RECENT Q & A
Skype and phone consultations are convenient types of appointments for patients who live far from the centre and would like advise on their diagnosis or advice on appropriate treatment. These types of appointments are not appropriate for everyone - as some types of hair loss require an in person up close examination of the scalp in order to properly assess the scalp. These appointments are also not appropriate for patients who wish to become long term patients of Dr. Donovan and have periodical evaluation and follow up appointments in the future - such patients are required to have an in person consultation in Vancouver FIRST. Follow up appointments in the future may be possible via skype or phone, but the first appointment MUST be in person for anyone wishing long term care and advice.
The very first step is to send us your blood tests results, biopsy results, photos and questionnaire. These are mandatory for all patients requesting skype appointments. Without these, we can't begin the process of building your file for Dr. Donovan to review. If you don't have blood tests done from the last 12 months, you'll need to get them done. If you don't have photos, you'll need to take them. If you don't have biopsy results, there is a good chance we won't approve your consult request (except consults pertaining to a diagnosis of alopecia areata as Dr. Donovan does not require biopsy results for patients with alopecia areata).
Once we receive the four pieces of information from STEP 1, we put it in a file. Every week Dr. Donovan reviews Skype and phone requests and let's our administrative team know whether a given patient qualifies for a remote consultation or not. If we don't have your complete file, we can't present it to Dr. Donovan for review.
If Dr. Donovan states that you do qualify for a Skype or phone consultation, we'll help you find a time to speak with Dr. Donovan. If you don't qualify, we'll let you know as well.
From our perspective, your appointment begins 24 hours before the actual date of your appointment. Dr. Donovan will review your blood tests, questionnaire information and photos again and make notes.
On your appointment day, Dr. Donovan will reach out to you by Skype or phone. You do not need to contact us. He will review important pieces of information and ask you many additional questions. Consultations typically take between 35 and 45 minutes - and sometimes even longer. Please reserve 1 hour from your schedule as remote consultations can sometimes take this long.
Within 21 days of your appointment, Dr. Donovan will send a letter to you outlining the information that was discussed and the treatment plan that was outlined. You can then take this letter to your physician or trichologist for further review. Please remember that if you require a second appointment with Dr Donovan, you’ll need to come to Whistler. Dr Donovan does not provide ongoing care for patients having remote consultations. It is a one time appointment only.
1. Why does Dr. Donovan not offer future follow up appointments for his remote consultation patients? Why is it just a one time appointment?
Dr. Donovan firmly believes that the PROPER diagnosis and treatment of hair loss requires AT LEAST ONE in person evaluation. The photos and dermatoscopic images that patients send to us are helpful BUT DO NOT REPLACE NOR SUPERCEDE the value of an in person evaluation.
The proper and thorough evaluation of hair loss MUST include an up close examination of the scalp. Of course, the evaluation of photos, biopsy reports and blood tests is helpful but only a 'second best.' The proper and thorough evaluation of hair loss MUST include an up close examination of the scalp.
Dr. Donovan is willing to guide people with their hair for their entire lifetime. However, if that huge responsibility is to be placed on him, he MUST see the scalp at least once to determine ALL diagnoses that are present (and not just what a photo or biopsy suggests). Dr. Donovan wants to give people the best advice possible and the best and most comprehensive advice can only come following a close examination of the scalp. Many people have more than one diagnosis and these are easily missed with just a photograph or a biopsy.
2. Is their any way to get my final summary consult report from Dr Donovan sooner than 21 days?
In these situations, we would simply recommend you advise our office. While we can not guarantee that your letter will be ready sooner, we will do everything we possibly can to get the final consultation report to you sooner.
3. I don't have a biopsy. Can I still have a remote consultation from Dr. Donovan?
Usually not. The only time a remote consultation is permitted without a biopsy is for patients with alopecia areata.
A remote consultation is a very special type of consultation. It's not simply a meeting with Dr. Donovan for people who live far away from our office. (that's a common error). A remote consultation is a special type of consultation for patients who already undergone an extensive amount of evaluation (including BIOPSY and BLOOD TESTS) and still require Dr. Donovan's advise.
If you do not have a biopsy, you may wish to submit all your blood tests and complete our questionnaire and Dr. Donovan will evaluate whether he would make an exception. Usually he does not but there are rare circumstances where he will agree to a remote consultation without a biopsy.