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AmSpa Member Spotlight: Dr. Thuy Doan of Bespoke Aesthetics + Concierge Medicine

Posted By Administration, Thursday, August 8, 2019

Take a tour of Bespoke Aesthetics + Concierge Medicine while learning about Dr. Thuy Doan, who spoke with AmSpa about her practice and career for this Member Spotlight feature.

Located in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood of Atlanta, Bespoke Aesthetics + Concierge Medicine is an injectables-based business with a strong social media presence. Dr. Doan explains her “less-is-more” concept and gender-neutral design in this brief video.

To learn more about Bespoke Aesthetics + Concierge Medicine and Dr. Doan, click here to visit her Instagram profile.

Dr. Doan attended both the 2017 and 2019 AmSpa Atlanta Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps. These events are intense two-day training seminars covering legal and business best-practices in the medical spa industry. Both physicians and non-physicians alike will gain the tools to open and/or run an efficient, profitable and legally compliant medical spa or aesthetic practice. Click here to learn more about upcoming Boot Camps, and click here for information about The Medical Spa Show 2020, the premier conference and trade show for non-invasive medical aesthetics.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Member Spotlight 

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Join AmSpa at the Seattle Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp

Posted By Administration, Thursday, July 11, 2019

motif seattle hotel

By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, CEO of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

Starting next Saturday, July 20, AmSpa will host its Seattle Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp at the Motif Seattle Hotel. We’re extremely excited for the opportunity to help medical aesthetic professionals in the Pacific Northwest develop their practices, and we can’t wait to visit the Emerald City for the first time. There’s still time to register for the event—just click here to sign up.

Here is a quick overview of the program:

Saturday, July 20

The Boot Camp begins at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast, followed at 8:30 a.m. with my opening keynote. From there, we will move into the main program:

  • 9 – 10:30 a.m.: The Plan, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—What are the most effective ways to develop a business plan for your medical spa? Medical Spa Consultant Bryan Durocher discusses the ins and outs of the planning process and helps determine how long it realistically takes to open a practice.
  • 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.: The Lessons, presented by Louis Frisina—Every medical spa is different, but the successful ones share several common traits. In this session, Business Strategy Consultant Louis Frisina discusses the qualities that are typically found in practices that bring in a significant amount of revenue.
  • 1 – 1:30 p.m.: Medical Aesthetic Hot Topics Panel, featuring Tim Sawyer (Crystal Clear Digital Marketing), Shawna Wiesner (Environ Skincare) and Terri Ross (Terri Ross Consulting)—This panel, moderated by yours truly, will feature a spirited discussion of the current issues and events that concern medical spa owners and operators.
  • 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.: The Law, presented by Alex Thiersch (AmSpa) and Renee Coover (ByrdAdatto)—In this presentation, we’ll discuss the long-standing and emerging legal issues that every medical spa owner needs to know about. As you can imagine, there is a lot to cover here, since new concerns seem to be arising daily lately.
  • 4:15 – 5 p.m.: The Treatments, presented by Terri Ross (Terri Ross Consulting)—Learn about the most profitable and popular treatments available to your practice, and find out how to best determine which treatments are right for you based on the state of your practice.
  • 5 – 6 p.m.: The Digital Marketing Ecosystem, presented by Tim Sawyer (Crystal Clear Digital Marketing)—Find out how to effectively spread the word about your medical aesthetic practice and how best to determine what’s working and what’s not. Your practice’s digital presence is more important than ever before, and curating it should be a top priority.

Saturday will wrap up with a cocktail reception from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 21

Once again, the Boot Camp begins at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast.

  • 8:30 – 9 a.m.: Anatomy of a $5-Million Med Spa, presented by Alex Thiersch (AmSpa)—Have you ever wondered what the difference is between your medical spa and one that’s mega-successful? It might be less significant than you think. This presentation will show what a $5-million med spa is doing right—and what you might be doing wrong.
  • 9 – 10 a.m.: The Financials, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—At the end of the day, the money you’re bringing in is the most important measure of your practice’s success. This presentation will, among other things, demonstrate how to properly develop a budget and use metrics to determine your med spa’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.: The Long-term Revenue, presented by Brandon and Jenny Robinson (Skin Body Soul MedSpa)—Simply being successful isn’t enough for a medical aesthetic practice; you have to know how to maintain and grow your success. In this session, Brandon and Jenny will show you how to build patient loyalty and move your business forward.
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: The Consultation, presented by Terri Ross (Terri Ross Consulting)—As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Learn how to put your best foot forward with effective patient consultations—and how to turn them into consistent business.
  • 1 – 2 p.m.: The Team, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—A medical spa is only as good as its personnel, so it’s important to make sure that you hire a staff that can do everything you want it to—and more. In this session, you’ll learn about recruiting, hiring and retaining employees who can make your medical spa dreams come true.
  • 2 – 3 p.m.: The Marketing Plan and Social Media, presented by Brandon and Jenny Robinson (Skin Body Soul MedSpa)—This session will help you determine how to most effectively market your medical aesthetic practice using both traditional methods and cutting-edge techniques.

