With the multitude of information available on the internet, patients are increasingly taking their health into their own hands. Why not encourage patients to come into your practice by giving them the tools and guidance to do just that?
Mind the Gap
At Pacific Heights Plastic Surgery (PHPS), we first noticed a gap in care with patients who were interested in cosmetic surgery but weren’t quite healthy enough to justify an elective procedure. Most notably, patients with a high Body Mass Index (BMI). Studies have shown that increased BMI is associated with an increased prevalence of diabetes mellitus, hypertension and dyslipidemia1. Moreover, studies have also shown that the incidence of difficult intubations correlates to increased BMI, due to factors such as restricted head neck mobility and poor glottis exposure2. Difficult tracheal intubation is a common source of complications in surgical and critical care settings3.
A Wellness Lounge that focuses on obesity and overall health can help! Instead of turning down the patient and saying, “Come back when you’ve lost some weight,” PHPS offers a Medical Weight Management Program (MWMP) that provides structure and lifestyle coaching for patients to decrease their BMI. Not only does this increase business by keeping a patient who would otherwise be lost, but it helps build a rapport with patients that makes them feel more at ease on their surgery day. Reasonable expectations are managed over time, resulting in much happier patients.
Being as close to a patient’s goal weight before an elective plastic surgery procedure typically correlates to better final results. While plastic surgery can remove excess skin and fat, it does not change the patient’s frame or muscle definition. Working on these things prior to surgery gives the plastic surgeon a solid base for optimal body contouring. Patient willingness to invest time and commit to the MWMP, likely translates into compliance postoperatively, and the patients are given tools to make healthy lifestyle changes that maintains their results in the long-term.
The converse can happen as well. Patients may discover the practice through the MWMP and depending on how much fat is lost and excess skin a patient has once they reach their goal weight, they may consider plastic surgery to maximize their results. Therefore, one side of the practice is consistently feeding a market demographic to the other.
Furthermore, a MWMP fuels the need for vitamin therapy, including B-12, B complex, and Lipo-C injections. Consider offering a discount on injections to patients who are currently enrolled in the MWMP. Among other things, these services both increase a patient’s metabolism and energy levels – the perfect supplement for a MWMP that also creates a new revenue stream for the practice.
Vitamin therapy attracts a much larger market. Patients who are not quite ready to commit to a full MWMP or plastic surgery, may be interested in less invasive procedures such as vitamin injections. These services become a less intimidating way for patients meet the staff, discover the practice, and learn about other potential services.
Let’s Talk Drips
Here’s where IV hydration therapy kicks in: Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin B complex are two of the original ingredients in the famous Myer’s Cocktail4. While the Myer’s Cocktail has proven to be an effective treatment for a wide range of clinical conditions, in the realm of plastic surgery, there are two important categories: aesthetics and recovery post-surgery. Based on the Myer’s Cocktail, PHPS designed specific IV hydration cocktails to address both needs.
Enter the Rapid Recovery and the Diva. The Rapid Recovery contains vitamins, minerals, and medications to help post-op patients during their recovery period, including vitamin C and reglan. Not only does vitamin C support the immune system and decrease the risk of post-surgical infections, but it is also required to make collagen, which aids in healing of surgical incisions. Reglan addresses post-op nausea and constipation, which are both common side effects during the post-operative recovery period.
On the other hand, the Diva is designed to improve skin health and prevent wrinkles with ingredients such as glutathione and biotin. Glutathione improves overall skin complexion by brightening skin tone and reducing dark spots. Biotin makes hair and nails strong and healthy.
These two specific IV hydration cocktails are geared to patients who are interested in plastic surgery and aesthetics. However, creating other IV hydration cocktails will fill different needs and therefore, widens the prospective market to help drive patients into the practice. Consider creating a “hangover cure” or immune boost to fill in those gaps.
