ASDS members’ insight about COVID-19’s effect on their ability to practice medicine and ensure quality patient care

2021 ASDS Pandemic Impact Survey Results
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2021 Pandemic Survey Infographic

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill., FEBRUARY 7, 2022 — After another challenging year navigating pandemic mandates, ever-shifting guidance and new variants, the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) explored how the COVID-19 pandemic affected dermatology practices and patients. Its Pandemic Impact Survey sought details on personal protective equipment sourcing (PPE), staffing reductions, hiring challenges, changes in patient communications, procedural shifts and telehealth implementation.

“It’s important to learn from the past to shape our response and decisions for the future,” shared ASDS President Sue Ellen Cox, MD. “This survey reveals the significant challenges our membership experienced, but even more so, highlights our ability to overcome obstacles, innovate to provide the best patient care and advance the future of our specialty.”

Practice Impact
ASDS members encountered various operational impacts including 72% of responders experiencing PPE supply challenges. As various states instituted lockdowns and deemed dermatologists non-essential, 90% of responders had limited operation during some period of the pandemic, with more than half forced to reduce staff. Group practices (60%) and solo practices (49%) were the most impacted by employee reductions. As members reopened their offices, they were finding it difficult to rehire in an extremely stressed healthcare professional employee market and navigate the “great resignation” environment. Stabilized staffing continues to be a challenge for 85% of those surveyed.

Patient Impact
Telemedicine gained momentum and adoption by ASDS membership. The survey showed an overall 187% increase in telehealth appointments with responders, while survey participants that offered telemedicine pre-pandemic saw a 226% increase in telehealth appointments. Many members had to adapt their type of patient communications. Digital channels rose with responders increasing emails (47%), social media (27%) and offering virtual education options (21%).

Procedural Impact
With access to care affected, many patients had to defer seeing their physician. 83% of responders’ patients experienced delays in skin checks or skin cancer follow up care. 70% of survey participants observed skin cancers they assessed and treated following reopening were larger or more aggressive by the time the patient was examined.

Many people transitioned to a remote virtual reality – spending hours a day looking at themselves on video calls – which drove the “Zoom effect” of patients wanting to improve what they were seeing on camera. 52% of responders welcomed new patients as a result of this phenomenon, and this effect drove 80% of responders’ existing patients to seek cosmetic treatments. The most popular cosmetic treatments during the reopening phase included wrinkle relaxing injections (65%), soft tissue fillers (54%) and laser / light / energy-based device treatments (40%).

To see the survey’s full results, visit

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About the Survey
Developed by the ASDS Survey Work Group, the 2021 ASDS Member Pandemic Impact Survey was conducted from October 2021 to January 2022 to better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic affected ASDS member dermatologists’ practices. The survey was sent to member physicians and received a 7.9% response rate, with a 90% confidence level within +/- 5% accuracy.

About the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery
The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) is the largest specialty organization exclusively representing dermatologic surgeons who have unique training and experience to treat the health, function and beauty of your skin. ASDS members are pioneers in the field. Many are involved in the clinical studies that bring popular treatments to revitalize skin and fill and diminish wrinkles to the forefront. Their work has helped create and enhance many of the devices that remove blemishes, hair and fat, and tighten skin. Dermatologic surgeons also are experts in skin cancer prevention, detection and treatment. As the incidence of skin cancer rises, dermatologic surgeons are committed to taking steps to minimize the life-threatening effects of this disease. For more information, visit

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