Also, you’ll have the chance to visit with a number of exceptional vendors during this event. Attend the Seattle Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp to check out the latest and greatest from the following companies:

We hope you can join us in Seattle next weekend. This Boot Camp is a tremendous opportunity to get a medical aesthetic business started off on the right foot, as well as learn how to take an already successful business to the next level. Click here to register!

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Business and Financials  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Ownership  Med Spa Trends 

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The Art of the Fair Deal

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, July 3, 2019

handshake

By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, CEO of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

Warren Buffett once told Berkshire Hathaway sharholders, “More than 50 years ago, Charlie [Munger, Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman] told me that it was far better to buy a wonderful business at a fair price than to buy a fair business at a wonderful price.” Businesspeople who see every deal as something to be won or lost may disagree with this, but I believe that if you conduct all your dealings fairly and ethically, you improve your chances for success.

When you start your business and begin forming partnerships, agreeing to contracts and making deals with others—whether they are employees or external businesses—you should always endeavor to make fair deals. In other words, don’t chase every last dollar and screw people over just so you can feel like you’ve “won” these deals. Some businesspeople seem to be addicted to this feeling, but deals don’t have to have winners or losers—a fair deal lets everyone get what they want.

For example, if you’re negotiating with someone who you know is undervaluing his or her position, don’t take advantage of it just to save a little money. You should always respect the other party. You might end up paying a bit more than you think you should be paying, but if you conduct business ethically, you almost certainly will build a positive reputation among your peers, which will lead to future opportunities.

I believe in something I call “corporate karma,” which dictates that if you conduct business fairly, you’ll end up attracting people—employees, business partners, etc.—who are good for your business. If, instead of making a fair deal with the person who is undervaluing his or her asset, you decide to use this to your advantage, that person will almost certainly find out what you’ve done and will be hesitant to do business with you again. Additionally, he or she will probably tell others about your shady practices, and you might find yourself with limited options moving forward because you needed to feel like you “won” the original deal.

There are many things in the world of business and finance that you can’t manage, but your conduct is firmly within your control. If you approach your dealings intending to conduct them ethically and fairly, you’ll improve your chances of success. After all, the best kinds of deals are the ones in which both sides gain something they value.

For more medical spa business and legal best practices, and to learn how to build and run your med spa compliantly, attend one of AmSpa’s Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Business and Financials 

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The Hyaluron Injection Pen: Is It Legal? Who Can Use It?

Posted By Administration, Monday, July 1, 2019

medicine

By Patrick O’Brien, JD, legal coordinator for the American Med Spa Association

The Hyaluron Pen is a new injection device that is gaining a lot of buzz overseas. It claims to deliver injections of fillers—typically hyaluronic acid—in a less invasive and painful way than typical needles and syringes. As these products make their way to the U.S., it must be noted that currently, no device is U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved for injecting hyaluronic acid and other fillers in this way. We have seen several ads and notices that offer to sell these devices and provide training for them. Before you make a purchase, you may want to know: Is it legal? And can you legally perform this procedure?

When a medical device gains FDA approval, it can legally be marketed for that specific approved use. We have discussed issues with using approved devices in unapproved ways—so-called “off-label use.” In this case, we were unable to locate an FDA marketing application for a hyaluronic acid injector. According to an FDA guidance document on needle-free injectors, this type of device would likely by regulated by FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research or Center for Drug Evaluation and Research as a “combination product.” General-use needle-less or jet injectors are regulated as Class II medical devices. In general, without an FDA marketing or premarket approval, a product manufacturer cannot legally sell or advertise a device for unapproved use; this marketing prohibition extends to purchasers of the product as well.

