Recent Increases in Aesthetic Medical Procedures Make Now a Profitable Time to Enter the “Cosmetic Boom”

Written by on August 30, 2013 in Practice tips - No comments

BodyLaseWEB            As a physician, practice manager or physician extender, you may have often wondered… is it possible to escape the yoke of managed care?  Dwindling reimbursements, increased paperwork and mounting overhead have made physicians everywhere discouraged and disappointed.  The recent boom in aesthetic medical procedures, however, provides an excellent opportunity for physicians and other medical professionals to offer quality fee-for-service procedures into their practices and enjoy a revenue stream that is unencumbered by third-party payers.  If you have ever thought of profiting from the “cosmetic boom,” now is the time to jump on board.

All of the forces are in place to create a “perfect storm” for the demand for aesthetic cosmetic procedures.  The baby boomer population is a “Silver Tsunami” that is gradually gaining strength in the United States.  In fact, baby-boomers are turning 50 years old at a rate of one per every 8 seconds.  These boomers want to look as young as they feel and thumb their noses at the inevitability of aging. In addition, our world of instant communication quickly spreads the word about the latest aesthetic medical breakthroughs (think “Dr. Oz!”).  Recent advances in cosmetic medicine, moreover, that firm, rejuvenate and shape the aging face and body have been scientifically proven to deliver consistent, measurable results. All of these factors suggest an opportunity for you to profit by leveraging your medical acumen with the latest trends in demographics and advances in aesthetic medicine.

With all of this going for you, it may seem that all you have to do is take out a few ads and wait for the onslaught of baby boomers to head to your office.   As with most things successful, however, hard work and a little industry knowledge are required.  Now, physicians are no strangers to hard work.  The challenge for physicians is to understand that an aesthetic medical practice is very much a hybrid between a business and a medical practice.  While you certainly have acquired a plethora of medical knowledge, most medical schools are woefully inadequate at preparing physicians for understanding the “business of medicine”.  It is imperative, therefore, that you understand some of the challenges, as well as the opportunities, of running a cash-based medical business.

First, you must believe that it is entirely possible for any physician to get involved in aesthetic medicine.  You have spent years learning the practice of medicine and, while you may need to learn about the specifics of certain aesthetic procedures, medical school has taught you first and foremost how to think like a physician.  Thus, you are uniquely trained to understand how to learn about these new procedures.  Courses, trainers, consultants and the like are available at your fingertips to help you learn how to administer aesthetic procedures. Take advantage of the internet and start shopping around.

If you are a physician with an ongoing practice in a complimentary field such as OB/GYN, dermatology, or ophthalmology, you are in the enviable position of already having much of the infrastructure in place for a medical spa.   You likely have an established office, support staff, and patient base of many thousands of patients.  During the initial stages of your medical spa practice, use this infrastructure to your benefit.   A good way to dip your toe into the waters of aesthetic medicine is to start with injectables, such as Botox and dermal fillers.  These procedures involve minimal investment on the part of the physician and can take years off your patients’ appearance.  Once you get the basics down through good training, start treating your staff (they will love you!) and get them excited about the procedures.  Your staff is your “sales team” and will sell your patients on these procedures.  Finally, roll out the new procedure to your internal database of clients via mailings, signage in the practice, brochures in your waiting room, and targeted emails to your existing patient base.  This will be the cheapest form of advertising you will ever use.

Furthermore, I would recommend a dedicated “aesthetic procedure room,” which may evolve into a dedicated “aesthetic procedure day,” as this element of your practice grows.  After all, people coming to you for these expensive elective procedures really don’t want to be sitting next to your influenza patients who are coughing and feverish.  Aesthetic “medicine” is a completely different type of medicine and the patients, because they are paying their own hard-earned cash and not just showing an insurance card, are quite a bit more discriminating.

For physicians new to practice, emergency room physicians, anesthesiologists, and other surgical specialties with a limited internal base of existing patients, your plan will be different.  This “different” plan will also apply to those physicians who are serious about getting into the medical spa business and are ready to embrace aesthetic medicine quickly, rather than nurturing a slower, home-grown practice.  For all of you, the best opportunity lies in purchasing an existing medical spa with a proven track record of repeat patients and consistent revenues.  Trust me when I say there are ALOT of moving parts to these businesses.  If you can find one that has successfully navigated these very choppy waters and is available for you to acquire, this will catapult you to the top of aesthetic medicine in a way that only years of advertising, branding and stand-out customer service can match.  It will cost you more up front, but will likely get you to your end result much more quickly.

The ultimate question then becomes – how much money can you expect to make from your medical spa?  Assuming you have spent adequate time, money and education in learning the business of medical spas (or purchasing a successful one), you are poised to do quite well.  Let’s say that you have 500 clients in you market that you are able to service with your medical spa.  If the average patient spends $250 per visit (a conservative number) and returns 4 times per year (the typical number of visits for a medical spa patients), you would generate gross revenues of $500,000 per year.  If you offered more expensive laser services, your average patient could easily spend $400 per visit, which would then generate gross revenues of $800,000 per year.  And this revenue is 100% paid in cash – no collections, no accounts receivable and no bad debt.  Now this is starting to sound interesting!

In conclusion, for those laboring under the yoke of managed care, alternative options do exist.  The cosmetic medical industry offers an opportunity for those medical professionals who wish to enjoy an additional or even completely different revenue stream.  Moreover, your gains come not only in the financial arena but in many other forms.  For example, you can spend quality time with your patients; you can learn about new treatments in an emerging, dynamic field of medicine; and you enjoy the benefits of helping people feel more beautiful, confident and self-assured.  In sum, aesthetic medicine is “happy medicine.”  Your office will be filled with positive energy and you will, once again, be in charge of your own destiny.

By Karen Albright
Owner/Operater, BodyLase Skin Spa

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