OFPSA Newsletter June 2011
The June release of the OFPSA newsletter for OFPSA members.
Innovation & Implementation JUNE 2011 â€˘ issue 1 OFPSA NEWSLETTER Thank you to all who helped in the creation of this newsletter. We would like to give a special thank you to our editor, Alex Burkholder and designer, Therese Cebulski. Copyright ÂŠ 2011 Contents: 4 Letters from the Presidents 6 Join the OFPSA 28 Industry Expert Spotlight 16 FEATURED ARTICLES: 8 The Saga of EMR 10 Surviving the Hiring Process: Tips On Finding Good Employees and How To Keep Them 12 5 Ways to Integrate Change in Practice Management 16 Blogging: Effective or A Waste of Time? 18 10 Ways to Ensure Your Skin Care Center Generates Revenue 20 Is Your Office Running At Maximized Potential? 22 The Top 6 Negotiating Tips 26 Five Things You Might Not Know About Facebook 12 10 A NOTE FROM THE AAFPRS PRESIDENT A number of states have attempted to enact a cosmetic tax, originally designed to boost state revenues in troubled economic times. The initial knee-jerk reaction by facial plastic surgeons and other potential affected practitioners is to object to this tax. As our economy continues to have strong headwinds, many states with increasing debt and inability to balance their budgets are considering implementing “cosmetic” taxes. An in depth view at the history and success of cosmetic and similar taxes allows a perspective to argue for or against such a proposed tax. Historically, New Jersey was the first state to pass legislation that requires patients to pay a special tax on cosmetic surgery. The tax was imposed to increase revenues that theoretically would be redirected to help provide care for uninsured New Jersey residents. The New Jersey law was passed by the legislature and enacted on June 29, 2004 and first implemented on September 1, 2004. This law imposed a 6% tax on the purchase of certain “cosmetic medical procedures.” Cosmetic Medical Procedures are medical procedures performed in order to improve the human subject’s appearance without significantly serving to prevent or treat illness or disease or to promote proper functioning of the body. The law included procedures such as rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty, chemical peels, sclerotherapy, and cosmetic dentistry. It did not include reconstructive surgery or dentistry to correct or minimize abnormal structures caused by congenital anomalies, trauma, infection, or tumor. The tax applied to professional fees including anesthesia, and charges related to the facility or hospital. Additionally, this tax applied to in-office cosmetic services such as injectable fillers and neurotoxins. New Jersey Governor John McGreevy signed the bill into law that marked the first time that a tax had been imposed on any medical operation in the United States. The original law required the provider of the service (e.g. surgeon, anesthesiologist, etc.) to collect a 6% tax on cosmetic medical procedures performed on or after 9/1/2004, and to report and remit the collected tax quarterly. 4 JUNE 2011 / OFPSA PRINT | DOWNLOAD Cosm For obvious reasons, all medical specialties that perform cosmetic procedures vehemently objected to the New Jersey cosmetic tax as unjust. It is rare that people vote for increases in existing taxes or new tariffs which potentially impact business. Are their objections warranted, or do the revenues generated outweigh the negatives? The NJ tax was intended to raise a large amount of funds for the state. This tax was expected bring in at least $25 million in its first year. However, tax revenues generated in the first 12 months after the law was enacted only amounted to approximately $7 million. The tax was, of course, politically controversial, and proved rather cumbersome to implement. New Jersey Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D), the bill’s original sponsor, introduced a new bill to repeal the original cosmetic tax. He stated that he thought that the cosmetic tax was “a creative approach to line item deficits in our state’s budget.” Cryan noted that the revenue stream was unfortunately untested and produced a 72% shortfall of expected revenues. The revenue generated primarily was used to pay the administrative costs associated with implementing the complicated tax system, and there was not enough additional revenue to provide funds for health care for the uninsured (as originally intended). Hidden in the original national health care reform bill of 2009 was a 5% tax on cosmetic surgery. This federal mandate (Section 9017 of the health care reform bill) would clearly be associated with large administrative and implementation costs. The 5% cosmetic surgery tax in the federal health care reform bill was overturned at the 11th hour. Ironically, it was replaced at the last minute with a 10% tax on tanning salons in the U.S. At least legislators can reason that the ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds is unhealthy and can lead to an increase in skin cancers. No such argument can be made for cosmetic procedures. Since removing the cosmetic tax from the federal health care bill, many states have since proposed legislation introducing cosmetic taxes. These have included Connecticut, Minnesota (6.5%), Georgia (1.45% on ambulatory surgery centers), Texas, and Ohio. metic Tax: Who’s next? Is the cosmetic tax fair? The critics of the NJ cosmetic tax argue that this tax unfairly discriminates against women (women receive 92% of cosmetic services). Other dissenters note that this tax is disproportionately imposed on people making less than $100,000 per year. (An ASPS study showed that 71% of plastic surgery procedures were performed on people making less than $60,000 per year.) Are these sufficient arguments against a cosmetic tax? No clear-thinking citizen would advocate a tax discriminating against women. Enacting a tax which targets lower income individuals violates Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on Americans making less than $250,000 a year. However, these are not the most important reasons to object to the proposed cosmetic tax. The major objection to the tax is that it is based on bias that cosmetic surgery is not good for people, and forces the physician to draw an artificial line between cosmetic and reconstructive procedures. This line will cause physicians to blur the distinction in cases such as nasal surgery, which may have both a functional and aesthetic indication, or cleft lip revision, which is certainly a congenital deformity at birth, but may have purely aesthetic reasons later in life. Physicians, like most humans, want to do the right thing. The cosmetic tax forces the plastic surgery specialist to decide whether every procedure is aesthetic and taxed, or reconstructive, and thus not taxed. Physicians will always choose what benefits them. Naturally, these increased costs are passed on to the patient. It seems that the goal of health care reform is to lower, rather than increase costs, and cosmetic taxes clearly will increase patient costs. Does a cosmetic tax make moral and philosophical sense? State and federal governments are using these proposed taxes to create revenues to help balance budgets in flailing economies. In the wake of these laws are physicians’ practices and patients’ pocketbooks. The rationale for these taxes is that cosmetic surgery is an unnecessary excess, and that taxing is therefore justified. This was a similar philosophy used several years ago when a “luxury” tax was levied (in addition to the existing state sales tax) on expensive cars and boats. The luxury tax was clearly unfair, and the revenues generated were offset by decreased “luxury” items sold. The luxury tax law was subsequently overturned. Cosmetic surgery and related procedures are still medicine, and to arbitrarily tax certain medical services, while sparing others, makes no moral sense. Perhaps the designers of these laws, often lawyers, should consider an excise tax on “unnecessary” attorney fees. The other obvious argument against the cosmetic tax is the potential HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) violation that can be associated with implementation of the tax. The HIPAA laws are intended to protect individuals and their medical information. Implementation of cosmetic taxes requires the physician to self-regulate, and the government to trust this honor system. Alternatively, the state government could have access to patient records, including financial disclosures. Physicians are constantly required to increase protection of patient records, but federal and state laws such as the proposed cosmetic tax put at risk this protection. Additionally, implementation of these taxes will increase administrative costs to the physician. DR. JONATHAN SYKES President of the AAFPRS Professor/Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery UC Davis Health System Contact Dr. Sykes at 916.734.2347 or firstname.lastname@example.org A NOTE FROM THE OFPSA PRESIDENT In life we are undoubtedly faced with challenges and obstacles. Success is ultimately defined by how we respond to these daily “fires” we are confronted with. During a particularly taxing clinic day, I often recall Albert Einstein’s declaration that “in the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” Over the past seven years, I have learned that the OFPSA is an organization that shares Einstein’s view. To me, this organization has represented a tremendous chance to not only turn difficult times