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Building A Medical Spa Inside Your Existing Medical Practice
The physicians conundrum: Everywhere, physicians are contemplating or engaged in expanding into the "medical spa" market. Seduced by the media buzz around this hot new phenomenon, many doctors see the medical spa as a means boosting their income and eliminating the growing grind and countless headaches of their daily practice. They read about growth statistics, see dazzling new equipment at trade shows, watch competitors popping up, and fear that they may be falling behind the times. With pen in hand they're ready to sign lease agreements, loan documents, and lots of checks in order to catch up with a crowd of savvy entrepreneurs who know where the real action is. And the truth is, they're right. Medical spas are the natural evolution of cosmetic medicine, and those who don't join the revolution will watch from the sidelines as their fate is decided.
Medical spas are the forerunner of a revolution. From Galen until now, the primary method of care has been through the hands and individual knowledge of a physician. But that's changing. The default method of care is becoming technology based. In every market and time, technologies are developed that replace an individuals knowledge and skill.
Lasers, IPLs, radio frequency, infrared, personal DNA testing, Pointe Lift?, Liposolve?, Clear˛, PDT, telomere clipping, anti-aging drugs and a smorgasbord of other technologies in development promise to change medicine in the same way that computers, jet engines, and GPS have changed aviation. Technology now enables a technician (under medical supervision) to perform effective medical treatments and places the physician in an oversight roll instead of being the primary practitioner. In the near future, physicians will have more in common with an astronauts than the Wright Brothers.
But changing technology poses very deep problems for physicians. Technology allows easy replication and scalability, forces an unimaginably steep new learning curve on overworked doctors, and eliminates many of the barriers and protections that physicians have relied on in the past. And it's only going to get worse.
Consider this. The combination of markets that Surface competes in is huge (40-50 billion per year and growing), highly fragmented (individual practitioner model), completely new (technology based), and free of any meaningful national players (yet). Already there are very deep pockets investigating ways to exploit this emerging marketplace. The Wal-Marts and Home Depots of this new medical marketplace are being built.
But there's opportunity as well. Technology opens new doors for physicians who can manage this new paradigm. That's why a ready supply of smart and motivated physicians tired of the daily grind of insurance patients are moving into the marketplace and successfully competing. For the first time, physicians outside the current specialties of plastic surgery (cutting and stitching) and dermatology (diseases of the skin) have the potential to earn the income of these "big money" specialties. This new market will inevitably give rise to a new specialty whose focus will be "non-surgical cosmetic medical technologies". You can see the fragmentation today. Many dermatologists now label themselves as "cosmetic" to market themselves as a subspecialty.
Hurry up and wait. You can't get enough good information fast enough. But this is a new business and demands a huge investment of time to make the right decisions. Sales reps will stream into your clinic armed with charts and graphs that go up and to the right, advertisers will drop phrases like "top of mind awareness", and you'll have a creeping suspicion that the market is getting away from you. Go slow. There are a host of land mines in the area and there are some that will be advising you to jump directly on them.
So, how do you build a medical spa inside your existing practice? Surface has three locations, four physicians, master aestheticians, technicians, patient coordinators, managers and office staff. Every treatment at Surface is governed by a set of proprietary protocols. As a business, we have advised dozens of individual physicians, managers, and investors about opening and operating medical spas. Be advised this is not easy, but here are a few suggestions.
Physician heal thyself: This is your business. Consultants make their money by telling others how to run businesses that they can't run themselves. Believe me, if a medical spa consultant was worth hiring, they would be running their own medical spa. Consultants will tell you that you have to have massage, retail should be 30% or your gross sales, and "you might want to consider hydrotherapy". Wrong. The day that retail is 30% of our gross sales I'll eat my left foot. Our retail is around 3%. If it ever gets to 5% we'll cut back. If this is going to be your business, make your own decisions.
Find someone smarter than you: The most important step is good management. Without that, people can, and have, lost everything. If you don't have good management skills, hire someone from outside medicine who does.
Franchises: "Turn key solutions". That's how almost everything is marketed to physicians. Buy this technology, hire this personnel, run these ad slicks, and everything will fall into place. Sorry. It doesn't work that way. Most of these franchises are sold as a sort of "we've already worked out the kinks" sort of deal. It's a lie. Franchises focus on the treatments that everybody else will be able to replicate with ease. It's more a case of, " In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king". You don't need a franchise.
All technology is not created equal: Despite what company reps will tell you, choosing the right technology will mean big differences at the end of the year. Efficacy, cost per treatment, initial costs, usage, and a long list of other considerations should go into technology decisions. Many physicians jump first and then end up with $80,000 towel dryers that they still have to make payments on every month. Used medical devices are readily available from the constant stream of bankruptcies and failed medical practices. Choose your technology carefully.
