It’s no big deal to find a date and possibly love via computer, so why not a doctor? Similar to Match.com, there’s an app that offers consumers the option to ‘look’ for a plastic surgeon without ever leaving home. But, is convenience the best way to search for a surgeon?
The App? Zwivel
Cosmetic surgery has never been more popular than today. Botox and buttock augmentation have gone mainstream, and so has the process to find a doctor to perform the procedure. Zwivel isn’t just an app with a catchy name; it’s catching on.
The app lets a patient check out doctors before an initial meeting, send photos or videos, and get doctors to answer questions – all for free. According to its founders, that makes the process of finding the right plastic surgeon easier and more efficient. There’s no debating that finding a surgeon can require hours of driving to doctor visits, research online, and cost comparisons.
With Zwivel most of the work is done from a computer, while sitting at home or in an office. It sounds easy, doesn’t it?
Is It Right For Me?
It’s a big decision choosing the right plastic surgeon. That’s why plastic surgeons, Dr. Ned Snyder and Dr. Rob Whitfield were curious about their own existence on the app. “There is our practice,” said Whitfield, surprised to see the office listed as part of Zwivel.
The plastic surgery partners at The Breast and Body Center in Austin say they haven’t paid the fee to be included in the promotional site, and regardless remain skeptical. “I would be hesitant to believe that someone has written a program that pairs surgeons and patients in a way that makes sense,” said Snyder. The surgeons agree there is value in making the process of finding a surgeon easier, but say a good relationship has to start with a face-to-face meeting. “The relationship goes on even after surgery, so the patient has to like their doctor,” Snyder said.
Is It A Good ‘Match’
The idea of plastic surgery can seem daunting. Clearing out a few extra hurdles might help smooth the path for those who are considering the option of a cosmetic procedure, but are worried about a lengthy process. That’s why the creators of Zwivel say it’s successful, making it easier for patients.
Zwivel has seen it’s popularity grow since it’s start earlier this year. There are now about 1,400 surgeons signed up to be matched with more than 28,000 patients. The doctors pay almost $500 a month to be a member. Still, the idea of a service that almost mimics Match.com except for doctors is a little unsettling for some, who think the service could cross the line.
“I think we need to be careful,” says Dr. Shaun Parson. The Arizona plastic surgeon says he supports the entrepreneurial spirit of the new app, but advises those who use it to to be cautious of regulations and laws, if they cross state lines. “If someone from a neighboring state is getting medical advice and information, we need to be careful as providers that we are giving thoughtful information.”
It’s information that may be necessary for a long time to come. While apps are making connections between like parties ever easier, surgery is still surgery. Having a good relationship with your surgeon is critical to outcomes, something meeting over an app just can’t mimic (yet).