9 Ancillary Services That Can Boost Practice Revenue

Leigh Page


August 07, 2014

In This Article

3. Med Spa Services

Providing cosmetic services for patients, known as "med spa" services, can generate significant revenues for your practice.

Kent Blakely, MD, a rheumatologist in Kearney, Nebraska, started a med spa service 3 years ago, and it has proved to be a powerful source of income. Gross revenues doubled in the second year and doubled again in the beginning of the third year. He said income from 1.5 days of the med spa equals income from 3.5 days for his rheumatology clinic, and currently the new venture provides about as much income as his clinical practice.

However, Dr. Blakely said he also had to invest a great deal in capital equipment, physical space, and advertising. Net revenue from the med spa came to just over $50,000 in the second year. "It takes a while to build relationships and establish a reputation," he said.

Med spa services include providing mostly women patients with injectables, such as Botox® and dermal fillers, which must be repeated every 4-6 months; using lasers to remove hair, rejuvenate the skin, remove spots, and perform body contouring; and selling cosmetic products, such as moisturizers, sunscreens, cleansers, and solutions for skin discoloration and wrinkling.

In contrast to mid-Nebraska, such services are hard to carve out in wealthy, urbanized areas because the market is usually saturated, said Neil Alan Fenske, MD, Medical Director of the Cosmetic and Laser Center at the University of South Florida in Tampa.

In the Tampa area, for example, several med spa launches by clinically talented physicians have failed, according to Dr. Fenske, who teaches a 5-day overview course on dermatology for physicians who aren't dermatologists, with 1 day devoted to med spa.

"This is a rough business," Dr. Fenske said, adding that physicians who are dedicated to treating sick patients may not enjoy the work. "You have to be a bit of a salesperson."

Med spa patients "absolutely demand perfection," he said. "Because they're paying cash, their expectations for results are much greater." And some of them are never satisfied with the way they look. "They may want you to do things that can harm them," he said. "It's a different type of interaction, and you have to be prepared for it."

Before launching a med spa, Dr. Fenske advises spending a great deal of time researching and preparing. Find out what the local competition is, and what services might be needed. Set aside space in your practice, and get adequate training. "You can't just take one tiny course," he said. "You have to acquire the know-how to deal with the complications." He suggests finding a nearby physician to mentor you over a period of weeks.


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