Makeover Your Practice OB/GYN or Family Practice

plastic_surgery cartoonMakeover Your OB/GYN or Family Practice by Incorporating Medical Aesthetics

These days, a woman is no longer content with the idea that the unsightly changes to her body that remain after pregnancy are just badges of motherhood. However, few have the time or resources, or perhaps the courage, for drastic tummy-tucks or other cosmetic surgery. As her doctor and primary consultant on the medical issues surrounding her feminine health, you are in a unique position to provide the trustworthy care and advice she needs when it comes to “mommy makeover” treatments.

The Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinics of North America Continuing Medical Education program, in its effort to make sure physicians remain current with OB/GYN clinical procedures, published a white paper in 2010 called Cosmetic Procedures in Gynecology. The report is centered on the growing need for OB/GYN’s to cater to their patients who are interested in non-invasive body contouring, skin tightening, stretch mark and other scar treatments, hair removal, and the like.  According to the program, Americans spent $11.7 billion on aesthetic procedures in 2008, a 162% increase from a decade prior. Women make up roughly 92% of the total aesthetic services market, the paper informs. Among mothers, the popularity of such treatments continues to rise.

Many women are more comfortable consulting with their OB/GYN about holistic approaches to their well-being. William F. Rayburn, MD, MBA, writes in the foreword,

“Aesthetic services provided by the obstetrician-gynecologist fill a need not adequately met by other medical offices, provide safer or more efficacious treatments than those available in nonmedical settings, or may [simply] be more convenient.”

Patients typically have high levels of trust in their OB/GYN providers, due to the level of confidentiality inherent in the service, and physicians benefit from increased revenue and first party payments.

Adding or growing your aesthetics practice is a compelling business case, but how do you get started?  You might start with an informal poll of your patients, taking a sampling of all demographics and pre- and post-partum, and get an idea of what kinds of treatments they are considering or would like to know more about.  Use that insight to then learn how the proper devices can help you can tap into the immensely popular medical aesthetics market.  Many patients will be interested in anti-aging and skin improvement treatments such as can be offered with our MD Pen skin needling, and the non-invasive EndyMed RF body contouring and skin tightening systems. Some may want a more dramatic treatment such as our GPSLipo laser lipo procedure.  Join our “Medical Aesthetics for OB/GYN and Family Practice” group on LinkedIn or connect with us and let us help you design your aesthetic offerings to fit your practice.

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Billion-dollar Nonsurgical Market Fuels Growth of Physician-directed Spas

The following excerpt from an article originally published in “Medical Economics” offers some great food for thought on how to expand your current practice to include high-demand aesthetic treatments and procedures:

  • “Offering cosmetic services could help you be part of a growing market.
  • Many PCPs are starting with onabotulinumtoxinA, temporary fillers, dermabrasion, chemical peels, and photorejuvenation. You might consider the Vampire Facelift or the EndyMed PRO for non-invasive skin rejuvenation, skin tightening and anti-aging treatments.
  • Consider all the costs including equipment, office space, scheduling, and patient demand.”
“Americans spent $4.1 billion on nearly 8 million nonsurgical cosmetic procedures 2 years ago, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). Not only is the market believed to be growing, it’s doing so outside traditional dermatology and plastic surgery specialty areas.
In fact, an increasing number of physician-directed spas are opening in an effort to reshape practice profitability and expand the service mix.Consider that about 5 million nonsurgical cosmetic procedures were performed by aestheticians last year, frequently in a spa setting, says Jeff Russell, executive director of the International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM), based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Many primary care physicians (PCPs) have decided to meet demand for these services by actively controlling the “med” part of these “medspas.” According to Russell, internists, family physicians, and obstetrician/gynecologists dominate the IAPAM’s training classes.Their interest in the field makes sense when you consider that the bulk of cosmetic procedure clients

are the very people who dominate the patient panels of internists and family physicians. Women aged 35 to 50 years have 44% of these procedures, whereas women between the ages of 51 and 65 have an additional 20%.

As Houston, Texas-based consultant Reed Tinsley, CPA, says, “If you have a fairly young patient base, why let patients go to a dermatologist for basic cosmetic work?” Keith Borglum, CHBC, of Professional Management and Marketing in Santa Rosa, California, adds that PCPs are simply responding to patient demand, especially in areas underserved by dermatologists.

Both consultants agree that having a physician’s credentials tied to a medspa’s service mix adds credibility even if the procedures are not required to be performed by a physician.

Interestingly enough, an IAPAM survey found that 78% of women aged 21 to 60 consider medical credentials important when choosing an aesthetic treatment provider, and most of them would prefer to receive injections and fillers in a medical environment. Although all spas offer these treatments, most of them are not owned by doctors, and physicians often do not provide most treatments themselves.
How can you determine whether adding aesthetic procedures will work for you? Start slowly.

“We recommend that physicians gradually integrate these services into their practices, perhaps seeing aesthetic patients from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays to start,” Russell says. “They can leverage their existing overhead that way and see if they enjoy it.”

The beauty, Russell adds, is that you could start offering these procedures with relatively little upfront capital and potentially reap the benefits of a new cash-based service.”

If you do not have a big enough facility to separate Aesthetic patients from sick patients, adapt the schedule, says Alberto Carro, MD (left). By keeping costs down, he was able to make a profit his first year offering cosmetic services.”

Thanks to Medical Economics for this helpful article.  Read more in Medical Economics about a few considerations to help you evaluate how you might expand your practice.