into opportunities for individual growth, but to share, educate, and strengthen our industry as a whole. It is by offering guidance to our neighbors that we truly become a community. I am excited to send our first digital newsletter for 2011 and I look forward to providing more tips and pearls from those who have donated their time and wisdom to our members. I encourage you to spread the word about the OFPSA network and invite your peers to join. To paraphrase Margaret Mead, “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can effect change - indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Along with the other officers, I would like to conclude by thanking a few individuals who are responsible for ensuring this great organization continues to thrive. Steve Duffy, Rita Magness, Ann Holton and ReGina Simo have passionately dedicated many years of support to the OFPSA. Without your efforts, this network wouldn’t be what it is today. We thank you for your continued support. Additionally, Richard Linder and Dr. Jennifer Linder of PCA Skin have graciously sponsored the fall OFPSA meeting scheduled for September 8th-9th in San Francisco, CA. The support of PCA Skin is truly an honor. TRACY L. DRUMM President of OFPSA Office of Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS Contact Tracy at 312.335.1700 or email@example.com Please look for our next e-newsletter scheduled to arrive in early August. Warm wishes, 5 JOIN THE “Being the only one in my department, OFPSA has given me a wonderful group to go to with questions or to bounce ideas off!” - Debbie Scheib, LPN, ENT Facial Plastic Surgery “The OFPSA has helped me perform my job at a new level of efficiency. I can’t begin to quantify what I have learned from my involvement. Our practice always enjoys A SURGE OF NEW APPOINTMENTS after implementing what I learn at the annual meetings.” –Tracy Drumm, Steven H. Dayan, MD, FACS “I know that I could not have survived at the capacity I have without the OFPSA. The education has been a great opportunity for me and my staff. The network of individuals has been priceless. There are meetings every day that address medical office issues such as human resources, front desk and billing, but to be a part of a group that actually does what you do, and understands the day-to-day issues and specifically focuses on the same specialty is worth its weight in gold.” – ReGina Simo, Frank Simo, MD, FACS 6 JUNE 2011 / OFPSA PRINT | DOWNLOAD “This organization is so much more than just the amazing educational opportunities at the annual meeting; it is also a network of allies striving toward the same goal to create and maintain successful practices.” - Triste Rosebrough, RN, Catherine Winslow, MD, FACS "This organization has exposed me to ways I can be the best in my profession, by giving me the tools to succeed.” -Kristi Fritz, Ira D. Papel, MD from the membership coordinator In the spring of 2005, our facial plastic surgery office was thriving. As a “reward” for my loyalty, I was appointed the office manager and placed in charge of hiring the additional staff our office so desperately needed. Having started my career as a pediatric nurse, I was now faced with an essential task that left me in a nervous sweat even Botox® couldn’t solve! Fortunately, I had attended my first OFPSA meeting the previous year and, in a ‘light bulb over the head’ moment, recalled that help in any form had been offered by many offices. I decided to put their words to the test. I began by reaching out to ReGina Simo. She ran her husband’s practice and surely she had been in a similar position before. One email later and I had consents, job descriptions and hiring ideas. Could it be possible that someone was willing to share so much, hardly knowing me? Surely my experience with ReGina was just a fluke(if you know her she really is that nice about everything). A year or so later, I faced the same predicament when planning marketing and pricing for aesthetic lasers. Again relying on my newest and best weapon in my arsenal, I emailed another member of the OFPSA. Not only did their practice have that laser but the practice manager was certainly willing to help me with the consent wording and to share marketing experience. I have been Dr. Winslow’s office manager for seven years now, and have relied on my network of contacts and friends numerous times. This organization is so much more than just the amazing educational opportunities at the annual meeting; it is also a network of friends and allies striving toward the same goal to create and maintain successful practices. The camaraderie and fellowship we share at our meetings has me looking forward to next fall, and as my commitment to the organization has solidified, so has my involvement! As Membership Coordinator, I have an obligation to maintain and grow membership. My enthusiasm about the OFPSA makes this one of the easiest jobs I have. TRISTE ROSEBROUGH, RN Membership Coordinator Winslow Facial Plastic Surgery For information about joining the OFPSA, contact Triste at 317.814.1104 or firstname.lastname@example.org 7 The Saga of EMR by ReGina Simo “This is hands-on: roll up your sleeves and make it your own, make it flow the way you work, the way your physician works.” I began writing this article knowing that I am not the only office manager that has converted over to Electronic Medical Records (EMR), but at the time, I felt like I was the only person on earth that had to endure this painful journey! 1. Make sure your software company is totally on board with you and offers complete support. I have always structured my work life and my personal life like a boy scout -”be prepared”, and I approached EMR no differently. Our office moved to a plastic-surgery-friendly software about two years ago with the future plans to move into EMR. At the beginning of this year, with plans in place, we set out on our journey - and oh, what a journey it was. 3. Define “Success” for your office staff before you go live and have realistic goals. Realize that you are at the mercy of what your software can and cannot do. The first steps of scanning existing charts in the midst of a crazy busy practice were we thought at the time easy. Ok - that was done, and next on the list was to design the templates. Templates you say…oh…just taking our paper forms and making them all electronic. No problem. Well, that task for us became bigger than solving the federal deficit. This is not something for which you can summon outside help or even depend on your software support. This is hands-on: roll up your sleeves and make it your own, make it flow the way you work, the way your physician works. In my opinion, this is the biggest hurdle of EMR conversion. However, once you get everyone on board and get the basic templates done it is just an incredible investment of time. I found myself in the office for 73 days straight…talk about crazy! But when it is all said and done (and honestly, we are not there yet, there is a lot of tweaking going on after six months)…it is nice. EMR is like going through medical school; you have to put a lot of effort into it in the beginning but the outcome continues to pay off and somewhere through the process you begin to love it. A positive, immediate observation that took place in our one-physician, 13-staff-member office including a medical spa was the consistency of information being entered. I have one medical esthetician that would chart a “War and Peace” novel on each treatment and then I had one medical esthetician that created the sparsest of notes in the chart. Now they are given choices and are able to quickly make the information complete and thorough. REGINA SIMO Practice Manager of Facial Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery Center and Spaderma in Saint Louis, Missouri. Email your EMR experience or for questions, email@example.com 8 JUNE 2011 / OFPSA Although the biggest challenge was with the physician, it is leading him down a more efficient time management path (he just doesn’t know it yet). For those of you that are considering going to EMR or are definitely down that road, my best advice is… PRINT | DOWNLOAD 2. Be prepared for the ancillary costs such as scanners, tablets and signature pads (see my resource list below). 4. Do as much planning as you possibly can prior to beginning. 5. Understand that this is an evolutionary process and does not end with the implementation. 6. Don’t take it on alone; have at least one additional person in your office that can help with each and every level of the implementation. 7. If you have the staff available, try to scan your own charts so that you can categorize them as you wish. 8. Start small and work big. Pull your charts of patients that already have appointments on your schedule and then scan as you go. This is an overwhelming task on its own. 9. Have plenty of chocolate…you are going to need it. Resources: Tablets – Motion Computing (F5v Tablet) www.motioncomputing.com Dell Duo (keyboard and mouse, but flips to use as a touch pad) www.dell.com Signature Pad - Wacom – Bamboo Tablets and Signature Pads www.wacom.com Scanners -Fujitsu 5110 (great quality and fast) www.fujitsu.com Surviving the Hiring Process: Tips On Finding Good Employees, and How To Keep Them by Susie Naficy “Good people are hard to find.” Sadly, the old cliché referencing the challenges of staffing is very true making the hiring process, at times, a very difficult and lengthy experience. Typically an economic downturn produces a large pool of applicants and therefore many choices for employers. However, how do you sift through all the hopefuls to find the true gems who will bring value to your patients and to your practice? 