Since this product is so new, there are no specific laws that directly address who may use it. Instead we must look at how similar procedures and technologies are treated. Unlike a traditional filler injection that uses a hypodermic needle and syringe, this device uses a high-pressure jet to inject the fillers through the skin without the use of a needle. This makes the device similar to other needle-less and jet injection systems that sometimes are used to deliver vaccines and other medications.

While the injection technology is novel, the treatment is fundamentally the same as traditional filler injections. Although there is no needle being used, the skin is still being “pierced” by the jet of hyaluronic acid. As such, we believe these pens will follow the same or similar rules as injecting filler using traditional syringes. Therefore, the use of these devices is a medical treatment, so a good-faith exam must be performed before the procedure, and if the physician is not administering the treatment him- or herself, it must be properly delegated. Unfortunately for practices that would like to use unlicensed practitioners to use pen injectors for fillers, this takes the procedure out of the scopes of practice for aestheticians and most LVNs.

To learn about legal and business best practices to keep your med spa compliant and profitable, attend one of AmSpa’s Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps and become the next med spa success story.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends 

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FDA Makes Statement on Medical Device Reporting Changes

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, June 25, 2019

device

By Patrick O’Brien, JD, legal coordinator for the American Med Spa Association

On June 21, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced several changes meant to improve and streamline its reporting requirements for medical devices. This likely will be a welcome change for device manufacturers and hopefully reduce their compliance burden. In the press release, which you can click here to read, Jeffrey E. Shuren, MD, JD, the director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, discusses three major changes to the agency’s strategy for tracking and monitoring medical device adverse events. Under current FDA rules, device manufacturers are required to submit a medical device report (MDR) within 30 days if the use of a medical device results in serious injury or death. In order to monitor trends, FDA has implemented several voluntary reporting processes for manufacturers to follow for device malfunctions that do not result in serious injury or death.

The agency announced the discontinuation of one such voluntary reporting process. The Alternative Summary Reporting (ASR) Program was implemented in 1997 and allowed manufacturers that were granted exemptions on particular devices to submit batched reporting for devices that had certain well-known risks. This program included exemptions for dental implants, implantable defibrillators and pacemaker electrodes, totaling 108 such devices in all. This program had been being phased out since 2017, first through the institution of a supplementary reporting process and now with the full discontinuation.

It will be replaced by a new program known as the Voluntary Malfunction Summary Reporting (VMSR) Program, which allows manufactures to report incidents quarterly. However, this is only for minor incidents—serious injury and death reports are still required within 30 days. One of the goals of this program is to make the reported data compatible with FDA’s information database, known as MAUDE; the ASR Program’s lack of compatibility with MAUDE was one of its shortcomings. FDA hopes to streamline MAUDE and make its data more user-friendly and accessible, all with the aim of monitoring and catching defective or problematic devices as quickly as possible.

In addition, FDA is instituting a new data monitoring system that can analyze data continuously and automatically using algorithms. The system is called the National Evaluation System for Health Technology (NEST), and it has been in development since 2012. It utilizes large sets of data tied to each device’s unique identification codes. FDA hopes that it will be able to better protect patients by identifying trends and issues earlier than a human would be able to.

FDA is making these changes in order to better protect the public and the users of these devices. The changes should also make it easier for device manufacturers to submit their required reports. And if all of these FDA acronyms make your head spin, you should consider attending one of AmSpa’s Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps. There, you’ll learn how to set your business apart from your competitors, including the latest in technology and the newest devices.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends 

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Join AmSpa at the Atlanta Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 21, 2019

loews atlanta

By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, CEO of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

Starting next Saturday, June 29, AmSpa will host its Atlanta Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp at the Loews Atlanta Hotel. We’re extremely excited for the opportunity to help medical aesthetic professionals develop their practices, and we can’t wait to visit Atlanta again. There’s still time to register for the event—just click here to sign up. Here is a quick overview of the program:

Saturday, June 29

The Boot Camp begins at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast, followed at 8:30 a.m. with my opening keynote. From there, we will move into the main program:

