of companies that offer these services including
1. Epic Rides
Epic Rides has several departures daily from Vancouver (Burrard Station).
Phone (or text): 604 349 1234, 7 days a week
Fares: $ 35 round trip
Pacific Coach has 4 departures daily from Vancouver as well as the Vancouver airport. Round trip fares are about $ 108.00 Phone: 1 800-661-1725 (local 604 662 7575)
Phone: 1- 800-661-1725 (local 604 662 7575)
Fares: $108.00 round trip
3. Private transfers
For private transfers from Vancouver to Whistler, please contact 1-800-944-7853 or local 604.932.0606 or visit the Whistler Tourism website Whistler Tourism
54. I will be coming directly from the airport. Can I bring my luggage to the office?
Yes, feel to bring your luggage and we will set aside. Do not hesitate in the slightest to bring your bags to the office. Many do.
55. I have some simple questions. Can I pop into the office and ask Dr. Donovan my questions?
We do not permit questions to be posed to the doctor in person. For example, we regret that do not permit patients to pop into the office with questions. ("I was just passing by the area and wanted to come in to ask Dr. Donovan a question")
Please address all questions via standard methods outlined in the following link:
56. Are there any restrictions on flying (for example, if I receive any of the treatments in your clinic)?
This are no restrictions on flying for any of the treatments or procedures we offer.
57. Is there a cancellation fee for missed appointments? Is there a fee for "no shows"?
We require 48 hours notice for any appointments that a patient is unable to attend. Details on our cancellation policy can be found in the following link CANCELLATION POLICY
58. I'd like to make an appointment with Dr. Donovan to figure out my diagnosis and to get his recommendations on an appropriate treatment plan. However, I would like to do all my follow up appointments with my own dermatologist. Is this possible?
This is okay with Dr. Donovan but we strongly encourage you to check with your dermatologist first before making an appointment with our office. You'll want to make sure that your dermatologist would be comfortable following up on Dr. Donovan's recommendations.
59. My appointment is for 1 pm, but I'm meeting someone in the area at 8:30 am. Can I come after and see if Dr. Donovan can fit me in?
Unfortunately, no. Our schedule on any given day is packed and we do not have openings. To protect the privacy of other patients, we do not allow patients into the office any sooner than 1 hour prior to their appointment.
60. I don't have hair loss, but I have scalp pain and burning. Do you evaluate patients with these types of conditions?
Yes. We see patients with these issues in our scalp dysesthesia program. For more information on these types of appointments, please click on the link below:
61. I was told that I am a good candidate for PRP by another physician. Can I come into the office for the treatment or do I need to have a consultation first?
We do not offer PRP treatments in our office
62. I was told that I am a good candidate for steroid injections by another physician. Can I come into the office for the treatment or do I need to have a consultation first?
A consultation with Dr. Donovan is required first. Dr. Donovan will need to review your information and review with you the risks and benefits of this procedure. In many cases, steroid injections may be a good option, but other treatments should be consider ALONG WITH steroid injections. A consultation is needed in order for Dr. Donovan to assess your background information, and examine your scalp. This allows him to determine if steroid injections truly are the best plan and to help you plan what to do a) if the steroid injections work and b) if there steroid injections don't work.
63. I am going to need Dr. Donovan to discuss my health with my doctor on an ongoing basis. Are there any fees associated with this?
Many of patients come from abroad and see us only once in the clinic. Dr. Donovan is pleased to review your file and discuss your hair loss with other specialists at any time within 6 months of your appointment. There are no additional fees billed to you for Dr. Donovan to speak to you doctors. Patients are required to complete our consent form (see below) for Dr. Donovan to discuss your file with another specialist:
Patients who require Dr. Donovan to have ongoing dialogue with a particular specialist will be required to have a follow up appointment with Dr. Donovan at minimum every 6 months. Depending on the specific circumstances a patient may be required to have a follow up with Dr. Donovan at more frequent intervals (i.e. at 3-4 month intervals). Please contact our office if you have questions about this.
64. My employer needs a note proving I’ll be away from work on the day of my appointment. Can you provide this?
Yes, we will provide a letter stating the date and time of your appointment. Please provide us with your employer's name and address and we will generate a letter and send to you.