1. Hire attitude, not necessarily experience Don’t limit your applicant pool by requiring prior experience in plastic surgery or a medical office setting. For certain positions - such as reception staff experience in industries outside of medicine is actually a benefit. A receptionist with a background in retail or another service industry generally will have much stronger customer service skills over front office staff from another medical office. Even for more technical positions - such as nursing place more emphasis on hiring enthusiasm, positive attitude and hard work ethic. Technical skills can be taught to those who have the right foundation, and who truly want to learn. 2.Set up your staff for success Set your employees up for success by hiring the right personality fit for the job. Front office staff will need to have naturally strong people skills and enjoy a great deal of daily interaction. If you are not a natural people-person, a position that requires you to talk to people all day long could be utterly exhausting. Other positions will need different behavioral styles in order to succeed. For instance, a successful nurse will need to be naturally patient and caring, and an esthetician might need to be strong in sales. Behavioral analysis tools, such as the DISC assessment (a well-respected analysis tool found online), can assist in the hiring process by identifying a candidate’s natural behavioral style. 3. Be wary of the “consumer” applicant Be aware of the candidate’s motivation for joining your team. Unfortunately, job openings in cosmetic surgery offices tend to attract many applicants who are simply looking for free or discounted treatments to benefit their own beauty regimen. You want to hire individuals who are passionate about customer service and patient care - not someone who will jump ship once they realize the Botox isn’t always free. 4. Put your job candidates to the test Everyone knows how to be on their best behavior during a job interview - smiling face, prepared answers, enthusiasm and energy abound. However, only those who really mean it can keep these qualities up over the long term. “Technical skills can be taught to those who have the right foundation, and who truly want to learn.” Invite your final selections to join your office for a one-week paid “working interview”. During this time, have candidates mimic their proposed working schedule, and actually participate in the daily tasks at the office as they would if hired as a permanent employee. This exercise is as beneficial to the candidate as it is to the employer - some candidates might see that the job was not what they thought it would be, and may decide to withdraw their application. It is better to realize this during an interview as opposed to after a hiring decision has been made. The week long working interview is also a wonderful way to ensure that the candidate meshes well with your existing staff. Provide feedback forms to your employees and encourage them to voice their comments about the candidate. Your staff will appreciate your consideration of their input. 5. Keep your employees happy and turnover low Statistics show that it costs a cosmetic practice 10 times as much to recruit a new patient than to keep an established patient happy. The same is true for employees. Hiring for practice growth aside, the easiest way to manage the difficulties of hiring new staff is to limit the number of times you need to actively hire. Happy employees and low turnover are among the most important elements to your practice’s success. Employees who like their job and feel good about what they do will transfer this positive attitude to your patients, and will create an overall atmosphere of success in your office. SUSIE NAFICY Owner/Office Manager Naficy Plastic Surgery and Rejuvenation Center Contact Susie at firstname.lastname@example.org PRINT | DOWNLOAD JUNE 2011 / OFPSA 11 5 WAYS TO INTEGRATE CHANGE IN PRACTICE MANAGEMENT Change happens in business, at home, in communities, and in life all the time and often all at once. Change can be brought on by decisions made by others (such as an increase in price of your daily cup of coffee), decisions made by you (such as joining a health club), decisions made by both you and others (such as the outcome of an election for your community) or by random occurrences (such as natural disasters). Often, in business, the reasons for change are the result of a combination of factors brought on by yourself, your peers, your supervisors, your clients, and your environment. How you respond is what makes the difference. Many people emotionally respond to change. They complain, curse or run from change when it is uncomfortable, scary or depressing, and then embrace change when it is inspiring, hopeful, and exciting. 12 JUNE 2011 / OFPSA PRINT | DOWNLOAD Few people actually think through the process of change to find an intellectual response. You must understand that ultimately you personally choose how you respond to change: emotionally or logically. No one else does that for you. We have found that with coaching and practice, it is possible to redevelop your mental process of change acceptance, so you can confidently react in a manner that will provide the best outcome. You of course will experience emotional responses that will encourage you to react in a particular way. This emotional reaction may or may not be the best logical reaction to the change. Although it is hard to take a step back and find reason when naturally our emotional self wants to respond first, it is achievable. With these steps, you can create a more effective approach to how you choose to respond to change. by Suzanne Lombardo 5 Ways To Integrate Change In Practice Management Define the Change: What is the change? Detail the facts and leave out the emotions. Here are three documented versions of the same change: 1) we have a new Practice Manager; 2) a new Practice Manager joined our team one week ago and has over five years of experience in managing a different type of office; 3) one of our hard-working and loyal staff members was promoted to Practice Manager one week ago. Clearly stating or defining the change can alter the perception of the content, even when you are stating it just to yourself. If you find yourself adding emotional flavor to your definition, whether it’s positive or negative, remove it from your statements. Keep it simple and state the all the facts so you can follow the additional steps without bias. Do you understand why the change was made? If not, have you approached your supervisor, manager, or owner for further education to better understand the change? It is amazing how many people want more information or an explanation to allow them to accept the reason for change, but for some reason don’t ask. Next time you need information, try this. Approach the person who presented the change with a sincere smile and excitement. Say, “Hello _____! I would like to speak with you regarding ________ [insert the specific change] that you presented. It would be helpful if you could provide me with more information regarding the reasons for the change so that I can implement it effectively.” Their response to you will be more open and honest because they see your interest and dedication to completing their mission. “...it is critical that you find understanding and meaning for acceptance.” Describe the Purpose and Goal: Why does the change exist? Receive this information without emotion. There are many reasons for change in a practice environment such as business growth, economical challenges, reorganization, operational and technological developments, legal decisions and healthcare modifications. Try to think like a business owner or manager and define from which area the change developed. What will the change produce? Most controllable change is created for a reason and has a defined goal. How long will it take to achieve this goal? Will this lead to a better work environment, balance of work and home for staff, equality among team members, more efficient Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), healthier relationships among departments? Has, can or will the change affect other areas of the practice? If you are not certain of these answers, it is again important that you collect the answer from the person presenting the change. Here’s a hint: If you are having trouble putting this process into words, try creating a diagram or organizational chart that begins with the “change” and links to the affected staff, departments, goals, etc. A clear purpose or goal should be defined so that you can respond with an appropriate plan of action to meet the goal and potential challenges related to implementation and execution. Find Understanding and Meaning: Now that you have collected the information necessary regarding the change that is taking place, it is critical that you find understanding and meaning for acceptance. This step is crucial to a positive and productive coping process to prevent harboring negativity and destructive gossip amongst the staff. 