Understand the marketplace: Medical spas are a luxury business. And for most physicians it comes as an unwelcome surprise that their new patients are more demanding. Long waits, aloof staff members, poor communication, and ambivalent staff, are all in the past. You're touting yourself as a luxury service, act like one. Hire top-notch people that are service-oriented, friendly and courteous. Protocols can be taught easier than attitude.
Rein in your ego: This is business. It's not personal. If you feel you must charge twice as much as your competitors because you "deserve it" or you're board certified, get used to empty appointment book. One of my personal pet peeves is the condescending attitude of many physicians.
Do not use "advanced" or "laser" in your name: The number of "advanced" laser clinics is staggering. Don't do it. It's inane, overused, and bland. I actually had a physician ask me if changing his name from Advanced Laser Centers to Advanced Laser Group would get him more business.
Network with successful medical spas: Successful business owners are only to happy to help newcomers to the industry. We have constant dialogue with physicians and investors who are investigating the marketplace and have advised clinics on four continents. Successful medical spas will be happy to build bridges with smart businesses.
Don't look to day spas to solve your problems: Physicians hear "spa" and immediately think that day spas have the answers they're looking for. Wrong. The average net margins for day spas are around 8%-10%. The average physicians is 60%. This is a different market.
Don't base your pay on commission: Commissions sound like a great solution. You save overhead and motivate your staff to grow the business. Wrong. Commissions are used in spas to keep overhead low, but guess what. Staff members working for commission aren't working for you. Commissions lead to overly aggressive staff that don't do anything for your reputation.
Don't gild the Lily: You may have heard that you have to "build out" your clinic at the cost of $80-$120 per square foot. Nope. You don't have to start with treatment tables that have your clinics name embossed on them. Spend all your money before you open and you won't be able to spend it where you'll really need it? getting butts in the seats.
Stay lean: Physicians practice medicine based on science. You don't need to offer massage and you don't know anything about it anyway. Stick to the basics.
More information is available online at www.surface-med.com
Jeff Barson is the Managing Partner of Surface Medical Spas and the Editor of Medical Spas Online Magazine.
Drug Abuse In Teens: Online Drug Abuse Identification Help
Teen drug abuse is at an all time high, but not in the same way that most people might assume. Parents are accustomed to hearing about teens doing everything from huffing chemicals to smoking weed, popping ecstasy, and even injecting heroin. However, with the international development during 2003-2004 of illegal online drug dealing operations, teens are able to order potentially dangerous prescription medications off of the internet without a prescription.
Toenail Fungus: Treatment and Prevention
A thick, yellowish nail with splotchy white areas is a classic presentation for a fungal toenail. In the early stages the toenail is only slightly discolored, or slightly thickened. In the late stages the nail can become very thick and has a tendency to "grow up" more than in grows out. The nail will be very discolored, typically dark yellow-brown and will start to change shape and crumble. In some cases the nail becomes very loose and many will lose the nail, only for it to regrow with the fungus.
Orthotics and Your Feet
Orthotics are devices which fit into the shoe to aid the foot. "Functional orthotics" are rigid and designed to control motion and correct the function of the foot. Individuals with flatfeet, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, certain foot deformities, knee, hip and back problems may benefit from functional orthotics. "Accommodative orthotics" are soft and designed to reduce pressure and prevent excess friction. Diabetics and those with a loss of sensation or circulation in their feet will benefit from accommodative orthotics. Both types of orthotics are custom made by taking a mold of the foot.
Melatonin, Sleep Enhancement, and ADHD
Overview Melatonin is a natural hormone, which is produced and secreted by the pineal gland. Melatonin plays an important role in the regulation of many hormones in the body. Among its key roles, melatonin controls the body's circadian rhythm, an internal 24-hour time-keeping system that controls when we fall asleep and when we wake up.
Potassium and The Dialysis Patient
Any dialysis patient who has had a brush with high potassium will know only too well how dangerous this can be. We are forever being told to watch our potassium intake, so I thought I would explore the reasons for this, and what practical steps we can take to limit the risks.
Talking Money with Your Doctor: Drugs and Tests for Less
Would you buy groceries without knowing their prices? I suspect not. You probably compare the costs of different boxes of cereal in order to get the best deal. But when it comes to medical care, do you even ask for the prices involved?
Pain Relief Drugs 101 What You Need to Know
Ever given a piece of thought to how actually one feels that a part of his/her body is paining? Majority of the response to this question will be in the negative. And ironically it is one piece of information that a person should be aware of.
