In the second part of our 3-part recap series of our Roadmap to Recovery webinar, panelists discuss what aesthetic procedures dermatology practices can add to their existing list to increase profit and patient satisfaction.
At Dermatology Times’® Road Map to Recovery webinar, sponsored by Aerolase, Zoe Diana Draelos, MD, founder, Dermatology Consulting Services, PLLC, High Point, North Carolina led a discussion on how to market the more profitable aesthetic procedures to patients.1
Sarah Jackson, MD, Audubon Dermatology, New Orleans, Louisiana, suggested taking a look at the calendar year and decide what procedures would be most popular during certain months. This plan also must incorporate holidays and should flow between all the platforms along with educational content. Also, instead of accepting free promotional items for staff, ask if the staff can be trained on the item instead.
Draelos then asked Jason Staback, PA-C, general and cosmetic dermatology for South Jersey Dermatology, New Jersey, about what he thought the biggest revenue growth drivers are for dermatology practices following COVID-19.
Staback said devices that has a low startup cost or can pay for itself quickly is a viable option.
“I prefer technologies that have multiple modalities. There are some out there that actually can get reimbursed by insurance, as well as have cosmetic modalities,” Staback said.
One of the devices Staback has in his office is the Aerolase Nd:YAG 1064-nm Laser. He said the laser treats psoriasis well and if he treats 10 patients a month, it will pay for the laser’s monthly cost.
Regarding how the laser can be used for aesthetic practices, Staback said, “Well, with 36 indications, you can do skin tightening acne scars, you can treat active acne with it. It depends on how you want to do that. I don't charge for the acne. I have a different theory on that, but some people charge for the acne. [The Aerolase Nd:YAG 1064-nm Laser] can treat melasma, any post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, onychomycosis, angiomas, telogen ectasia, [and] rosacea.”
Draelos then asked how do dermatologists plan for an investment in lasers, as they are a large capital investment and post-COVID dermatologists may have a lack of funds?
There are different options to finance lasers according to Staback. There are programs available that are 6 months at no cost or practices can rent a particular device.
He warned that clinicians must do their due diligence and warned that a lot of times there are hidden costs. It’s also important to keep in mind how new the technology is and the different procedure options available. A consultant can be helpful to navigate these contracts.
Staback added that aesthetic practices tied to dermatology offices are the most successful aesthetic startups. The more that a patient can have done under one roof, the more they will stay with that practice. This way a practice will not have to do outside referrals and the value of the business increases.
“I am just a firm believer that your medical dermatology practice will feed your aesthetic practice... I mean, that it is a feeder stream to any aesthetic goals that you have,” Jackson agreed.
Draelos then posed the question; Where should practices start when considering what type of device to buy?
According to Staback, consider the demographics and location of the practice while also having a well-made ecommerce site. It can be beneficial to choose a device that can do more than one type of procedure.
When a patient comes in for a cosmetic consultation, Jackson tries to tell her patients everything that they will need beforehand. This includes how often a filler will need to be injected or how often they may want to do a chemical peel to reach their aesthetic goal. In these instances, they will offer packages.
Another question asked how to retain patients, as cheaper options like med spas are becoming popular.
A key factor to keeping patients, Staback said, is trust and maintaining that trust. To him, most patients are not walk-ins, but instead have been referred to his business through other patients. Also, the more procedures that a practice offers, the less likely they are to leave to get it done elsewhere.
“But it's very hard to compete with somebody that's doing it below our cost. I don't know how it's done,” Staback said.
He also mentioned many need to emphasize on the fact these procedures are being done by a trained professional and these devices can be dangerous in an untrained hand.
Jackson agreed that being an expert in the field is something clinicians should embrace and brand themselves as. Practices will not have to use Groupon or other discount sites because their patients will come back, according to Jackson. Sometimes patients may go to other places because of price, but they will come back in the end.
Social media can aid in this goal. Having a staff member that knows the practice and has skills in Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms is useful. This is a great opportunity to get to know the strengths of the employees and it can bring in some patients that would not have been reached otherwise.
Zoom has patients looking at their faces in a whole in way, causing many to become self-conscious in way they had not been before. Jackson tries to remind patients there are positives beyond the flaws.
“I like to first start the cosmetic consultation, always out with a compliment,” Jackson said. “I think it sets the tone that I'm a nice person, because then they're going to tell me all their flaws and I'm going to tell them how I'm going to fix all their flaws. So, I think to set the tone with something positive is always nice.”
At the same time, keeping patient expectations in check is important and clinicians must tell patients if their expectations are unrealistic. The way to accomplish a more realistic expectation, would be educating your patient about the procedure, not getting a procedure, or recommending counseling.
1. Draelos ZD, Jackson S, Foos C, Staback J. Road to Recovery. Webinar presented at the: Dermatology Time’s Roadmap to Recover; June 16, 2021.