14 JUNE 2011 / OFPSA Now take a walk in the other’s shoes and examine the information… Based on the information that you have received from the initiator, how does this change affect those that instilled the change? Is it creating a better work environment for them? Will it make their job moreor lesscomplicated? Will it create more financial resources for the company? Will it create more structure and organization? Will it allow them to communicate better with me? Each of these questions may seem one sided, to the benefit of the creator. When you dive deeper into them however, you can see how these questions also support those receiving the change. Read them again with that perspective. Do you see how creating change may not only benefit the initiator, but also benefit those that the change affects? You now have their purpose of why you should share in this change. Next you must find yourself within this process. It is easier to accept change once you can define yourself within the change.Think about this logically though, again without emotion. How does this change affect you? Does it change your job description or your function? Does it make your job moreor lesscomplicated? Does it give you less or more opportunity? Can you positively affect the business or others in participating in this change? Will the result be better achieved with your participation? With the understanding and meaning that you have found from all perspectives, you will be more comfortable and open to accepting the change and often even creating a positive environment to encourage others to accept the change as well. Create the Opportunity When consulting, we often ask business owners, managers, providers and the support staff, “Have you thought about the problem from the other perspec- PRINT | DOWNLOAD tive? Have you thought about how this will affect everyone else? Have you asked anyone else for their input and how this will improve the situation, or not?” More often than not, their responses are yes, but they don’t necessarily know how to deliver the information in a method that will be well received and sometimes even fail to effectively carry out the plan. We all need to understand that in every organization we each serve a purpose and play a role.Otherwisemany of our positions would be unnecessary. If you are true to yourself and the company, yourpurpose will be respected and be a positive carrier of change. You should recall the old adage, “it takes two”, because it is absolutely applicable in this situation. Success doesn’t normally happen solo … there is usually someone or many that are supporting that person along his or herjourney. It takes a team working together to create that success.To ensure an effective transition and implementation of the change, it is vital you understand the importance of your role in creating the opportunity to make that happen. By focusing on theopportunity, you will gain more control of the change and have more of an impact on the progression of this event. The company will praise your efforts, your peers will be likely to follow your lead, and you will earn respect. The opportunities resulting from your actions could lead to promotion and a more prestigious network of resources, effectively helping you achieve your personal and professional goals. Take Action Now it’s time to step up and be a leader during the change. You have taken the time to define the change and understand why it is happening, so you are ahead of the game at this point. You will find others around you, however,who are notcomfortable with change and will be releasing negative energy and remarks stemming from fear of the unknown. Act as a guide to promote the benefits of the change during the transition. Be a positive influence to create a good, healthy environment. If you find that you need assistance from your superiors, seek out the help. Provide feedback to them so they understand how they can better communicate to the staff. Communication is a key function of any process implementation and will dictate whether the end result is positive or negative. Open, constructive dialogue should be present on all fronts. Those that succeed are able to acknowledge, comprehend and respond to change in a manner that improves their position and the positions of those around them. You have the control to act vs. react, choose your responses carefully, and create a positive environment. Go ahead, put your best foot forward and reap the rewards! SUZANNE LOMBARDO Consultant Five Phase Medical Consulting Contact Suzanne at email@example.com Blogging: Effective or A Waste of Time? by Catherine Maley Just when you thought you had the latest Web musthaves, blogs burst onto the scene and are now one of the hottest Web marketing tools. But does that mean you should follow the trend and blog on your own? Well, that depends. The Search Engine Journal reported the following pertinent statistics about blogging: • More than 133 million blogs have been created • 77% of internet users read blogs according to Universal McCann • More than half are married and more than half are parents • 60% are 18-44 • 75% have college degrees and 40% have graduate degrees • One in four has an annual household income of $100K With statistics like these, it’s obvious a blog gives you the potential to reach beyond your typical promotional efforts to attract and start a dialog with new patients who are interested in aesthetic rejuvenation, so let’s understand this medium better. What’s a Blog? Why Blog A blog is basically a journal on your website. It’s a frequent, chronological publication of your own personal thoughts and insights. Blogging can help you develop a loyal following and it allows you to get your message out. It’s also a great vehicle for patient feedback since they can comment on your blog posts. Blogging can be a cheap, fast way to build an online presence and establish your credibility and expertise that positions you as a thought-leader in your field. It’s also an easy way to educate existing and prospective patients about your services using your own voice. You write about any topic of your choice on an ongoing basis. The most recent additions are featured at the top of the site followed by older postings and give visitors the option of commenting on entries, linking to the blog and emailing the blogger directly. How to Create a Blog As a marketing tool, blogging can fast-track your presence on the internet because it enhances your search engine optimization efforts. This is an important point. The more content you provide about your specialized knowledge, the more the search engines will index you as a credible resource. That equals better positioning and ranking in search results. In addition, because blogs are updated often, they improve your “find-ability” on the Internet. That, in turn, can increase traffic to your Website and that can help convert visitors to loyal patients. Creating a blog is simple and usually free. Some of the more popular blogging sites (WordPress.com or Blogging.com) give you simple, step-by-step instructions, along with templates, to get you up and running within minutes. While blogging does not replace your other promotional efforts, it does add another medium to target new patients that otherwise would have never known you – especially those patients who use the internet to do their research. This is about informal communications and enables your existing and prospective patients to interact with you by commenting on what you’ve said. It’s more personable and accessible because it allows your readers to get to know you and your services in a comfortable way. “...it’s obvious a blog gives you the potential to reach beyond your typical promotional efforts to attract and start a dialog with new patients...” 16 JUNE 2011 / OFPSA PRINT | DOWNLOAD CATHERINE MALEY, MBA President Cosmetic Image Marketing Contact Catherine at 877.339.8833 or firstname.lastname@example.org A Good Aesthetic Practice Blog If you think blogging may be for you, blogs that work well for attracting new patients offer the following key elements: A great blog name. Your blog name should be something easy to remember that says what the blog is about so prospective patients who are hungry for this information can click and read. Most physicians use their name and use their website name and just add blog after it; however, it’s even more strategic to use key words would-be patients would be attracted to such as liposuctionblog or wrinkledoctorblog. This also helps your search engine optimization rankings. A tag line or blog purpose statement. Be sure to add a tagline to explain the nature of your blog, especially is your title doesn’t cover it or when you use only your name. An example would be, “Everything you need and want to know about safe and effective liposuction straight from the physician himself.” An easy way to get automatic blog updates. For new patients to subscribe to your blog, you can use a service to get an email notification whenever you post a new blog with a link to it. Or you can use an RSS feed, which is a link your readers can click on and have immediate access to your new blog entries without having to search for your blog. This mean that anyone who subscribes to your RSS feed automatically be notified when you post. A list of categories. Make a list of eight to 10 subtopics you will be writing about. These categories are set up ahead of time and they help index your content so it’s easier for people to find you. For example, if you‘re blogging about liposuction, categories can include fat removal and body contouring. A natural voice. Your content should be informal and to the point. Talk just as you would with a patient