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For the Physicians: Aesthetic Practice Management


Managing an aesthetic practice takes a different kind of manager who is familiar with the nuances of running a cosmetic medical office.

In most medical offices, you'll find a practice manager who handles the day to day business of running an office so that the physician is free to care for patients. Having a practice manager is especially important for aesthetic and medical spa physicians who need assistance in not only running an office but in marketing and advertising as well.

Boca Raton dermatology Practice Manager Jay Shorr has been managing the office of Dr. Janee Steinberg for several years and has tip insight into practice management. "Most physicians are caretakers regardless of the specialty, which is why they chose the field of medicine, but the down side is in medical school fellowships, residencies and internships, there really isn't any dialog that ever takes place educationally on running a practice. Now don't forget that medicine is a science, medicine in the aesthetic industry is a way to make people pretty. Medicine is a way to heal the sick and injured but most importantly of all in our industry, medicine is a business and physicians normally don't have the wherewithal to handle the patient load and handle the administrative operational issues that most practices have today."

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Dr. Fawn Winkelman, a recent medical school graduate says, "In medical school and in my training, there is very little teaching of business in medicine. In fact, the only training we get are following models of inappropriate management or on-the-job training. It would be extremely beneficial to have some introduction about the business of medicine because after all, medicine is our business. Even though I most likely won't be running the business aspect of my practice alone, it really changes the way you think when reaching for gauze for a procedure. As a physician, I am focused on patient care more so than business, but I certainly think knowing a little goes a long way for the success of a medical practice."

Dr. Winkelman goes on to say, "I have been fortunate to have a successful Dermatologist and Cosmetic Surgeon (Dr. Janee Steinberg) as a mother and her Practice Administrator (Jay Shorr) as a father. I have had first-hand exposure and training about the Business of Medicine which will give me a huge advantage when I finish my training."

Jay says that for many offices, it's best to have someone either specifically trained for practice management on-site, or to have an off-site person who can handle the tough questions that pop up. "Training is a very intrinsic part of running a practice because there are many parts that go into running this business... You have operational, you have administrative, you have executive, you have things that come up every single day and its best that you have an outside, either consulting firm or somebody that's specifically trained within your organization, a practice administrator that is properly trained in every one of these different facets of your business."

Jay says that most offices are now multidisciplinary so that one surgeon offers other non-surgical procedures at their office. "One of the most important issues today is fillers. The neurotoxins such as Botox and Dysport and then you have your fillers and volumizers such as Juvederm, Restylane, Radiesse, Sculptra, Prevelle, etc. The others are the aesthetic services such as microdermabrasion, laser hair removal, laser tattoo removal, permanent makeup and of course the last part which is the actual physical surgery."

When purchasing expensive medical office equipment, it's important to focus on the return on your investment. "Don't be fooled by how many patients you need in order to pay off your return on your investments," says Jay. "Because the first question you have to ask yourself is 'do I have the patient load that I'm able to handle it and can I price it accordingly with my competition?'" He also says that physicians must consider the training necessary for certain lasers, as well as research the different laser modalities. "There are so many lasers out there today and there is such confusion about which one provides which modality, but beyond the actual cost there are training curves that you have to go through, there are marketing curves that you have to go through."

Furthermore, you must think about what your contract with the laser manufacturer means now, and in the future. "But one of the most important things is to negotiate into the future and not for the present. For instance, you have to decide what are the contract terms going to be after the first year for your maintenance contracts because as it's a machine, they sometimes will breakdown and you need immediate service, you need loaner or a replacement and what is that fee going to be for that subsequent years because you have to really put that in to the return on your investment."

Jay says it's important to make use of web marketing services. "You need internet based marketing similar to that of American Health and Beauty to help provide you those leads. Having stories that are written about those procedures on their website that are optimized to be first and second in search engines really does help you."