65. Can I do a hair collection and drop it off before my appointment?
We don't typically allow patients to do this. First, a hair collection is usually not needed for most patients. For many patients it does not add much more to the clinical work-up. Second, it is critically important that the hair collection be performed properly and for Dr Donovan to advise you as to whether he would like a 5 day collection or a 60 second collection. A hair collection that is not obtained properly can not be analyzed. We strongly advise patients to WAIT for their appointment in order to determine if a hair collection will be needed.
66. How long will my prescriptions be good for? Will Dr. Donovan just call in the pharmacy every year to renew my medications he prescribes?
Prescriptions are valid for varying lengths of times. They are not renewed indefinitely. If you are prescribed a ‘new’ immunosuppressant medication, Dr. Donovan will need to see you every 4-6 months to know that the medication is safe and that it is working. In this case, your prescription will be valid for about 4-6 months. You will need to see Dr. Donovan if you wish the medication to be renewed by him If you have been on the immunosuppressant medication for many months and your blood tests are normal and you are not having any side effects, Dr. Donovan will likely renew the medication for a much longer period of time (i.e. 6-12 months and maybe even longer). However, once that interval expires, you will need to see Dr. Donovan again for follow up if you wish the medication to be renewed. This is to ensure your safety.
For other medications which act over a longer period of time, such as finasteride, spironolactone or minoxidil, prescriptions are valid for 9-15 months depending on the patient and how their condition is responding to treatment. If the hair loss is responding well and there are no side effects recorded at the time of the second appointment, a longer prescription renewal may be given (possibly up to 24 months). If a patient wishes the prescription to be renewed after that point by Dr. Donovan they will need to book a follow up appointment to review. Dr. Donovan will not renew the prescription without a follow up appointment.
For a link to Dr. Donovan's prescription renewal policy click on the following link
67. Are there clinics nearby where I can do any blood tests Dr. Donovan recommends after my appointment with him?
Yes, our office will provide you with information on nearby clinics at the time of your appointment.
68. Do you have any advice on travel, including arranging flights and accommodation?
If you're coming from out of country, you may wish to check with your airline if it's possible to fly in and out of Vancouver from your home city on the same day. One must account for a 2.5 hour bus ride (each way) to Whistler along with the time for the appointment. Most of our out of town patients will stay overnight nearby in Whistler.
For a list of hotels and accommodations in Whistler, please download the following helpful information
69. I will send in my previous blood tests as I see you have requested them for the first appointment. Is it possible for Dr. Donovan to look them over and tell me what else I need?
Dr. Donovan will review your file 48 hours before your visit, so no, it is generally not possible for Dr. Donovan to review your file and advise on any other tests. But the basic tests you should have had done are shown in the link below. Those are part of a basic work up for hair loss. Normally, Dr Donovan will need to review your entire story AND examine your scalp up close to determine if any other tests are needed other than the ones that are listed in the link below.
For most patients, it's really hard to say if any other tests are needed because it depends on what your scalp shows at the time of examination. We would encourage you to go through the list above and see if you have these basic tests. You may also wish to discuss with your physicians. They should have been ordered as part of your basic work up in the past. If you have any abnormal results or results out of range, you may consider asking your family doctor (or the doctor who ordered the blood tests) if any specific result should be repeated. Sometimes that can be helpful.
70. Is my vitamin D test covered in the province of BC if Dr. Donovan orders it? I've been told that if a specialist orders it in the province of BC it will be covered under MSP.
Because our clinic is private and we do not bill under MSP, there is a fee for ALL blood tests that Dr. Donovan would order. This includes vitamin D testing - tests for vitamin D are not covered in our clinic.
71. All that I'm really hoping for is a topical finasteride prescription. I can't travel to Vancouver. Can I get this from Dr. Donovan by skype consultation?
It's important to understand that a skype call is not just a type of appointment for patients who can’t make it to Whistler to see Dr. Donovan. A skype call is a specific type of consultation for patients who need a 'second opinion'. These appointments are conducted for patients who have the following items completed by another physician a) biopsy reports b) blood tests. Patients should generally be under the care of a physician already. All patients will need to complete our questionnaire, send photos and the above items (blood tests, biopsy reports) before a skype consultation can be granted. The ONLY exception to the need for a biopsy report is patients with a diagnosis of alopecia areata.