during a consultation. Leave out the medical jargon and be brief. Your blog should give would-be patients good educational information about procedures while showcasing your expertise. It should also invite your readers to take action by commenting and sharing. A list of recent posts and recent comments. You want to display at least the first 10 most recent entries. This helps your readers judge whether your blog pots are relevant to their interests. Links to useful Websites, products and services. Include links from relevant sites you comment on – especially those that get lots of traffic. Let’s say you’re discussing a new, longer-lasting filler. As a reader service, add a link to the company’s Website so your readers can learn more. This is good Website etiquette and they may return the favor. As easy way for readers to converse with you. Only one percent of blog readers will actively participate and leave comments, so you have to continually blog, ask questions and encourage feedback. When you do get a response, be sure to answer back in a timely way. Beware of the Pitfalls Blogging is time-consuming. Expect to blog twothree times a week, at a minimum, and count on 15-30 minutes per blog. If you have a lot of content and enjoy writing, that time may be shortened. But it adds up over the course of your work week. So decide if it’s worth your effort. Once you make the commitment to blog, be sure you stick with it. More than 50% of blogs are abandoned within the first 90 days. It doesn’t look good if you start a blog on your website and then don’t keep up with it. Doing this can hurt your reputation, your image and your results. You’ll also want to monitor the comments you get, since positive as well as negative remarks will be seen by all. You can set up your blog to moderate comments with a user name and password, but this places a barrier between you and your readers and isn’t recommended. It’s better to be notified when a reader comments and then take action to delete it or respond to it accordingly. Be careful how technical and specific you get so that what you write doesn’t come back to affect you negatively. Your visitors need to be reminded that you’re speaking generally about topics you know well. If readers want specific medical advice, however, they need to meet with you personally. Another challenge is getting existing and prospective patients to visit your blog. To generate interest in it, display your blog link on your website’s home page. You can also send announcements to your email list with a link to your blog, encouraging them to comment. It’s also helpful to follow and comment on other’s blogs, but again, this is time-consuming. You may want to set up a schedule to blog three days a week and then comment on others’ blogs three days a week. Visit other physician blogs to see the content they’re providing and the feedback they’re getting. This will help you determine if you, too, are willing and able to keep a blog active and alive. Find someone who can manage your blog. My best advice is to give this project to a current or new staff member who loves this new world of social media marketing. They can write, post and monitor for you so this becomes their job duty - not yours. If you really want to do this yourself, make blogging a part of your schedule and block days and times for you to write several at once so you always have a funnel of new content waiting to post. 17 10 e r u s n E o t Ways r e t n e C e r a C n i k S r You e u n e v e R s Generate b y Te rr i Wo ja k 1 Hire the Right Staff 2 Educate Support Staff 3 Offer Add-on Services 4 Set Service and Retail Goals 5 Cross Promote You cannot have a successful business without strong, driven staff members. This can make or break your skincare business. Make sure that whomever you hire is motivated, honest and loyal to the practice. Check previous job history and references. If you’re unsure, have potential employees do an internship to make sure they are a good fit. Every staff member, from the receptionist to the physician, must be educated on all services offered at your facility. The optimal way to do this is would be to provide all staff members with the option to receive the services you offer. Other ways to ensure that the staff know the ins and outs of each service is to have staff members take turns shadowing each other for a day or have staff in-services where each employee takes turns going through their job description. Have add-on services available. Some of these services can include an eye treatment, neck treatment, décolleté or hand treatments. These treatments can be peels, microdermabrasion, or hydrating masks. It is a great way to bring in extra revenue and clients often appreciate the fact that you offer specialized treatments for these areas of concern. Set goals for your employees on service and retail sales to challenge them and always keep them working for more. Every provider should set individual goals for themselves. These goals should be reviewed quarterly with their supervisor. Examples of these goals can be to have each client leave with one product, to pre-book 90% of clients or to add-on five services in a day. Make sure the medical side is promoting the services offered by the skincare center. Offer discounts for skin care services post-laser to enhance the effects of the laser treatments and to give patients a chance to meet the skin care staff. A complimentary post-surgical treatment is a must, not only can it help reduce swelling but also makes the patients feel better and relaxed during healing stages. 6 Be Efficient With Your Time 7 Excel in Customer Service 8 Keep Clients Up-To-Date 9 Be Available You must be efficient with your time to make the most of your business; the most valuable asset to each service department is the provider. Have the appropriate time set out for treatments and adjust your schedule accordingly. Make sure clients are booked back to back without gaps in between the schedule. Without good customer service your business will not prosper; it is the number one way to retain clientele. In the service industry, there is no business without clients and patients. Customer service should be thought of as concierge service, don’t just get by; give everyone the top of the line. Ask patients to review your business to ensure that everyone is doing a great job. Follow-up phone calls are a must to guarantee satisfaction. You must stay current on beauty trends that the press and media are pushing out, as that is what the consumers are coming to you thinking about. Have educational tools available for your clients, such as brochures, DVDs and newsletters. A patient education center with take-aways for the clients is a great start. You must have hours that are convenient for your clients. Saturday appointments and evenings are necessary. Many people work from 9am5pm so it is important to have hours that will fit your clientele’s needs. Having late nights and weekends available to accommodate your clients will increase your ability to build and retain your clientele. 10 Create Incentive Programs for Staff Staff members will generally work harder when they have been incentivized. If employees are on salary, set a bonus structure dependant on the amount of revenue each employee brings in. Offering commission on esthetic services and product sales will also make skin care specialists strive for more. TERRI WOJAK Esthetics Director/ Educator True Skin Care Center/True University Contact Terri at 312.335.2070 or email@example.com PRINT | DOWNLOAD JUNE 2011 / OFPSA 19 Is Your Office Running At Maximized Potential? Ways to ensure your staff is operating at their full potential so office productivity is at an all time high. I am writing this article from personal experience. I started off my career as a sales representative, before working my way up into management, specifically in Aesthetics the last 4 years. I now consult for a high profile Plastic Surgeon. It has been an enlightening experience looking at the business internally vs. externally and seeing first hand what offices need or can do to ensure they are operating at full potential. Time is money. Proficiency equals efficiency. Making sure you have the right people, with the right skills and attitude is critical for any successful practice. It has become very evident that doctors are not sales people or business people; some are, don’t get me wrong. Most, however, are focused on providing a high level of patient care. The infrastructure of the office is like gas in the car. Understanding the dynamics of an office, the protocols, policies and procedures, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each staff member can be a matter of operating at status quo or increasing your business significantly. In this Having the consultant visit an office can be an experience which office personnel dread. The immediate reaction is a stranger is going to come to the practice, take over, look for flaws in their work, and threaten their job. It’s a normal human nature reaction, I get it. Trust me, it is more about the person you select and why you feel you need or want someone with a certain level of expertise. The ultimate goal is “collaboration” - to work together to enhance what is already there and make it better. Dr. Michael Persky, a Facial Plastic Surgeon in Encino, CA is a very active, sought-after physician who I’ve worked with recently that will attest to the value of what an outside person with a new set of eyes looking at the practice can contribute to improvements. I mentioned earlier time is money. How many of us would love to learn something new, or get better skilled in an area? What if by making small changes you had greater job satisfaction, made the office more money, felt more confident and received deserved recognition? “Be passionate and excited; if you are, they will be too.” economy, with more and more competition, especially in Aesthetics, it is the small changes that can be made within the office that will significantly improve your business overall, in sales, customer service and patient care. I have worked with several physicians and staff over the years, many of which still are friends, and I get asked all the time, “Will you come in our office, evaluate, and help me work with my staff ?” No one is good at everything, particularly office staff who have not formally been trained in sales. Now is the time to improve your staff ’s skill set and ability. 