We’ve received tons of requests to demo Virtual Consult in the last two weeks. Because of that, we thought we’d take just a second and answer some of the most common questions we’ve received about Virtual Consult. You can navigate to those questions using the menu below
Virtual Consult Common Questions:
- How does it work?
- Is this a direct-to-consumer solution?
- Does a doctor actually review the cases?
- Is this a bot/marketing bot?
- What’s the point?!
- Is this an email collection/funnel campaign?
- Only millennials or low-quality patients will use this!
- But were giving away treatment plans!
- A note about Direct-To-Consumer solutions.
Virtual Consult works by allowing patients to fill out a simple, intuitive initial evaluation form and then allowing your orthodontic office to provide that patient with the kind of information they would need to start care in your office. We believe that the more access a patient has to the information they need, the more likely they are to start with the office that provides that information.
Doctors simply review the submissions and answer questions the potential patients may have, all while providing a basic evaluation that is intended to be followed up with an in-office visit. Doctors save time on in-office visits by using VC to gather preliminary information, while also filtering out cases that may be a waste of time.
This is not a direct-to-consumer solution. However, it is intended to provide the accessibility and convenience that direct-to-consumer solutions offer, without sacrificing the quality and experience a consumer would get with an actual orthodontist.
This is not a direct-to-consumer solution. It is a tool for quality orthodontic offices. It is intended to provide the accessibility and convenience that direct-to-consumer solutions offer, without sacrificing the quality and experience a consumer would get with an actual orthodontist.
Again, this is not a direct-to-consumer solution. You or your office will review the submissions, provide the potential patient with quick answers to questions they might have, and generally communicate a few quick things: First, that you’re good, pleasant people who are trustworthy. Second, you saw their case and gave some quick observations and a brief assent that, yes, braces or Invisalign will help them get the smile they want. Finally, Virtual Consult communicates that your office is excited to serve them and can’t wait to see them in person.
One of the misconceptions about VC is that it’s a bot. Another is that offices are providing *full* evaluations over the internet.
This isn’t SDC. No one should do final treatment planning or a final diagnosis via text without ever seeing the person. That is not, and never has been, the purpose of Virtual Consult. One of the larger use cases of Virtual Consult is capturing the attention of people who may want to find out more and just don’t have the time to visit an orthodontist.
It provides a real opportunity for you and your office to convert a new patient.
No. Absolutely not.
Currently (outside of some database automation we’ve written), the only automated parts of our system are (1) our smart templates, which help doctors review patient requests in less than 3 minutes while retaining a personalized tone and candor, and (2) our scheduled text and email follow-ups to make sure potential patients view their reports.
In no way is VC intended to collect data for a drip campaign or a funnel campaign. It’s feasible that doctors offices would use the collected information for those purposes. However, we do have automated reminders for people who have yet to respond to reports our doctors sent out.
The point is that consumers want information, and they want relational experiences. AND they want all of that quickly. While those three things are usually in conflict, in some cases we can accomodate. We believe VC helps orthodontists provide an exceptional level of care and communication while providing a first-touch that often leads to a conversion.
Is this an email collection service/funnel campaign?
In no way is VC intended to collect data for a drip campaign or a funnel campaign. However, we do have automated reminders for people who have yet to respond to reports our doctors sent out.
First, our own Virtual Consult statistics don’t support that theory.
Of the VC’s in our system, we’ve seen the following statistics:
- 51% of users are requesting VC’s for their children.
- 49% of users are requesting VC’s for themselves
From these numbers, we can further break down the data:
- 31 is the average age for users requesting VC’s.
- 25% of users requesting a VC are under the age of 35.
- 29% of users requesting a VC for themselves are over the age of 35.
- Among users over the age of 35, the average age is 44.
Second, we would argue that it’s important to remember that in the next 10 years, millennials will be the largest target demographic for orthodontics. It’s time to embrace that fact. In 5 years, Millennials will be between 30 to 44 years old. That means you’re probably already serving millennials now, and you’re definitely going to be serving millennials’ kids soon.
Lastly, one of the great things about VC is that it does a great job of weeding out wasted appointment space. With the information we provide doctors, you can often assess if someone should be steered away from a full appointment to a 30-minute, doctorless evaluation (one of the big use cases we’ve seen). The information provided can prevent people who are just curious about price or one specific kind of treatment from wasting your clinical time with an initial evaluation.
First, most offices are only providing basic information based on the images that are securely submitted. It’s possible to rule out treatment types, explain possible issues and address specific concerns based simply on pictures. Clearly, a full evaluation requires an in-office visit, x-rays, pans, etc.
However, a full evaluation isn’t always what potential patients want to know before they make choices about their orthodontic care. More and more patients want to feel connected and served. Virtual Consult helps offices do that quite well.
Second, if you think an actual orthodontic diagnosis is your office’s main value proposition, it’s likely you aren’t going to enjoy where the industry is going. Diagnosing a patient and providing them with a quality result is quite literally the least common denominator for what patients should expect from you. It’s your job, and it’s what they pay for — everything else is makes them choose your office instead of someone else’s. They assume you *all* know how to do that, so what would make them choose your office over another?
We’ve heard the criticism that VC or other telemedicine solutions are simply validating the SDC model and pushing the industry in that direction. To that point, we completely agree. But we’re not sure the telemedicine industry really needs any validation based on the amount of venture capital firms throwing billions into it. It’s already here, and the use cases are already validated.
As far as direct-to-consumer orthodontic services are concerned, these companies are clearly meeting real, significant demand and are being received with enthusiasm by consumers. To be clear, we are not fans of the direct-to-consumer model — we believe the quality just isn’t there and the risks are much too high.
However, it would be unwise to ignore the convenience these companies are providing.
Do patients know what they are buying? The risks? The quality of care they are receiving? We don’t believe so. That’s one of the reasons we created VC. We believe in the value of quality orthodontic care provided by an attentive orthodontist.
It’s worth saying that not everyone who is using direct-to-consumer solutions are ignorant, poor millennials. People simply don’t know what they don’t know.
Virtual Consult gives you the opportunity to provide a level of convenience that is becoming the norm with the quality of orthodontic care, communication, and education that we know is crucial.