72. I would like to arrange a short call with Dr. Donovan. I don't meet the criteria for a skype call, but I just want to arrange a short phone call. Is this possible?
We do not offer this type of appointment. Dr. Donovan does phone calls and remote consultations only if patients meet the criteria set out in the section on "Remote Consultations" which includes a requirement of previous blood tests, biopsy results and completion of the questionnaire. The remote consultation is strictly a 'one time" consultation for patients who want a second opinion. Patients wishing to become long term patients and be monitored and followed by Dr. Donovan must first be seen at the Whistler office (in person). A remote consultation is not simply an appointment for patients who live far away from the office. We do not offer such a consultation. A remote consultation is a very special type of appointment for patients who want a second opinion and meet certain criteria.
73. Do you prefer I send records, blood tests, consult notes ahead of time.. or can I just bring to my appointment?
We would prefer these are sent ahead of time if at all possible. IN fact, we may not be able to accept you as a patient or provide you with an appointment date or time without this information. Dr. Donovan likes to review notes, blood tests, consult notes from other physicians 48 hours ahead of each patient's appointment. These records can be faxed, emailed or mailed to us. Even if you have a large binder of records, it is quite common in our practice for this to be couriered to us ahead of the appointment. (Of course let us know if you mail us large numbers of records if you would like them returned back on the day of your appointment - otherwise Dr. Donovan is likely to write on them.)
If you do not send records ahead of time, a significant amount of the time Dr. Donovan has allotted for your appointment is spent reviewing your notes. Dr. Donovan prefers he spends time reviewing your medical information long before you even set foot in the door. But the choice is yours.
74. I had blood tests a few months ago. Should I get again before I see Dr. Donovan or are these tests okay?
If your labs were all NORMAL, it's probably fine not to repeat them right now. However, if any lab was abnormal you'll want to ask your doctor who ordered the tests if any should be repeat now. Otherwise you can wait for your appointment with Dr. Donovan and Dr. Donovan will advise further.
75. I had blood tests 1 1/2 years ago. Should I get again before I see Dr. Donovan or are these tests okay?
If you have ongoing hair loss issues since then, it's probably good idea to repeat if more than 1 year. The precise answer depend on the diagnosis, your age and what the values actually showed. However, if a patient's hair is worse compared to when the blood test was last obtained, we generally recommend repeating at least a basic panel - CBC, TSH, ferritin, ESR, zinc.
76. Am I supposed to have blood tests done before my first appointment?
We recommend that all patients see a physician as a first step in their work up and evaluation for their hair loss. Our clinic is not generally a "starting point" as we typically see patients who have already seen a physician first and had an appropriate basic evaluation completed. A basic evaluation usually includes a review of the patient's story, a scalp examination and typically blood tests as well. This link outlines tests that we normally recommend patients have done if worried about hair loss
If for some reasons you can't get blood tests done, please let us know. We will let you know if this requirement can be waved or not. Dr. Donovan in some cases will simply order them for you after he meets with you. This is left to his discretion. You can have your blood tests performed at various labs in Vancouver. Because our clinic is a private clinic, you will be responsible for the fees associated with these tests, and the lab can tell you the specific fees at the time of your testing. You can read more about this in the following links
77. Are medical expenses related to the appointment tax deductible for Canadian residents?
We would encourage you to review this specific question with your accountant. Below is a helpful link for eligible medical expenses.
We will provide you with a receipt for your appointment which shows the date of the appointment, fees and taxes collected.
78. If I decide to have a remote consultation with Dr. Donovan first (rather than "in person"), does that preclude me from having an in person consultation in the future?
No, provided the second consultation is an in person consultation, a patient may become a long term patient. Depending on the diagnosis and treatment plan, further appointment may be by skype or in person (or a mix of both).
79. I'm a 32 year old female and just got my blood tests done. I realized now that your website says you prefer to have these done on the 3rd or 4th day of the menstrual cycle. Mine were done on day 17. Should I get them redone or just wait to see Dr. Donovan?
At this point, we would advise you wait to see Dr. Donovan. If your periods are normally regular, then it's likely fine. Just be sure to tell Dr. Donovan that the tests were not done on day 3-4 when he meets with you. If however, your periods are very irregular and you sometimes don't get a period at all for some cycles, it will likely be important to have these repeated at some point. Dr. Donovan will advise at the time of your appointment. For now, just send in any tests that you have.