20 JUNE 2011 / OFPSA PRINT | DOWNLOAD We always talk about marketing, internal and external. Consistency and frequency of message to get patients in the door, but it starts with you. The definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get a different result.” Try implementing a few of these tactics and see if they work for you as they have worked for me. • Smile and greet them by using their first name – patients can feel your energy, good or bad. Their perception will be the deciding factor if they come back or not, the doctor is only one component. • Get to know patients on a personal basis – everyone wants to feel an emotional connection with someone, as it makes them feel important. You want to establish a long term relationship. • When patients are in the waiting room, whether you know them or not, ask them questions, especially if they are a new patient. For example - how did they hear about your office? Why did they want to come in and for what service? Who was your previous doctor? More importantly, you should already have a plan on how to retain them. You only have 1 chance. Give them what we call “concierge service”. • When they call you on the phone and ask about price, do you just give it to them? Absolutely not. Never ever give price, they are shopping. Rather engage them by asking 3 questions such as 1) What made you contact this office? 2) Have you had this treatment before? 3) What other aesthetic services are you interested in? Get them talking, and they will become interested. Close them to come in for a consult. That is the goal. • Educate them while they are in the office. I have heard so many times from offices, “I am not aggressive or I only talk about something if they ask me.” If you are not telling them about a service or treatment you perform then you are missing an opportunity. People come to you and expect knowledge and expertise; they trust what you tell them. If you don’t inform them it is really a disservice to you and them and someone else will. • Be passionate and excited; if you are, they will be too. Jim Collins is the author of “Good to Great”, Built to Last and How the Mighty Fall. This book says it all. It is a small investment in your office and yourself, for a lifetime of opportunity and growth. TERRI ROSS Practice / Business Consultant Dr. Garth Fisher, Plastic Surgeon, Beverly Hills City Center for Beauty and Wellness, Beverly Hills and Los Angeles Contact Terri at firstname.lastname@example.org 21 THE TOP 6 by Jay A. Shorr, BA, CMBM, CAC NEGOTIATING TIPS Before we begin to review and discuss the 6 best tips of negotiation, we need to define exactly what the term “negotiation” really means. Wikipedia defines ‘negotiation’ as “…a dialogue between two or more people or parties, intended to reach an understanding… Negotiation is a process where each party involved in negotiating tries to gain an advantage for themselves by the end of the process. Negotiation is intended to aim at compromise.” Let’s take a look at the roles that we play in negotiating and determine how we use this skill in our practices. Look at the differences in our negotiations between doctors and patients, and between practices and vendors. PHYSICIAN EMPLOYER / PROVIDER – the negotiation process in which we hire employees. The same position in our office may not have identical compensation to various employees since the experience levels may be different, yet the position is still the same. We may even be willing to pay a little more for a new employee if we feel that it will be worth it in the end. We negotiate to accommodate….for all parties involved, or else we will be back to the negotiation table sooner than we expect. PHYSICIAN BUYER – we can never run our practices without purchasing something…anything…or everything. From the moment we open our doors to our patients, we have to be ready for business. That requires a location, utilities, office and medical supplies, office and medical equipment, fixtures, technology, and most important of all, our staff. Negotiating Is Not A Game Of Winners And Losers The “WIN WIN” that I spoke about earlier is the #1 end result for which we strive. We always need to find a solution where both parties “win”. We are not in a contest that must be won. An even scorecard guarantees a winner on both sides. The true value of what we are negotiating for is what someone is willing to pay for it, and for which price the other party is willing to sell. We give discounts all the time in our practices for various reasons. This can be to move expiring product or to meet the local competition. There are very few places and very few situations where you can’t negotiate. Always maintain control (physical and emotional) during the process, as either party will realize a weakness and that’s where your strength diminishes. This is where the best poker players have an advantage on their competition because they sense the weaknesses of others and capitalize on it. Realize That We Have The Right To Negotiate & Embrace It Seriously. Chances are you’ve worked very hard for your money. It’s your RIGHT to ask for a better price, more benefits, a free warranty, or a 20% first-time-customer discount. Your business is extremely valuable! And here’s another little secret: most vendors want you to negotiate. They’d love to give a quick 10-20% discount if it means retaining you as a customer. Most pay far more than that on average to get a new customer. Show them your value and exercise your right to negotiate! So, now that we are ready to open, how did we get everything in place? Some form of negotiations had to take place, and if not, then we have a more serious problem than we ever knew existed. Benefits Of Proper Negotiation • • • • • • Win-Win for both parties involved Employee stability Repeat business due to trust Referrals from patients and vendors Reputation management in the industry Focusing on the issues and not the personalities Pitfalls Of Improper Negotiation • • • • • • Can be one sided or both parties lose Heavy employee turnover No repeat business No current or future referrals Poor reputation management in the industry Focusing on personalities, not the issues “From the moment we open our doors to our patients, we have to be ready for business.” PRINT | DOWNLOAD JUNE 2011 / OFPSA 23 The Top 6 Negotiating Tips Let’s take a look at the 6 Best Negotiating Tips: 1. Understand The Person’s Needs And Objectives We need to understand the other party’s needs and objectives, and they need to understand ours. How can we ever meet a patient’s expectations if we never knew what those expectations were from the start? How many times did you think that you did a great job, only to find that the patient comes back unhappy? How could you have misunderstood what their expectations were? Upon the completion of the consultation and negotiation process, a summary of the event must be put in writing to avoid any misunderstanding on either part. After all, we treat hundreds of patients each week, and there is no way that you can remember what you said to every patient. Concentrate on the patient’s needs and expectations before, not after. With vendors, they must understand our needs and objections. Our need is to purchase, and theirs is to sell. Pricing is not the same for each and every practice. Various conditions go into price differences, including vendor selection, demographics, quantity purchases, etc. This includes the daily supplies we use for patients, capital equipment to perform procedures, as well as services in our offices (housekeeping, maintenance contracts, biomedical, and rent). Many of these can be negotiated and absorbed by the vendor since most of them work off of a commission. Don’t be afraid to negotiate for all of these things. Excessive costs over time significantly reduce profitability, and most vendors want you more than you want them. We also need to understand the patients’ and vendors’ perspective on how they feel about the negotiation process. You may be totally unaware of the fears and or concerns exhibited from the other party. On the patient’s side, the concerns (compelling event) might be pain or finances. We can possibly solve both at once if we knew what they are ahead of time, and that takes due diligence and planning which we will touch on later. We are able to address the pain issue with various levels of anesthesia and on the financial side we may be able to offer various levels of discounts or financing. On the vendor’s side, they must be able to meet your expectations as well. You also have fears and objections. Your fears may consist of cost, revenue generation and maintenance. Here again, the vendor may be able to assist in some very aggressive or free financing (possibly in-house), additional maintenance at discounted or no extra cost, and extensive marketing in order to assist you in generating enough revenue to be able to afford the product. 