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The Patient Communication Tool That Dr. Joel Schlessinger Can’t Live Without (Bonus)

By: Hannah Celian | March 27th, 2024

The Patient Communication Tool That Dr. Joel Schlessinger Can’t Live Without (Bonus) Blog Feature

Relying on TouchMD to connect with patients for over a decade, Dr. Joel Schlessinger tells us why he “can’t live without it,” from helping patients understand what to expect to chronicling their improvements after treatment.

Recorded live with Tyler Terry at the AAD annual meeting in San Diego.


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Dr. Joel Schlessinger, Board-Certified Dermatologist & Cosmetic Surgeon

Meet Dr. Joel Schlessinger 

Follow Dr. Joel Schlessinger on Instagram 

Dr. Daniel Schlessinger, Mohs Surgery & Cosmetic Surgery Fellow at Northwestern University

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Tyler Terry, Director of Sales, MedSpa at Nextech


Announcer (00:06):
You are listening to the Aesthetically Speaking podcast presented by Nextech.

Tyler (00:13):
Thanks for tuning back into the Aesthetically Speaking Podcast. In our latest episode, we sat down with Dr. Joel and Dr. Daniel Schlessinger at AAD in San Diego and discuss their experience in the aesthetic industry. After we wrapped, they let us know that they would like to further dive into their experience with TouchMD. We turn back on the mics and continue the conversation. This is our bonus episode at AAD with Dr. Joel and Dan. Thanks for tuning in.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger (00:42):
So you and I have worked with TouchMD for quite some time.

Tyler (00:46):

Dr. Joel Schlessinger (00:46):
I mean, TouchMD is something that has been always near and dear to my heart because it has so much potential, and I think that marrying it to Nextech is even better.

Tyler (00:59):
Couldn't agree more.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger (00:59):
Yeah, I mean, because really, how long had you been involved with TouchMD?

Tyler (01:03):
Yes. So I've been with TouchMD for 12 years, and we actually, the same year that I started, 2012 was actually the year that we integrated with Nextech, which was a huge deal for TouchMD. They're the leader in specialty practice software, and it is a great synergy between the integrations, but to actually have a best in class vertical tech stack between two incredible technologies, Nextech and TouchMD is something that the industry hasn't seen.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger (01:34):
So you've been in my practice and we have touchscreens on each wall in every examination room, and they're running TouchMD now, as you probably know, and as many people know, we run a scrolling screensaver during the times that people aren't looking at TouchMD. So they see the results that we have been able to accurately depict using our iPad application for Nextech on these pictures. So for example, we take pictures of every single person that comes in before and after pictures. So every time that a person comes in for an acne visit, they'll get three views front on side and side, and we will reference those at subsequent visits. So if you come in with acne, you're going to see your improvement. So it's very important for me to be able to document progress. I want to make sure that I'm living up to their expectations as well as the fact that they might trust me, but I want to make sure that I'm living up to that. So we not only do those pictures, but if we get a great picture, which we get many of them, we'll put that onto the TouchMD screen. And then my incredible staff has made a lovely organization of it. So if you come in, you're interested in acne pictures, wart pictures, pictures of psoriasis, before and afters of this, a video on one of our new lasers or something like that, they can easily touch the TouchMD and they can have access to it.

Tyler (03:03):
That is my favorite thing right there, what you said by allowing patients to drive, choose, and select and be able to actually scroll through those before and afters, so that they're actually armed with education. And I would love for you to talk about that a little bit and the value of patient education in aesthetics. And I'll start with you, Dr. Joel.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger (03:24):
Well, it's always going to be about education because we want to make sure that they understand, realistically speaking what they're about to get done. So if a person comes in and their expectations are here and we can deliver here, it's not going to work out. So we want to make sure that, for example, if a person comes in for acne scarring, that we're going to match what their expectations are. I would rather lose a procedure than have somebody do something and be unhappy with the results because I didn't set their expectations correctly. Daniel is a Mohs surgeon. He's in his Mohs fellowship and he'll be joining me as a Mohs surgeon and dermatologist. I think you understand that very well too,

Tyler (04:06):
Yes. I'd love to hear your take, Dr. Daniel, on the power and the necessity of patient education.

Dr. Daniel Schlessinger (04:13):
Right. Well, I think especially in the field of Mohs surgery where people have a skin cancer, usually it's on a difficult area of their body, on their face, their nose, their lips. It can be a very traumatic experience to have that. And people are worried about what's going to happen. They're worried about what the scar is going to look like. They're worried about what the functionality is going to be. So to be able to actually show them multiple before and afters, show them the wound care process, the healing process, how we can use lasers to improve scars, to be able to show them right then and there and line up, they look like with what their skin cancer looks like. It's just a huge, huge improvement over what has traditionally been available. So I think it's especially important in the field of Mohs surgery,