Accutane Side Effects Lawyer: Hair Loss, Depression, Suicide
You probably know the drug isotretinoin by its trade name, accutane. Accutane is a powerful drug often used to treat acne. Unlike other acne treatments, which are simply antibacterial agents, accutane actually changes the composition of the skin. Accutane causes skin to produce less oil, which almost always results in a reduction of acne. Accutane is very powerful and effective, but this comes with some very dangerous side effects that everybody should be aware of. If used or administered improperly, accutane can do more harm than good.
Lunesta FAQ: Things To Know Before You Buy Lunesta Online
When was the last time you enjoyed a good night's sleep? I'm talking about feeling tired, heavy, and relaxed - the times when you might say "wow! I love air conditioning" and fall right into a deep sleep. If you haven't fallen asleep quickly and woken up feeling refreshed and ready for anything, then you're not alone.
Pediatric Emergency Contact Notifications Made Easier
For the head of the trauma department at one of America's top pediatric facilities, Chicago's Children's Memorial Hospital, having to notifying parents that their children have been the victims of trauma or identify pediatric Jane Does, is an every day occurrence. But just because they look like they're handling it well, doesn't mean that it ever becomes routine.
Treating Neuromas - Ten Tips
A neuroma is an inflamed nerve. In the foot, the most common place for a neuroma is between the third and fourth toes. The main nerve to your foot originates in the spine and travels down the back of the leg to the bottom of the foot and out to the toes. When the nerve becomes irritated, electrical or burning pain shoots out to the toes when walking. The second, third and fourth toes can become numb. There can be a sensation of walking on a lamp cord or a lump. Removing the shoe and massaging the ball of the foot can bring relief.
A Fresh Start Plan for People With Neck Pain!
"If you have to deal with chronic neck pain, it can be a real struggle. I know? because I've had to do it myself," states Dr. Nathan Wei, a board-certified rheumatologist and Clinical Director of The Arthritis and Osteoporosis Center of Maryland.
10 Steps To Detoxification
Technology. We live in a grand time of technological development. Computers, the Internet, cell phones, digital cameras and DVDs. But the human body has not 'kept up' with technology. Human beings certainly shouldn't eat technology! But that is happening today as a result of the onslaught of chemicals in our foods and environments, and with the impending threat of chemical warfare.
The Controversy of ViagraŽ (Sildenafil Citrate), Other ED Medications, and Their Generic Counterpart
There has definitely been a good deal of controversy over ViagraŽ, it's use and more recently, it's side effects among some unfortunate patients however, apart from the specific drug itself and the effects, reasons and results of it's use, there has been another controversy of which only those involved would probably be aware. I am referring to the purchase and use of Generic Brands of Sildenafil Citrate.
Take Control of Your Doctor: Ten Actions To Get What You Need At Your Next Office Visit
Michael Richardson, MD has some suggestions on maximizing your next doctor's visit.
Bextra, Some Facts To Consider
For those who take Bextra, there are many warnings out that are telling people to stop. It is wise to do this and to do it right away. Of course, you should talk to your doctor about it as well. But, what is Bextra and what does it do? Are their good effects and bad for this drug? Yes, and that is what keeps doctors wanting to prescribe it. But, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) have deemed the bad effects to outweigh the good enough to stop production and distribution until a true answer can be found.
Lamisil Side Effects Lawyer: Lamisil Tablet
While the recent Lamisil commercial featuring Digger, a disgusting cartoon fungus, is still fresh in our mind (who could forget the imagery of a toenail being pulled back and colorful germs crawling in?) it is a good time to look at the side effects of this seemingly innocuous drug. Despite the disturbing advertising campaign, who would have guessed that an antifungal tablet could have so many negative side effects?
Strong Pain Relief - Powerful & Effective Natural Pain Management Alternative
The recent removal of several high profile and popular prescription pain medications of the same pharmaceutical family, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, from the buyer's market has left many people searching for a safer alternative for powerful, fast and effective pain relief. The most recent removal was Pfizer's pulling of Bextra, citing serious skin reactions, sometimes fatal, and two others, Vioxx and Celebrex have been linked to heart related risks. The dangerous side effects of this particular family of medications is definitely cause for alarm, and has many seeking alternatives that will manage their pain effectively, without the serious risks of several pharmaceutical pain killers.
Vioxx Side Effects : Are You Suffering?
Have you ever taken the drug Vioxx or celebrex? In September 2004 the drug manufacturer Merck decided to recall the product after long term data suggested a serious potential side effect.
Orphan Drugs: Hope Where There Is Little or No Hope
NEW YORK, N.Y., February 18, 2004 ? On a visit to his doctor, Gary Jacob received distressing news ? not about himself, but a friend of the doctor's.
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