80. I have read that Dr. Donovan has conducted studies with topical finasteride liposomal preparations and is currently prescribing it to some patients. Do I need a consultation or can I just get a prescription?
All patients, regardless of their diagnosis or medication they require, require an initial consultation with Dr. Donovan at the Whistler office. Please contact our office for details.
81. I know Dr. Donovan travels frequently to given lectures, teach and attend meetings. Can I meet him in another city?
All patients must meet with Dr. Donovan in Canada in the province of BC. Please contact the office for specific requests if you are wondering about other options outside Whistler.
82. I would like to refer a friend to Dr. Donovan. Is there any type of discount or credit I will receive on a future appointment of mine?
We sincerely appreciate your referral. However, our clinic does not offer a discount. Every patient is treated the same in our clinic. This is an important principle of Dr. Donovan. We treat every patient the same.
83. I am coming from quite far away. If for some reason I can't attend the appointment in Whistler, can I have a skype or phone call instead ?
For most patients, this is NOT possible. For the most accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendations, Dr. Donovan must be able to examine your scalp for the first visit. Future appointments may be possible by skype or phone call. All patients who wish to have a remote consultation must still meet the FIVE criteria for remote consultations. Provided you meet ALL of the following five criteria, then yes, Dr. Donovan would be able to have a skype or phone call with you if you can't attend in person.
1. PATIENT HAS SEEN A PHYSICIAN BEFORE ABOUT HAIR LOSS AND IS CURRENTLY UNDER THEIR CARE.
2. ONLINE QUESTIONNAIRE HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO OUR OFFICE.
3. BLOOD TESTS HAVE BEEN FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE.
4. A SCALP BIOPSY HAS BEEN DONE IN THE PAST (except for patients with alopecia areata) AND RESULTS ARE FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE.
5. PATIENT HAS SUBMITTED PHOTOS TO OUR OFFICE ALREADY.
For more details on remote consultations please visit our page on REMOTE CONSULTS
84. I am going to arrange for my results to be sent over to your clinic. I live in BC and so the lab will likely want your MSP number. What is your number?
Because our clinic is private, we do not participate in MSP. Dr. Donovan does not have an MSP number. You can either have the lab fax us the report at 604.648.9003 and given them our address (4370 Lorimer Road, Suite 334B, Whistler BC V0N 1B4). Our if you wish you can email them to us when you get a copy.
85. I understand that initial appointments are generally 35-40 minutes. However, I would like to book a longer appointment.I would really like a 90 minute spot. Is this possible ?
We do take patient concerns very seriously and it is not common for patients in our clinic to feel “rushed.” Even before your appointment, Dr. Donovan will have reviewed your questionnaire, blood tests and anything else you have sent ahead of time - generally 24-48 hours before your appointment. Please note that if your appointment is at say 10 am (as an example) then usually we have reserved 10-1040 for your appointment. There is likely another patient at 10:45 am which means Dr. Donovan would not be able to extend the appointment longer. We have a unique office in that patients do come from all over the world. Dr Donovan strives to be on time as many patients have tight airline connections. If there are issues that are not covered during your appointment, you do have the option to submit any remaining questions in writing to Dr. Donovan. Dr. Donovan will respond by letter to any remaining questions within 24 hours. This is not common that patients need to submit questions as generally the 35-40 minute appointment duration is appropriate for most patients.
However, there are situations where patients feel they would like or would need 1 hr or sometimes 1.5 hr or 2 hrs with Dr Donovan. These are normally for complex situations and often for patients who come with families to the appointment or from very long distances. There are different fees for these extended 1 hr, 1.5 hr and 2 hr appointments. Please contact the office if you require information on blocking longer amounts of time in the clinic.
86. I am coming from outside of North America and many of my tests are in my own language. They are not in English. Do I need to get translated ?
We would simply advise that you send them to use first and Dr. Donovan will review them. In some cases, we will ask you to have them translated. In most cases, however, it is not necessary as Dr. Donovan is able to interpret the results without the need for translation.