  • 9 – 10:30 a.m.: The Plan, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—What are the most effective ways to develop a business plan for your medical spa? Medical Spa Consultant Bryan Durocher discusses the ins and outs of the planning process and helps determine how long it realistically takes to open a practice.
  • 10:45 – 11:45 a.m.: The Lessons, presented by Louis Frisina—Every medical spa is different, but the successful ones share several common traits. In this session, Business Strategy Consultant Louis Frisina discusses the qualities that are typically found in practices that bring in a significant amount of revenue.
  • 12:45 – 1:30 p.m.: Medical Aesthetic Hot Topics Panel, featuring Tim Sawyer (Crystal Clear Digital Marketing), James David Brown (Environ Skincare), Helen Haynes (Bellus Medical) and a representative from Galderma—This panel, moderated by yours truly, will feature a spirited discussion of the current issues and events that concern medical spa owners and operators.
  • 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.: The Law, presented by Alex Thiersch (AmSpa) and Jay D. Reyero (ByrdAdatto)—In this presentation, we’ll discuss the long-standing and emerging legal issues that every medical spa owner needs to know about. As you can imagine, there is a lot to cover here, since new concerns seem to be arising daily lately.
  • 4:15 – 5 p.m.: The Treatments, presented by Terri Ross (Terri Ross Consulting)—Learn about the most profitable and popular treatments available to your practice, and find out how to best determine which treatments are right for you based on the state of your practice.
  • 5 – 6 p.m.: The Digital Marketing Ecosystem, presented by Tim Sawyer (Crystal Clear Digital Marketing)—Find out how to effectively spread the word about your medical aesthetic practice and how best to determine what’s working and what’s not. Your practice’s digital presence is more important than ever before, and curating it should be a top priority.

Saturday will wrap up with a cocktail reception from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, June 30

Once again, the Boot Camp begins at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast.

  • 8:30 – 9 a.m.: Anatomy of a $5-Million Med Spa, presented by Alex Thiersch (AmSpa)—Have you ever wondered what the difference is between your medical spa and one that’s mega-successful? It might be less significant than you think. This presentation will show what a $5-million med spa is doing right—and what you might be doing wrong.
  • 9 – 10 a.m.: The Financials, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—At the end of the day, the money you’re bringing in is the most important measure of your practice’s success. This presentation will, among other things, demonstrate how to properly develop a budget and use metrics to determine your med spa’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.: The Long-term Revenue, presented by Brandon and Jenny Robinson (Skin Body Soul MedSpa)—Simply being successful isn’t enough for a medical aesthetic practice; you have to know how to maintain and grow your success. In this session, Brandon and Jenny will show you how to build patient loyalty and move your business forward.
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: The Consultation, presented by Terri Ross (Terri Ross Consulting)—As the old saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Learn how to put your best foot forward with effective patient consultations—and how to turn them into consistent business.
  • 1 – 2 p.m.: The Team, presented by Bryan Durocher (Durocher Enterprises)—A medical spa is only as good as its personnel, so it’s important to make sure that you hire a staff that can do everything you want it to—and more. In this session, you’ll learn about recruiting, hiring and retaining employees who can make your medical spa dreams come true.
  • 2 – 3 p.m.: The Marketing Plan and Social Media, presented by Brandon and Jenny Robinson (Skin Body Soul MedSpa)—This session will help you determine how to most effectively market your medical aesthetic practice using both traditional methods and cutting-edge techniques.

Also, you’ll have the chance to visit with a number of exceptional vendors during this event. Attend the Atlanta Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camp to check out the latest and greatest from the following companies:

We hope you can join us in Atlanta next weekend. This Boot Camp is a tremendous opportunity to get your medical aesthetic business headed in the right direction and learn some tips and tricks that can take it to the next level. Click here to register!

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Business and Financials  ByrdAdatto  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Ownership  Med Spa Trends 

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Why Is It Important to Measure and Track Your Medical Spa’s Business?

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

data

By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, CEO of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

Success in the medical aesthetics business depends on many factors, from effective marketing to efficient employees to reliable equipment. However, if a medical spa does not thoroughly track everything that goes on there, its owners and operators simply cannot truly understand the health of the practice.

Good medical spas track everything. If you can’t track, you can’t measure; if you can’t measure, you can’t tell what’s working and what isn’t; and if you can’t tell what’s working and what isn’t, you can’t make informed decisions when determining your next steps.

If you don’t understand how and why something is working, it’s not really working for you. Its success can inform your future decisions, because you don’t have enough information to tell you what is actually happening.