24 JUNE 2011 / OFPSA 2. Don’t Ever Be Afraid To Ask Questions…And Insist On Answers • The results were not as expected. Our patients have no trouble letting us know that they can’t afford certain procedures and that they want a better deal, so why can’t we? Remember, the worst that anyone can say is “NO”. • The equipment may be too new on the market and may have uncorrected faults. Here are a few common items that can be negotiated prior to every sale/purchase: • You may find additional concerns that were not expressed to you prior to the sale. • Better pricing and financing terms including in-house financing for free. This can be accomplished by asking for short term equal installments so that the debt is paid off quickly. Many vendors offer 90 day extended financing for free. • Additional training, safety equipment and consumables (tips, cryogen, eye shields, laser goggles, personal and online training). • Additional warranty on equipment. You are usually given 1 year included in the contract but you will never be offered an extended warranty at a discounted rate or for free unless you ask for it. Capital sales vendors earn additional commissions on each item that they sell, and warranties are no different. • Marketing materials should be included in the deal so that you have enough to carry you forward from the very beginning. Don’t wait for the time to come where you have to pay for all of the generic brochures which do not promote YOUR individual practice, but rather promote theirs. • Loaner equipment is a major item that needs to be addressed. There are too many variables to consider a large investment without a test drive - it isn’t much different than buying a car. You have to make sure that you are totally comfortable with your purchase. Examples: • Patients may not tolerate the procedure well. • You may not be comfortable with the hand or foot piece. • The patient type may be limited. • You want to compare it to another piece of equipment that you are considering. 3. Prepare / Compare Preparation, also known as due diligence, requires a lot of energy and commitment. To paraphrase an old cliché, the three most important things about a negotiation are preparation, preparation, and preparation. Proper preparation certainly allows us to understand if the process is worth pursuing because we might find out early that we need to conclude the process or move quickly to finalize it because of rights of exclusivity, demographics, upgraded versions, or discontinued models. Today’s patients and vendors are more educated than ever before due to the availability of solid information on the internet. Patients are already wellinformed on the procedure about which they are calling, so having an ill-trained staff only serves as a negative. This makes an inquiring patient uneasy since they expect us to be the resident experts on the procedures that we perform. Proper training is a major factor in a solid negotiation because we can all seem like the experts that we are when we all say the same thing to a patient. When dealing with a vendor, the more that we know about what we are researching helps us sort out the unnecessary dialogue that usually takes place. Did the vendor prepare their pitch for us or is it generic? Our office needs are unique; therefore, we demand individualized attention. If the vendor doesn’t understand our business, and fails to meet our expectations in the preliminary sales process, then we certainly have an advantage going forward. Since there are more vendors trying to sell than there are practices to sell to, remember - they need us more than we need them. “Today’s patients and vendors are more educated than ever before due to the availability of solid information on the internet.” PRINT | DOWNLOAD “Don’t allow yourself to become bitter...” 4. Understand The Authority Levels And Limitations How many times have you gone through a myriad of options and alternatives during a consult, and thought that you had the upper hand? At the end of your consultation you ask for the deal only to find out that the patient has to check with another party (husband/wife/mother/sister etc.). Why didn’t you know this up front? Did you ask prior to the conclusion of the consult? Did you even ask when they were considering having the procedure performed or how many other consults they have already had? It helps us to know where we stand if we know the level of authority the person we are negotiating with has in the process. When we are negotiating with vendors, this is a must. We don’t have the time to waste in our offices when we need to be treating patients. Salespeople are only given a certain level of authority for discounting, financing, additional offerings, etc. and if we find this out early in the process, we can eliminate a lot of unnecessary wasted time by asking for someone with the ultimate authority to negotiate to your satisfaction. This holds true for your side of the negotiation as well - it is critical to understand what you want to achieve beforehand. That way, you’ll know when it’s time to stop. Know your bottom line. This prevents you from agreeing to something that is unacceptable. Establish a fall-back plan. Know your best alternative if you face an unsuccessful negotiation. Without a fall-back position, you are left with no alternative but to negotiate until a deal is reached, even if that agreement is unacceptable. 5. Insist That Everything Is In Writing During the negotiation process, promises are made that may not be able to be effectuated. We never know if these issues will come up until it happens, and then it’s too late. These types of issues can permanently destroy future relationships for the salesperson personally and the company that they represent. As Samuel Goldwyn once said: “An oral agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” When parties fail to live up to an agreement, written proof of the negotiators’ intent is critical. First, it enables you to avoid “he said, she said” bickering, and helps those in charge of resolving the dispute know what was intended. Written agreements also are helpful if the original negotiators change jobs. Let’s determine how this can happen in our practice. How many times have you quoted a price to a patient for a specific procedure and the patient relates a totally different scenario or treatment plan than the one that you reviewed with the patient. The amount of treatments and the fee associated with them isn’t even close or reasonable than the one that you quoted. If this had been quoted in writing, with a copy to the patient and a copy in the patient’s chart, the ill feelings would be minimized between all parties. In addition, having written proposals from competitive vendors plays an extremely important part in the process. You can always use another proposal to your advantage if more than one vendor offers the identical product or service for a significant difference in price. In layman terms, it’s called “Keeping the other guy honest.” 6. Don’t Be Afraid To Walk Away From The Deal The final step in the process is very personal. After making every attempt to conclude the deal, you find that you have come to an impasse. All too often, you can over-negotiate and end up having nothing. When a patient becomes unwilling to accept the best deal that you can offer, you have to consider walking away from the deal as they may possibly have unrealistic expectations about the level of service that you can provide. You are entitled to make a profit for the fruits of your labor, and they may even be too hard to manage for the minimal profit that you would be able to receive. Don’t allow yourself to become bitter about accepting a deal that you feel was not to your satisfaction. Remember that it’s OK to just walk away and spend that energy on a better deal. This works the same way when it comes time to negotiate on supplies, services and equipment. Remember that we have bottom lines and that we must be able to maintain certain margins by recouping our return on investment (ROI). If the deal does not pan out to be beneficial to you, or you feel that the vendor does not have your best interest at heart…it’s OK to walk away. Conclusion There are many more tips for proper negotiating, and each and every scenario is different. Let your conscience be your guide. Don’t be afraid to seek the advice of others in your industry who may have previous experience with certain vendors and patients. It is perfectly within your limits to seek the advice of a consultant who can also negotiate the best deal for you. Let the consultant know what steps you have already taken and where you stand in the existing process. They will be able to eliminate some of the confusion and move in the right direction a little quicker. Unfortunately, this has become a world of “it’s us against them,” but it can also be a rewarding experience when all parties leave the table feeling as if they all won. That’s the ultimate and successful compromise. JAY SHORR Independent Consultant The Best Medical Business Solutions Please feel free to contact Jay for practice management assistance. Jay can be reached at 954-720-6333 or at email@example.com. 25 FIVE things you might not know about Facebook One of the most exciting yet challenging aspects about social media is that it is constantly changing. Rules and guidelines change as privacy emerges as an issue. New features are added as social media becomes a must for any business, including medical practices to thrive. Society responds to social media platforms differently over time (while MySpace was once a priority platform, it is increasingly less important than it once was.) Here are a few things that you may not know about the popular platform Facebook.com: 1. Facebook can have an impact on your Search Engine Optimization (SEO). While Facebook’s impact is limited at this stage and several other factors take priority in determining SEO, the number of Facebook pages which share links to your website can make an impact on your website’s SEO by signaling buzz. Collaborating with other strong Fan Pages, and increasing the link sharing of your website on Facebook can make an impact, particularly in the Real-Time SEO feature on Google. 