87. In addition to scalp hair loss, does Dr. Donovan diagnosis hair loss in other areas - like eyebrows, eyelashes, beard hair, body hair?
Yes, we offer comprehensive diagnosis advice for all types of hair loss. This includes eyelash loss, eyebrow loss, facial hair loss, and body hair loss
88. Will Dr. Donovan help me regrow my hair?
Whether hair regrowth is possible depends on the cause. Some types of hair loss do regrow with a high chance of success. Some types of hair loss can not be regrown but treatments may help stop them from getting worse.
89. I have a prescription from my family doctor. Can Dr. Donovan cosign it or do I need an appointment ?
All new patients need an appointment first. Dr. Donovan does not co-sign prescriptions. The fact that another physician has given you a prescription in no way means that Dr. Donovan would agree to prescribing that medication to you.
90. Should I shampoo my hair before my appointment ?
Yes, the hair can be shampooed on the same day if one wishes (it is not necessary). Please don't add fibers (TOPPIK, etc) if you normally use fibers.
91. I am seeing Dr. Donovan next week. Should I stop my medication before the appointment ?
One should continue their same routine until they meet Dr. Donovan. One should not stop their medications for the purpose of the appointment.
92. I'm looking for accommodations in Whistler close to your clinic. Where do you recommend I stay?
We have a list of accommodations that many of our patients have stayed at. For a list of hotels and accommodations in Whistler, please download the following helpful information
93. How do I get from the bus terminal to your office? Can you give me directions please?
The bus terminal is located within walking distance from our office although it is a light 10 minute walk. To get from the bus drop off at the terminal to our office you can either walk or take a taxi. If you choose to talk, you’ll first need to cross the intersection at the traffic light and head north. This will take you past the first entrance of Main Street, past the Delta and Pinnacle Hotels and past the second entrance of Main street. Turn to the right once you reach Marketplace. A taxi can take you there as well and taxis are readily available at the taxi loop.
For more details and to see a map as well, we would strongly recommend that you visit the following link and simply scroll to the bottom
The following map also provides these directions
94. Do you do second opinion consultations on pathology slides? I have recently had a biopsy and I’m not satisfied with how it was reported. It seemed like all the features were not looked at carefully. I’d like Dr. Donovan to look at my slides.
Dr Donovan will not perform second opinions on slides alone because he strongly believes histology slides should not be interpreted in isolation. A biopsy needs to be interpreted together with the blood tests and together with the patients photos and medical history (ie our lengthy 30-45 minute questionnaire). However, with an appropriate consultation, Dr. Donovan will review slides. You would need to send our office the pathology slides, biopsy reports from the past, blood tests, photos and complete the online questionnaire. Thereafter, our office would set up a meeting with you and Dr Donovan once all five of these pieces are here in the office. The cost of a consultation with Dr Donovan is $850 and the cost of histology review is $425 per biopsy sample.
95. I have been asked to send in photos of my scalp ahead of my appointment, but I’m not sure what kind of photos I should send in. Can you help me?
Dr. Donovan would appreciate photos of the following
1. Frontal hairline with the hair lifted up
2. Central part with hair parted in the middle.
3. Right temple area - with the hair lifted up
4. Left temple with the hair lifted up
5. Crown (or very top) of the scalp
6. Any concerning areas of hair loss other than these 1-5 should also be photographed.
These photos can be taken with a regular camera or smart phone and submitted to us via email. They will be added to your chart for review by Dr. Donovan ahead of your appointment (normally 48 hrs before your apportionment).
96. I have never seen a doctor about my hair loss. Would you recommend I have a first appointment with Dr Donovan or see another physician else first?
We’d generally recommend seeing another physician first. Dr. Donovan tends to see patients with more complex issues. Most patients have seen a physician before coming to see Dr. Donovan. If the diagnosis is straightforward or the recommended treatments work really well for you, it might not be necessary to see Donovan. If the diagnosis is not clear or treatments are not working, seeing Dr Donovan might be a good idea.
97. Does the fee for my first consult go towards treatment ?
No. The fee is for Dr Donovan to assist you with a correct diagnosis and help you with a solid treatment plan. Dr. Donovan will also help you with what diagnoses you might have received in the past are incorrect and what treatments don’t work.
