I’m blown away each passing year with what I didn’t learn in med school. I’m not suggesting med school is to blame for not preparing me for a plastic surgery private practice. You can’t expect a body of coursework from 10 to 15 years ago to prepare you for this rapidly changing world. I’m simply saying, wow, I definitely didn’t learn that in med school! Here are some examples.
Things Med School Definitely Can’t Teach You
In most fields of medicine, you get referrals from other doctors and from the emergency room. For cosmetic plastic surgeons and dermatologists, your patients come via word of mouth. Sure you can wait 10 years for word of mouth to build your practice but you can’t really pay the bills in the meantime. So you have to market your practice to shorten those building years.
You don’t learn what type of marketing works best until you try each one and waste a lot of money in the process. At this point, it looks like Google AdWords, “Medical Minute” style ads on a local TV station, blogging and Snapchat are the winners for generating leads.
This didn’t even exist in med school. What’s fascinating is that the social media that was considered important initially was Facebook and Twitter. Now those have been replaced by Snapchat and Instagram. Snapchat gives patients the opportunity to see what you and your employees are like behind the scenes. I used to worry patients seeing a laid back office staff would suggest we’re not a serious practice. Apparently patients are less concerned about that and more concerned about your relate-ability.
Instagram is a great platform to show off your before and after photos. With those outlets, you learn a lot about editing software to crop photos, cover faces and ensuring high resolution in your photos – all things the consumer notices.
You often feel that every laser device or body contouring company is calling your office, and they probably are! But you can’t buy every piece of equipment that’s advertised. So you have to assess and parse what’s true from what’s hype. You have to see what will provide a decent profit margin so you’re not just covering the cost of the machine.
What I’ve determined is that I only want equipment that 1) works, 2) can be safely and legally used by other staff members to treat patients, and 3) has no downtime for patients.
In summary, I never thought I’d be talking into a camera phone for 10-second clips and posted to social media. I never thought I’d be performing surgery in quasi real-time to over 5,000 viewers. It makes each day more exciting than the previous!