For example, let’s say one aesthetician is earning significantly money than the practice’s other aestheticians, despite the fact that he or she is providing exactly the same services. Is he or she doing something different than everybody else in the practice? Is it the hours he or she works? Is it just simply dumb luck? If you don’t track everything that happens at your practice, you have no way of knowing for sure, and if you don’t know, you can’t take advantage of it.

Some factors tracked by top medical spas include:

  • Dollars per hour per treatment per provider;
  • Dollars per hour per provider;
  • Margin per treatment per provider;
  • Return on investment per provider;
  • Return on investment per equipment;
  • Conversion rates; and
  • Return on investment on email campaigns, marketing campaigns and social media.

This might seem like a lot of work, but I promise you that no effective business—medical spa or otherwise—leaves these aspects of its enterprise up to chance. For example, if you find that the laser equipment you purchased doesn’t provide the return on investment you expected, you won’t be tempted to spend more money on lasers because you’ve determined that it probably isn’t worth it.

Likewise, if you find that a direct mail campaign provides significantly better results than a Facebook campaign despite the former costing much more to conduct, you can allocate your marketing resources in ways that bring your practice the best possible return on its investment.

At AmSpa’s Medical Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps, we spend much of the two days showing attendees ways to track and measure all aspects of their businesses, including retail sales, medical treatment and marketing. Join us at our next Boot Camp, which takes place at the Loews in Atlanta on June 29 and 30, 2019. If you can’t make it to Atlanta, consider joining us at one of our other Boot Camps this year—we’ll be in Seattle in July, Dallas in September, New York in October and Orlando in December. Click here to learn more and register now.

Your business can’t improve if you don’t have the information that tells you what’s working and what’s not. You need to track, measure, review, change, and repeat. AmSpa can help, and we hope to see you soon.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Business and Financials 

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Botched Procedures: What Happens Next?

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 17, 2019

injection

By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, CEO of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

If you are in practice long enough, you are going to have a bad outcome—it’s just a matter of time. I’ve never met a doctor who hasn’t been sued. No matter how careful you are, there is a very good chance that a bad outcome will occur on your watch. Sometimes it’s a side effect that occurs due to improper disclosure on consent forms or is not mentioned in the product manufacturer’s guidelines. However, people also make mistakes, and they may be held accountable for them. Regardless of the circumstances, understanding what to do when a bad outcome occurs on your watch will help your medical spa emerge from the situation more or less unscathed.

Keep Calm and Carry On

First and foremost, panicking and attempting to cover up the issue that led to the bad outcome is absolutely the worst thing a practice or physician can do. When people get in trouble for bad outcomes, it’s because they become defensive and try to blame the patient, as opposed to being proactive and taking steps to mitigate the possibility of further bad outcomes in the future.

Making sure your practitioners obtain properly executed informed consent is one way you can reduce your practice’s potential liability. This means that you need to make sure that all your consent forms are up to date and that a thorough dialogue with all patients regarding consent has occurred.

Informed consent is not a cure-all, however. Most medical malpractice attorneys will tell you that a signed, up-to-date consent form is something they have no problem dealing with. But at the very least, properly executed informed consent gives you a leg to stand on. It shows a certain amount of professionalism and conveys the notion that the practice acted in good faith. Additionally, make sure that your medical spa is thoroughly compliant with all state rules and regulations. This shows that you have created an infrastructure for safety and compliance at your practice.

A Matter of Respect

Moreover, studies indicate that if your medical spa is pleasant, empathetic, and responsive, and patients have a good experience, they will be much, much less likely to sue if a bad outcome takes place. The issues associated with bad outcomes don’t just start when the treatment occurs—they begin the moment a patient begins to interact with the medical spa.

Do your patients feel like they’re important, that they’re being respected, and that the practice is concerned with their well-being? If so, nine times out of 10, they are going to want to work with you to turn a bad outcome into a good one. Schedule a follow-up appointment as soon as possible, give them advice, and return their phone calls, e-mails, and texts right away. If you do this, these patients may actually become more loyal and say better things about your practice, because, generally speaking, people understand that things don’t always go as expected. They simply want the doctor and staff to listen to them, take responsibility, and do whatever they can to make it right.

Practices tend to run into problems with bad outcomes when they get defensive, blame the patient, and refuse to listen to the patient’s concerns. When this happens, an aggrieved patient is going to be far less inclined to work with you on a solution.

