It will soon be safe again to step out and get your regular botox and fillers.
Ten top aesthetic doctors from the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, India, Norway, South Africa and the Philippines have published jointly a paper on postquarantine guidelines to reopen their clinics.
The “preferred practices” guidelines was published in the prestigious Journal of Dermatologic Therapy May 16, with Dr. Vicki Belo of Belo Medical Group (BMG) as one of its coauthors and the only doctor from the Philippines.
The consensus paper will be disseminated to all aesthetic practitioners around the world, said Belo.
The procedures are in compliance with, and on top of, the protocols for patient safety set by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Health Providers International, Department of Health, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
Belo, president and CEO of BMG, said her company’s clinic at its headquarters in Greenhills, San Juan, will resume partial operations beginning today, May 20, a dry run to see if how the guidelines work in practice. (All other Belo clinics will remain closed until further notice.)
“We’re a high-touch industry, so we have to ensure that both our employees and patients are protected,” Belo told Lifestyle.
New procedures will require patients to first, call for an appointment, which will include a prescreening interview, sort of a triage via telephone.
There’s also an online new coronavirus disease (COVID-19)screening, which the patient needs to fill out before he or she can be given an appointment.
Belo says patients will be asked for their TOCC—travel history; occupation (and occupation of those who live with them); contact with a COVID-19-positive patient; and history of living or visiting someone from a known COVID-19-positive cluster.
Shorter time in clinic
Patients of Belo, for instance, will also be required to fill out a Cloud-based Aesthetic Interest Questionnaire before their appointment. This is for the clinic to know ahead of time the patient’s aesthetic interest and concerns, to shorten their time at the clinic. They have put up interactive brochures online for this.
“The shorter your time in the clinic, the safer for you,” explained Dr. Hayden Kho Jr., who heads BMG’s marketing.
Patients will not be allowed companions. As clinics observe social distancing, the number of patients will be limited per day. No walk-in patients will be allowed.
Wearing a face mask will be mandatory for both employees and patients, as well as no-contact temperature check, hand sanitation and foot bath before entering the clinic. Frequent disinfection of clinic premises will also be implemented, with hospital-grade disinfectants and a UVC light disinfection device.
There was rigorous risk categorization of aesthetic procedures, said Kho, as guideline for the personal protective equipment (PPE) of their doctors and employees. Kho said surgical procedures will not be performed at this time.
Treatments that are plume-generating or procedures with aerosolized debris will require full hazmat suits on top of N95 masks for the doctors performing the procedure.
Minimum required PPE in the guidelines are three-ply face masks, goggles, face shields, gloves and shoe covers, Belo said.
Belo admitted that as many as 52 percent of her employees from all 16 clinics expressed reservation about returning to work because of fear of getting the virus, not in their clinics but through public transportation. BMG is looking for ways to address this, she said. For now, employees are provided a travel poncho as protection.
“There were no job losses at BMG during the quarantine. Everyone continued to get his or her salary,” Kho said.
While BMG’s patient-safety standards were already high, refitting their clinics with additional virus and bacteria barriers, as well as retraining their staff, required a seven-figure investment, according to Kho.
A “scavenger system,” or the vacuum typically used by dentists, have been installed in Belo clinics, on top of their already-standard Pure Shield ozone-shock treatment and Air Intellipure system, which Kho explained is 40 times more effective than HEPA filters in shielding from microorganisms.
“When we were in talks with the doctors from the other countries, we realized we were overkilling with our safety measures, because some of our advanced systems like UVC are not used in most clinics,” Belo said. “They said it was too much, and not everyone can afford it. But they were very impressed. It made us feel good.” INQ