Adding Cosmetic Services to Your Medical Practice

Written by on January 31, 2014 in Features - No comments

There are many opportunities on the market for physician offices to add revenue streams to their clinics.  Some come in the form of adding ancillary services, adding additional providers, products, or even having an independent business unit operating right in your office.  One of the most commonly utilized revenue streams is cosmetic treatments and products.  Compared to the profit margin on a standard or even a new patient office visit, minor cosmetic treatments (cash paid, not billable to insurance) can substantially add revenue and new patients. There are a number of different types to implement.

The easiest to implement is Botox treatments (also a newer alternative, Dysport), It is a subcutaneous injection used to reduce fine lines and wrinkles best utilized in the upper 1/3 of the face.  Training is minimal. Often times there are a couple hours of class time the manufacturer will provide to certify practitioners and even without cosmetic surgery fellowship training, the Botox technique can be very simple to perfect.

Some practices elect to charge by the unit, some elect to charge by the area, however I recommend charging a flat rate plus per unit cost. If there is a touch up needed at their two week follow up the client is only charged the per unit fee.  There is very little up-front cost involved. Typically the drug company will provide samples to train with and to treat the office staff with, and then your staff becomes your walking and talking advertisements.  Botox must be kept cold, so it ships fast. In most instances you could fill up a morning with Botox patients and only need to order the supplies only a few days in advance.

Once you have mastered the Botox/Dysport arena, you may be ready to move onto hyaluronic acid fillers for the lower 2/3 of the face (Restylane or Juvederm or the like).  These fillers are a bit more time consuming because they are a bit more labor and skill intensive than Botox, but in a similar manner the financial rewards for the clinic can be quite handsome.  In the same manner as above, the drug companies will train practitioners and provide samples for office staff should they chose to be practice patients. There is little up-front cost and typically you can keep a couple on hand or order them a week or so prior to a patient being scheduled.

A third option or addition to your clinic’s revenue stream is to add laser treatments. These can be very popular for the non-invasive cosmetic procedure patient group, and again are cash pay procedures. Lasers can treat a variety of issues- veins, uneven skin tone, age spots, wrinkles, excessive hair, and the list goes on.

Depending on the route you take, there can be little up-front investment required.  Lasers purchased out right are expensive, but there are a number of lease-to-own and other financing options available. In some metro areas there are even laser renting programs where you can rent a laser by the day, week, or patient.  Training is very important for laser work and most laser companies will train you on their specific units.  One benefit here is that mid-levels, nurses, and techs can also perform these treatments on certain lasers, under the supervision of a physician.

There are a number of supplemental services that could be added to a practice expanding into the cosmetic market.  These additional services capture additional revenue, such as skin care consultations, facials, skin care products, waxing, etc.  All of these fall under the cash pay umbrella, and will generate a nice add-on revenue stream.

Electing cosmetic treatments as your office’s additional revenue stream has great perks for the office staff and the potential for huge perks in profit as well.  In some areas hard hit by tough economic times, cosmetic treatments have taken a hit, but in other markets they are flourishing. Be sure to do your research for your specific area and even check with your current patients to see if this avenue would provide return on the time investment. If you are still unsure, start with Botox, and then once that is flourishing, poll your patients to ask about laser treatments before deciding to move on a laser purchase.

Finally, remember that marketing these services is one of the big keys to a successful minor-cosmetic or med-spa practice.

by Audrey Christie McLaughlin RN

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