Tyler (05:01):
And I'm sure patients, it makes them feel more confident and more comfortable, and you want them to have that trust in you as the provider, as the doctor, as a specialist, and in the practice. And Dr. Joel, I love what you had shared in saying you'd rather lose that patient because you care so much about their outcome and having a realistic transparent outcome.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger (05:25):
I will also say that I use the acne pictures that I have for Accutane patients almost every day. So I cannot tell you how many times I have people come in that are looking for acne scarring and they have active acne, and they are potentially resistant to the idea of Accutane. And I can show them what Accutane can do for their acne plus their acne scarring, and it's absolutely remarkable. And that is probably our best tool to encourage people to consider Accutane or other treatments that we have that they might not have previously thought about. So I'm telling you, TouchMD is a game changer in our practice. It's something that I could not live without at this point. There are very few things I say that about, but TouchMD is my go-to. Just the fact that we can easily play a screensaver with before and after pictures and with some information about our site, whether it's a trial that we're recruiting for, whether it's an event that we're going to be having, is just absolutely remarkable. And I see improvements that are demonstrable in TouchMD and Nextech every year, if not sooner. They're both really good about making innovations to their product and they care about their customers, which I think is so very important.

Tyler (06:44):
We talk about taking consistent photos, but also there's the power of taking the different angles. A lot of times people are too quick and they just take that front facing angle. And Dr. Joel, you brought up every time you take that right side, front, left side, can you speak to that a little bit?

Dr. Joel Schlessinger (07:00):
Well, we pretty much document just about everything that we do in the office. If there's a biopsy, we take a picture of the biopsy, if there's a skin cancer we take the before, we take after one layer, after two layers, et cetera, so that we can go back and show people the results and show people the process that brought them to that point. A lot of times people will come in and say, how come this skin cancer was such a big deal? And I'll show 'em the fact that they had a hole the size of a quarter in their temple, and that's what prompted that. And we can show them the progress that we've made with certain things, whether it's warts, whether it's acne, whether it's psoriasis, leg veins, you name it. And so it's a big opportunity for us to be able to show people those things. But it all comes down to good pictures and techniques, and you have to have standards. I make sure that every nurse knows what I want, how I want the pictures taken, and very often if I see a picture that I don't like, I'll just retake that picture in the office with our iPad, which is phenomenal. Pictures are great quality, and we can do what we want to do. And it's all about making sure you have a standardized photographic representation of each patient in each condition.

Tyler (08:11):
Yeah, that way you're very thorough, patient feels, again, confident. You know that even while you're 2000 miles away, that your staff still has that regimen right now as they're speaking, they're taking those consistent photos. One more question for you, Dr. Daniel. As patients seek content, they're on TikTok, they're on Instagram, they're searching out patient education. Can you speak to the value of the practice signing off on content on a platform like TouchMD where that's been vetted by both you and Dr. Joel? I mean, that content isn't just, somebody just throws it up there and it's just there. That's actually vetted out by your practice.

Dr. Daniel Schlessinger (08:52):
Right. There's so much misinformation out there and poor quality information that is actually just straight up harmful to people. It doesn't have to be the Tide Pod challenge to be harmful to someone, but especially in the realm of beauty, people need real vetted medical advice and the ability to have this be pre-approved and evaluated by board certified dermatologists before it gets posted and sent out into the internet is just a huge innovation. So it's absolutely necessary, and it really makes for better quality patient care.

Tyler (09:31):
Yeah. Because if without it, a patient goes and does their own research and they might start two steps behind, and you have to get them back to square one just to get them going because you have a standard at your practice and you want to have a streamlined, elevated level of care for your patients. So thank you for sharing that.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger (09:48):
And allowing them to understand that they're getting the quality of care from a board certified dermatologist as opposed to going down to the day spa down the street for their Botox or something else. So it's really important for us to be able to adequately represent the quality of our work and to inform patients of why they should be coming to a board certified dermatologist, board certified Mohs surgeon, as opposed to going to some other place that might not be even close to as effective in their treatment of their conditions.

Tyler (10:20):
Both of you have spent so much time perfecting your craft. I mean, it takes a lot of time, a lot of dedication to become a board certified dermatologist. You can't just open up within a couple of weeks just because you want to start a practice. You are starting the practice because you care so much about your patients or you're passionate about some level within the industry.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger (10:44):
Thank you.

Dr. Daniel Schlessinger (10:44):
Thank you.

Tyler (10:44):
Thank you both for taking time again to meet with me here live in San Diego at AAD. Appreciate you both. Appreciate your friendship and would love to have each of you back on the podcast.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger (10:58):
Thank you.

Dr. Daniel Schlessinger (10:58):
Thank you so much.

Dr. Joel Schlessinger (10:59):
It's our pleasure. Thank you.

Announcer (20:56):
Thanks for listening to Aesthetically Speaking, the podcast where beauty meets business, presented by Nextech. Follow and subscribe on Apple, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts, links to the resources mentioned on this podcast or available in your show notes. For more information about Nextech, visit, or to learn more about TouchMD, go to Aesthetically Speaking is a production of The Axis,