2. Facebook was created to help you connect with people that you actually know. Privacy settings have increased on Facebook within the past year to protect its users. If multiple people do not accept your friend request (whether they know you or not), Facebook may block your account temporarily or deactivate it. 3. You can upload your database to your Facebook Page. To help the increasing amount of businesses using Facebook, Facebook now offers the option of suggesting your Fan Page to your database. By clicking the “edit this page” option and clicking on the “marketing” tab, you will generate a list of ways to promote your page and stay in contact with your fans. Click the “Tell Your Fans” feature to upload a spreadsheet of your contacts. Facebook will send emails to them and invite them to like your page. 4. Don’t worry. You don’t have to post every day. – According to surveys, the number one reason why a Facebook page is “unliked” is because the page posts too frequently. Post quality content when it’s available, but don’t overwhelm your fans. 5. If Facebook were a country it would be the 3rd largest in the world. Just a fun fact. Don’t miss out on tapping into such a large market! If you’re not already on Facebook, it’s time to start connecting with your market. Friend OFPSA at www.facebook.com/ofpsa ASHLEY LUDGOOD Web and Social Media Strategist / IF Marketing Contact Ashely at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312.335.1700 Follow us on Twitter @loveifmark.com Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ifmarketing PRINT | DOWNLOAD JUNE 2011 / OFPSA 27 10 TRENDS OF THE BEST SECRETS TO AESTHETIC SUCCESS interview by Stacey Clarke, IF Marketing INDUSTRY EXPERT SPOTLIGHT WALTER GUEVARA Area Sales Manager Lumenis Medical Contact Walter at 877.586.3647 or email@example.com Nobody knows physicians and the aesthetic office more than the representative who visits practice after practice on a daily basis. A top Lumenis representative, area sales manager, and 20 year veteran of the medical sales industry, Walter Guevara lives in the trenches of the aesthetic practice. He sees the inner-workings of every type of practice – from the medical spa, to the specialized facial plastic surgeon. After years of conversations with staff, logging countless visits to waiting rooms, and forming friendships with physicians, Guevara has a knack for recognizing success in the aesthetic practice. Get in the trenches with him as he shares his experience of the best practices of the aesthetic industry. Walter Guevara Presents 10 Trends of Best Aesthetic Practices Invest in People Purchasing vs. Renting The successful physician invests in people before he invests in equipment. Your staff is often responsible for the first impression your practice makes, and they are a direct reflection on you. Your team needs to expertly perform treatments while creating an environment that makes patients want to come back over and over. Investing in professional development, such as sending a delegation to the annual American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS) meeting, can have a positive impact on your practice. When you hire staff, make sure that their technical and customer service training is regular and ongoing. Renting is a good way to try things out, but just keep in mind that patients could perceive you at a lower level of expertise if the equipment isn’t there to stay. Additionally, many patients won’t wait for their procedure which translates to lost revenue. If you sell a patient on a procedure, you don’t want to risk losing that patient to another practice just because your equipment isn’t available to them full time. Listening and Learning A physician can be incredibly well-trained and spend all of their time learning the science and their procedures, but they also need to know the importance of selling their procedures. Invest in in-office promotions that get patients asking questions. This will allow the physician to explain the benefits of different procedures available as patients become more active in the process. Keep three points in mind: listen, be prepared to overcome objections, and sell with honesty and good intentions. Marketing is Mandatory To open up conversations and get the patients asking questions requires strong internal marketing. Internal marketing means educating the patients that walk through your door about you, whether that be through material you provide to them or the way your staff treats them. If you recognize that no matter how you approach it, selling and marketing is not your strength, make sure that you have someone who can effectively book packages and procedures while upholding the image of the practice. Think Before You Buy When you select equipment, always keep your patient’s needs in mind. Diversify your practice with procedures that allow you to answer those needs. However, incorporating too many new procedures at once can overwhelm the staff and spread the physician’s skills too thin. When you do decide the time is right to add additional services to your practice, think of yourself as an investor and a consumer. If a company tells you that their consumable won’t be a burden on the practice but is touting a boom in consumable sales to their investors, dig deeper. Understand the Science When it comes to equipment, the most expensive piece you’ll buy is the one you buy twice. In my experience, when a physician buys a laser they are unhappy with, they tend to become a student of laser physics to understand why they aren’t getting the results they want. When investing in new technology, learn the science behind it first. If you learn what makes the equipment effective, you will understand where you should invest your money and will be able to master the procedure and gain a level of artistry your patients will recognize. Make Patients a Priority Closing for lunch may be convenient for staff, but it is definitely not convenient for patients. Every time that phone doesn’t get answered, you are potentially losing a patient. Many of your patients are hard-working, busy individuals. Their breaks in the day are before work, lunch time, and after work. They can’t be the same breaks that you take. A strong cosmetic practice has the phones manned at all times and hours convenient for their clientele. Hiring Staff Staff members are such a large part of generating revenue, especially in the cosmetic industry. When you hire staff, qualify candidates on the phone first. That is the way that they will communicate with your patients. Look for sales skills, presentation skills, and a take-on-anything attitude since you may have to ask them to wear many hats. Additionally, common sense is one of the most elusive but important traits. A receptionist who can think on his or her feet is worth a lot more than a receptionist who has the experience, but a slower learning curve. Training Staff If your staff can’t easily explain to you what procedures you offer, you should be worried about how they are explaining them to patients. Your pharmaceutical reps are a great resource. Ask them to teach your staff selling skills in addition to product or procedure knowledge. The journal articles and online magazines you read are also excellent resources – share them with your staff and encourage them to read and learn. Additionally, institute a training protocol similar to Grand Rounds – once a quarter have different members of your staff present on new procedures and new applications for current procedures. Remember, patients will consider your staff a direct reflection of your expertise. Straight from the Source There is no better way to find out if you’re doing a good job than asking the patients themselves. Call a few patients and ask about their experience in your practice. Take their feedback and turn it into positive ways to improve your practice. Then call them again and see what has changed. People perform to the level you inspect, not expect. Involving your staff can make this a positive exercise valuable for the entire team. PRINT | DOWNLOAD JUNE 2011 / OFPSA 29 For questions or to submit ideas for the next newsletter, please contact: TRACY DRUMM OFPSA PRESIDENT, 312.335.1700 OR TRACY@DRDAYAN.COM TRISTE ROSEBROUGH OFPSA MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR, 317.814.1104 OR TRISTE@INDYFACE.COM