Problematic Patients

Of course, some patients simply can’t be reasoned with, and not engaging with these people in the first place is a key to avoiding complications related to bad outcomes. The medical aesthetic industry attracts more than its fair share of very passionate people, and most of the complications related to bad outcomes involve patients who are not responsive, don’t follow the guidelines given to them, or are just straight-up crazy. If you can avoid engaging with these patients, you can eliminate many of the problems associated with bad outcomes that you might otherwise encounter. Screen your patients thoroughly in order to determine if there are any red flags before you embark on a course of treatment.

If a problem will be solved by giving the customer a refund, it’s almost certainly worth it. However, if you do this, have your lawyer draw up a refund agreement that releases you of responsibility for the outcome in return for the refund. If a patient threatens to sue you, contact your lawyer immediately; even if it does turn out to be an idle threat, you have to take it seriously.

The Best Policy

More than anything else, you should be completely forthright and honest when dealing with a bad outcome. The cover-up is always worse than the crime. The more you contort your narrative to try to create a reality in which your practice doesn’t look so bad, the more problems you create for yourself. Tell your lawyer and your insurance carrier the truth about the situation, and they’ll do their best to recommend a viable course of action.

To learn more about the legalities that govern medical aesthetics, sign up to attend an AmSpa Boot Camp. At these events, attendees learn how to operate medical spas compliantly and profitably.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Med Spa Law 

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Generation X Helps Drive Medical Spa Business

Posted By Administration, Friday, June 14, 2019

gen-x business owners

By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, CEO of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

Financial experts often talk about how certain generations of people affect business. You often will hear about how the wealth and spending power of Baby Boomers impact the economy as they enter their retirement years. You also will hear about how Millennials are driving markets and marketing with their enigmatic spending habits. And finally, you will hear about how Generation Z is making its mark using social media and moxie.

However, you typically do not hear much about Generation X—the post-Boomers who came of age in the late ‘80s, ‘90s, and early ‘00s. The youngest Xers are currently entering middle age, and as boomers continue to retire, they are the ones who are inheriting positions of leadership, with salaries to match. CNBC.com published this piece by Stephanie Neal and Richard Wellins, which describes how members of Gen X are quietly beginning to dominate the world of business.

One key takeaway of this article is that while Millennials are generally considered to be the most tech-savvy generation to date, Generation X is perhaps even more plugged in. On social media channels, many of the “stars” and “influencers” are Millennials, but Gen Xers are just as connected—they always have phones in their hands, and they are always using the internet. They do not produce as much content as Millennials, but they are every bit as adept at viewing and manipulating it. Many Xers came of age just as the internet did, and they played significant roles in its evolution. And because many of them began their careers when the internet played a much smaller role in commerce, they developed many of the Boomers’ character traits—they are industrious, driven and entrepreneurial. They offer numerous useful traits of the generations that came directly before and followed after them—they are a combination of the analog and the digital.

Because of all this, Gen Xers are beginning to have an enormous impact on business—including the medical aesthetics industry. They are running medical spas, device manufacturers and marketing firms, and it is very likely that they will continue to do so for many, many years to come, so marketing professionals should not underestimate Xers. Obviously, consumers drive business, and since Millennials are such an enormous population—they are the largest demographic group in the U.S. by a growing margin, according to most estimates—they are very important in this regard. However, many people who are running businesses and pushing them in exciting new directions are, in fact, Gen Xers.

At AmSpa’s Boot Camps (click here to learn about this year’s remaining events) and The Medical Spa Show (save the date: January 31 – February 2, 2020), the overwhelming majority of the medical spa owners I meet are Gen Xers. They’re in their upper 30s and 40s, and they’re making things happen. Understanding how they think and act will be a key to finding success, especially when establishing business-to-business relationships. Do not underestimate Generation X—they will certainly be key to your medical spa’s success for a long time.

Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Business and Financials  The Medical Spa Show 2020 

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How Core Doctors Can Overcome Generational Differences in Marketing, Advertising and Ethics, Part 2

Posted By Administration, Monday, June 10, 2019

vlog doctor

By Alex R. Thiersch, JD, CEO of the American Med Spa Association (AmSpa)

(Click here to read part 1)

Streaming video of procedures has helped many core doctors make names for themselves on social media and the internet, but this practice is understandably the source of a great deal of controversy. Recently, some prominent plastic surgery societies have begun to consider the ethical questions surrounding plastic surgeons broadcasting the procedures they perform on social media services, such as YouTube and Facebook. The doctors who stream these surgeries often say that they do this for its educational value, but these shows are also designed to raise the surgeon’s profile. If the event is properly publicized, several thousand people will tune in, and sometimes a staff member will even be in the operating room with the surgeon answering questions from the video’s chat function on a computer. This can lead to a great deal of income for the surgeon.

