Doom, Gloom, and Zoom
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China and has now been seen in more than 100 locations internationally, including in the United States. The World Health Organization deemed it a pandemic in mid-March.
COVID-19 is already wreaking havoc on our social rhythms and threatening to overload the health care system. Schools are closed with no hard end date in sight and non-essential business (i.e., everything but banks, drug stores, and food stores) are facing growing restrictions. Social distancing seems to be the new and only way forward.
We should brace ourselves for cancellations and really think twice about any marketing that could be viewed as tone deaf during such a tumultuous time in our history. It’s also essential to do our part, and that includes waiving cancellation fees, possibly refunding deposits, and paying staff if we close our offices.
In the midst of this gloom, Zoom video conferencing provides an excellent way to interact with colleagues, staff, and even patients. As The New York Times headline recently put it: “We Live in Zoom Now. Zoom is where we work, go to school and party.” I suggest opening an account and learning the nuances of Zoom STAT.
The American Academy of Dermatology cancelled their annual meeting slated for mid-March, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons cancelled a conference in New Orleans. In addition, the 2020 Aesthetic & Anti-Aging Medicine World Congress has been postponed until fall and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery canceled their meeting as the meeting site, Mandalay Bay Las Vegas, is now closed indefinitely due to COVID-19. These are just the cancellations in our specialty; the entire list is much, much longer.
This too shall pass, but we should take steps to implement video consults and other telemedicine services (see Coming) as we consider that some things will be changed indefinitely. Our learning, whether CME or device and injection training, will be moved online, for sure, and I anticipate the days of large medical meetings are over. I think the smaller, multispecialty meetings will thrive in the post-COVID-19 era. I think it’s fair to say “Hold conferences” will also be added to the growing list of things we can do on Zoom.
Stay safe and healthy.