98. If I’ve never been evaluated for hair loss before can I still come and see Dr. Donovan ?
Feel free to discuss your specific situation with us. In general we would recommend that you please complete the consult request form and submit the required blood tests to us. We will review your file and specific situation and let you know if we are able to accept you as a patient.
99. I am worried the first appointment is not long enough?
The first appointment is generally suitable timing for most patients. Once Dr Donovan reviews your blood tests and questionnaire, he will let us know if he feels we need to block off longer amounts of time (i.e. a full hour). This is left entirely to Dr. Donovan’s discretion. While it is possible for patients to book longer appointments, this is not necessary for most. Patients who wish to book longer appointments may wish to contact the office for specific details and fees. Blocks of up to 2 hours are available but rarely necessary. For 99 % of patients, a 30-40 minute first appointment is appropriate provided all blood tests, questionnaires, photos, biopsy results, (and any other details) are sent to us ahead of the appointment.
We rarely have patients express concern that they did not have enough time.
100. Can I just phone in an make an appointment?
You are welcome to phone us anytime with questions. However, we do not make appointments in this manner. We will schedule you an appointment in the Whistler office once we have received THREE items from you
a) Your completed Consult Request Form
b) Your Blood tests
101. What types of treatments do you offer for alopecia areata?
You’d want to review your situation and diagnosis fully with Dr Donovan at the time of your consultation. In general, for early alopecia areata (meaning less than 50 % of the scalp has hair loss), treatment with steroid injections, topical steroids and minoxidil may be appropriate. For more widespread hair loss, involving more than 50 % of the scalp, treatment with either diphencyprone (DPCP) or oral steroids may be appropriate. For those who still have hair loss despite these treatments, options include methotrexate, sulfasalazine and tofacitinib. In general though Dr Donovan would need to review a patient’s entire story and ideally examine the scalp before discussing treatment. For patients with alopecia areata requesting a one-time “second opinion” consultation by phone, skype or facetime, such an appointment may be considered provided photos, and blood tests are submitted for review prior. If you have any questions, simply let us know.
102. I normally dye my hair. Is is okay to dye my hair before my appointment with Dr. Donovan?
Yes, it is okay to dye the hair prior to the appointment.
103. I am planning on traveling in and out of Whistler the same day. How much time should I set aside to actually be at the office? If my appointment is 2 pm am I safe to assume I can take a 4 pm shuttle to Vancouver? Will their be any tests the next day - or is everything done on the same day?
Most initial appointments with Dr. Donovan are 35-45 minutes. That said, occasionally appointments do run an hour or more. The main unknown is whether Dr Donovan feels a biopsy needs to be done. In such a case, Dr. Donovan will generally perform the biopsy right away at the end of the appointment (should the patient agree) in order to avoid the scenario where the patient has to come back the next day. Most patients, however, do not need a biopsy (or a repeat biopsy in the situation where they have already had one).
We do our best to honour travel and flight schedules etc and for the most part alotting a maximum of 90 minutes in the office - in the event that the appointment went longer or a biopsy was needed - will suffice.
We do encourage all patients to do their very best as they make arrangements to avoid too close of connections. We are about 2 hours from Vancouver but travel times can vary up to 3 hours (and rarely 4 hours). Summer travel is usually much smoother and more reliable than winter travel. Dr. Donovan does try to run on time and as stated above we do have patients who need to leave Whistler at certain times in order to get back down to Vancouver in order to catch a flight. A patient booked at 2 pm who arrives at 3 or 4 pm due to travel problems will be seen that day by Dr Donovan but it could be 5 pm or 6 pm as Dr Donovan will generally see the 3 pm patient at 3 pm sharp and the 4 pm patient at 4 pm sharp. We try hard to run on time and want to ensure that appointments at thorough and that nobody is rushed.
104. If Dr. Donovan advises me to get blood tests after my appointment, is there a place in Whistler I can go?
Yes, many of our patients go to the Whistler Health Care Centre Laboratory
Whistler Health Care Centre Laboratory
4380 Lorimer Road
Whistler, BC, V0N 1B4
NOTE: Patients are advised to check in at the “ADMITTING DEPT” on the first floor and then come up to the blood drawing facility on the second floor once given the Okay.
HOURS: Weekdays 8:30am – 4:00pm Saturday only 9:00am – 4:00pm