Here’s the nitty gritty. While that does sound like a lot of work and extra supplies, for a plastic surgery practice with their own accredited operating room, it doesn’t have to be! The office space is established. Disposables such as needles, syringes, gauze, tape, IV fluids, IV start kits, EKG leads, and some medications are all items that the office already has in stock. Lab supplies may be used for both pre-op clearance and MWMP patients. The only additional items to purchase are vitamins and minerals required for IV hydration cocktails, which can be purchased in small orders until patient demand ramps up.
So, what’s the benefit? First, your practice becomes a full-service suite, which sets your practice apart from others. Patients can conveniently visit one location for various needs. Secondly, there are more touch points to get to know the patient, build trust and set them up for success. Regardless of the type of appointment a patient has, they will be seeing the same staff. The ability to nurture these relationships translates into happier patients who are more likely to return for other non-surgical services in the future, such as neuromodulators (ie BOTOX®, fillers, IV therapy or vitamin shots). Lastly, by offering a wider variety of services, the market demographic for potential patients increases. While the end goal for a potential patient may be to book a surgical procedure, you now have multiple sales funnels to reach that goal.
Now What About You?
While our “origin story” is specific to our practice, my intention for sharing it is to inspire others to think divergently with regards to growing their revenue streams. It doesn’t have to be a scary, tedious process. Small steps can exponentially grow your target market. You just need the right mindset and a staff that embraces new challenges.
IV hydration therapy is a growing business arena with huge potential for marketing and growth. It is relevant for various areas in healthcare and is easily customizable to suit your practice. Doing so is a great way to get your creative juices flowing and distinguishes your practice from others.
You’re Not Alone
If this type of growth sounds intimidating, don’t fret! There are bountiful resources to help! Two of the most practical and informative tools available are the American IV Association and BuildMyHealth.
The American IV Association (AIVA) is a great resource for anyone who is considering adding IV hydration therapy to their practice or starting their own IV hydration therapy business. AIVA delivers training, education, and legal compliance to providers of IV therapy nationwide. Members of this organization receive essential legal resources, including state-by-state requirements for ownership, licensing, and certification, as well as training and education on various topics from clinical best practices to strategy and marketing. You’ll also receive insight into upcoming trends and developments that are driving the future of the industry.
BuildMyHealth is a platform that gets integrated into your current website to allow potential patients to check pricing for services online. Patients add the services that they’re interested in to their “wishlist” and a price estimate gets emailed to them immediately. If you are adding new services to your practice, this is a great way to relieve the front office staff from multiple calls throughout the day with patients who just want to check pricing. And since everything is automated, there is low risk of staff providing incorrect quotes. Furthermore, patient information is collected when they are checking pricing, which builds a database of potential patients for the practice to market to. That’s not even the best part! BuildMyHealth is compliant with state and Federal price transparency laws, including the No Surprises Act that went into effect on January 1, 2022. It’s a plug and play solution that takes the guess work out of these new regulations. Becoming a transparent provider and scheduling a demo could not be easier!
- Bays HE, Chapman RH, Grandy S; SHIELD Investigators’ Group. The relationship of body mass index to diabetes mellitus, hypertension and dyslipidaemia: comparison of data from two national surveys [published correction appears in Int J Clin Pract. 2007 Oct;61(10):1777-8]. Int J Clin Pract. 2007;61(5):737-747. doi:10.1111/j.1742-1241.2007.01336.x
- Shailaja S, Nichelle SM, Shetty AK, Hegde BR. Comparing ease of intubation in obese and lean patients using intubation difficulty scale. Anesth Essays Res. 2014;8(2):168-174. doi:10.4103/0259-1162.134493
- Uribe AA, Zvara DA, Puente EG, Otey AJ, Zhang J, Bergese SD. BMI as a Predictor for Potential Difficult Tracheal Intubation in Males. Front Med (Lausanne). 2015;2:38. Published 2015 Jun 4. doi:10.3389/fmed.2015.00038
- Gaby AR. Intravenous nutrient therapy: the “Myers’ cocktail”. Altern Med Rev. 2002;7(5):389-403.