There is nothing illegal or even necessarily unethical about this but, on occasion, these videos make the surgeons and their staff members look unprofessional, especially depending on how they act during the procedure. While acting silly is almost expected from those engaging in social media today, it can be argued that medical professionals should hold themselves to a higher standard. If the purpose of the video truly is to educate rather than raise the surgeon’s profile, this sort of behavior should not be highlighted.

At the same time, it is undeniable that live streaming is an effective way for a surgeon to get his or her practice’s name on people’s lips. It also makes prospective patients comfortable with the surgeon, provides answers to questions that many patients have, and promotes plastic surgery as a whole. And if you ask the surgeons themselves, many who live-stream can point to a direct correlation between their marketing efforts and a sharp increase in revenue.

However, while it’s understandable that medical aesthetic doctors engage in marketing techniques such as these, those who make videos must make sure that they’re still representing medicine in a professional manner. This is still the practice of medicine, after all. They also need to make sure that they’re acting in a manner that is respectful to their patients, who often are unconscious on the operating table—it looks bad when doctors are dancing and joking while the patient is prone (yes, this has actually happened). It’s easy for a surgeon to lose sight of this when he or she is performing (because a live broadcast of a surgical procedure realistically is a performance), but it is something he or she should make a point to be mindful of. This is a competitive market in which many people are utilizing unorthodox sales techniques and, while medical aesthetic professionals have to ensure that a practice remains profitable, they are still dealing with medical patients.

Crossing Ts, Dotting Is

Although this should probably go without saying, it is critically important that any surgeon or medical spa planning on conducting a social media campaign receives written consent from featured patients that thoroughly cover all HIPAA and local patient privacy laws. The forms used for this must be very specifically drafted in order to address the legal minutiae of social media, so anyone planning to do this needs to be very careful to ensure that the patient understands exactly what is going to happen. This is not the sort of form that anyone can simply download off the internet—it will need to be vetted by an experienced health care attorney to guarantee that no legal entanglements result.

Again, it’s worth mentioning that when he or she signs such an agreement, the patient is consenting to having his or her likeness out there for the world to see for educational purposes, not to being a motionless prop while the surgeon or his staff members act foolish. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which a patient would be fine with participating in a social media campaign or educational live-stream, but then appalled when he or she sees the surgeon and staff members goofing around during the promotion. The end result may not be covered by the consent form the patient originally signed.

Direct Messages

So is it inherently bad for plastic surgeons to become social media celebrities? Isn’t that the goal of marketing and public relations? It probably doesn’t matter – the genie isn’t going back in the bottle and the industry is going to need to figure out how to deal with it. There are numerous questions that societies should be asking themselves, particularly given the number of non-core doctors entering the industry. Any physician can establish himself as an expert by virtue of social media and internet advertising, but it can be problematic when the physicians in question are young and perhaps doing work that they aren’t quite qualified to be doing. If patients are receiving misrepresentative information from these doctors—and if we’ve learned anything in this country in the past couple years—it’s that people tend to believe what they see on television and social media, and that can be extremely dangerous.

At this point, dealing with this issue seems to be about making the use of social media acceptable from an ethical standpoint. There really is no turning back—social media has become a key part of marketing for core doctors, no matter how badly some wish it weren’t true, and it isn’t going anywhere.

The bottom line is that the medical aesthetic industry needs to be careful—it shouldn’t get too brazen with its marketing, because medical societies have much louder voices in halls of government than the medical spa industry does. A group of Northwestern Medicine authors recently proposed a code of ethics for videos, for example, and I think this is a good idea. After all, if these campaigns truly are for educational purposes, they don’t need the theatrics. But at the same time, the ability of medical spas to market themselves aggressively is one thing that sets them apart and allows them to succeed in a very crowded marketplace. And the personalities of practitioners come through in social media campaigns, and often the providers become much more relatable than their surgeon counterparts. There is a delicate balance that must be struck and, if the industry is going to survive, it is imperative that we make this balancing act a priority.

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Tags:  AmSpa's Med Spa & Aesthetic Boot Camps  Med Spa Law  Med Spa Trends 

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