how to build a medical spa inside your existing practice

The physicians conundrum: Everywhere, physicians are contemplating or engaged in expanding into the “medical spa” marketplace. Seduced by the media buzz around this ardent advanced phenomenon, abounding doctors beam the medical spa as a means boosting their income and eliminating the growing grind and countless headaches of their daily practice. They peruse about advance statistics, beam dazzling advanced equipment at trade shows, analog analog watch competitors popping up, and abhorrence that they may be falling behind the times. With pen in hand they’re ready to sign rent agreements, loan documents, and lots of checks in adjustment to grasp up with a crowd of savvy entrepreneurs who apperceive where the absolute action is. And the rectness is, they’re adapted. Medical spas are the accustomed evolution of cosmetic medicine, and those who don’t accompany the revolution will analog analog watch from the sidelines as their destiny is decided.

Medical spas are the forerunner of a revolution. From Galen until any more, the primary adaption of affliction has been buttoned up the hands and alone adeptness of a physician. But that’s changing. The default adaption of affliction is becoming technology based. In every marketplace and age, technologies are developed that replace an individuals adeptness and skill.

Lasers, IPLs, radio frequency, infrared, personal DNA testing, Pointe Lift™, Liposolve™, Ablaze², PDT, telomere clipping, anti-aging drugs and a smorgasbord of other technologies in adding to promise to chicken feed medicine in the selfsame road that computers, jet engines, and GPS accept changed aviation. Technology any more enables a technician (under medical supervision) to perform able medical treatments and places the physician in an oversight roll instead of being the primary practitioner. In the near approaching, physicians will accept added in accepted with an astronauts than the Wright Brothers.

But changing technology poses actual abysmal problems for physicians. Technology allows accessible replication and scalability, forces an unimaginably steep advanced learning curve on overworked doctors, and eliminates abounding of the barriers and protections that physicians accept relied on in the former. And it’s alone going to amuse worse.

Accede this. The combination of markets that Surface competes in is huge (40-50 billion per year and growing), highly fragmented (alone practitioner model), completely advanced (technology based), and chargeless of any meaningful state players (yet). Already there are actual abysmal pockets investigating ways to exploit this emerging marketplace. The Wal-Marts and At ease Depots of this advanced medical marketplace are being built.

But there’s befalling as able-bodied. Technology opens advanced doors for physicians who can administer this advanced archetype. That’s why a ready supply of acute and motivated physicians annoyed of the daily grind of insurance patients are moving into the marketplace and successfully competing. For the aboriginal age, physicians outside the current specialties of plastic surgery (cutting and stitching) and dermatology (diseases of the skin) accept the abeyant to earn the income of these “ample almighty dollar” specialties. This advanced marketplace will inevitably accord rise to a advanced specialty whose bull's eye will be “non-surgical cosmetic medical technologies”. You can beam the fragmentation today. Abounding dermatologists any more tag themselves as “cosmetic” to marketplace themselves as a subspecialty.

Hurry up and wait. You can’t amuse enough acceptable advice accelerated enough. But this is a advanced bag and demands a huge investment of age to accomplish the adapted decisions. Sales reps will stream into your clinic armed with charts and graphs that action up and to the adapted, advertisers will drop phrases according to “top of apperception awareness”, and you’ll accept a creeping suspicion that the marketplace is getting away from you. Action slow. There are a host of land mines in the area and there are some that will be advising you to bob directly on them.

So, how accomplish you body a medical spa inside your existing practice? Surface has three locations, four physicians, expert aestheticians, technicians, patient coordinators, managers and office staff. Every treatment at Surface is governed by a set of proprietary protocols. As a bag, we accept advised dozens of alone physicians, managers, and investors about opening and operating medical spas. Be advised this is not accessible, but here are a few suggestions.

Physician cure thyself: This is your bag. Consultants accomplish their almighty dollar by telling others how to amble businesses that they can’t amble themselves. Accept me, if a medical spa consultant was worth hiring, they would be running their own medical spa. Consultants will acquaint you that you accept to accept massage, retail should be 30% or your gross sales, and “you might appetite to accede hydrotherapy”. Amiss. 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 bag, accomplish your own decisions.

Acquisition someone smarter than you: The most big step is acceptable management. Without that, bodies can, and accept, absent everything. If you don’t accept acceptable management skills, hire someone from outside medicine who does.

Franchises: “Turn answer solutions”. That’s how almost everything is marketed to physicians. Buy this technology, hire this personnel, amble these ad slicks, and everything will fall into abode. Sorry. It doesn’t assignment that road. Most of these franchises are sold as a sort of “we’ve already worked out the kinks” sort of deal. It’s a aspersion. Franchises bull's eye on the treatments that everybody else will be able to replicate with ease. It’s added a position of, “ In the commonwealth of the blind, the one-eyed man is baron”. You don’t charge a franchise.

All technology is not created equal: Despite what company reps will acquaint you, choosing the adapted technology will beggarly ample differences at the borderline of the year. Efficacy, cost per treatment, initial costs, usage, and a continued list of other considerations should action into technology decisions. Abounding physicians bob aboriginal and then borderline up with $80,000 towel dryers that they still accept to accomplish payments on every month. Used medical devices are willingly available from the constant stream of bankruptcies and failed medical practices. Choose your technology carefully.

Accept the marketplace: Medical spas are a luxury bag. And for most physicians it comes as an unwelcome surprise that their advanced patients are added demanding. Continued waits, aloof staff members, bad off communication, and ambivalent staff, are all in the former. You’re touting yourself as a luxury service, act according to one. Hire top-indentation bodies that are service-oriented, affable and courteous. Protocols can be taught easier than air.

Rein in your ego: This is bag. It’s not personal. If you air you must charge twice as much as your competitors as you “deserve it” or you’re board certified, amuse used to empty appointment book. One of my personal pet peeves is the condescending air of abounding physicians.

Accomplish not statement “advanced” or “laser” in your agname: The figure of “advanced” laser clinics is staggering. Don’t accomplish it. It’s inane, overused, and bland. I actually had a physician buzz me if changing his agname from Advanced Laser Centers to Advanced Laser Accumulation would amuse him added bag.

Network with acknowledged medical spas: Acknowledged bag owners are alone to blessed to advice newcomers to the industry. We accept constant dialogue with physicians and investors who are investigating the marketplace and accept advised clinics on four continents. Acknowledged medical spas will be blessed to body bridges with acute businesses.

Don’t attending to day spas to solve your problems: Physicians hear “spa” and immediately anticipate that day spas accept the answers they’re looking for. Amiss. The average grasp margins for day spas are around 8%-10%. The average physicians is 60%. This is a altered marketplace.

Don’t base your pament on commission: Commissions sound according to a abundant solution. You save overhead and actuate your staff to abound the bag. Amiss. Commissions are used in spas to accumulate overhead low, but guess what. Staff members working for commission aren’t working for you. Commissions advance to overly aggressive staff that don’t accomplish anything for your reputation.

Don’t gild the Lily: You may accept heard that you accept to “body out” your clinic at the cost of $80-$120 per square foot. Nope. You don’t accept to alpha with treatment tables that accept your clinics agname embossed on them. Spend all your almighty dollar before you accessible and you won’t be able to spend it where you’ll really charge it… getting butts in the seats.

Stay thin: Physicians practice medicine based on science. You don’t charge to action massage and you don’t apperceive anything about it anyway. Stick to the basics.

Added advice is available online at

About the Author

Mr. Barson is the Managing Partner of Surface Medical Spas and the Editor of Medical Spas Online Magazine.

Originall posted May 28, 2012