5 Ways Telehealth Can Help Your MedSpa Survive COVID-19 and Beyond

As the world around us continues to rapidly evolve amidst COVID-19, the Aesthetics industry is stepping into uncharted waters. The national decision to shut down non-essential clinics has begun to take its toll, and recurring costs such as payroll, inventory and overhead, are being heavily scrutinized and in many cases, eliminated. As we all contemplate the necessary steps to survival, you may be asking yourself, “How do I keep patients engaged when I cannot see them,” or “how do I generate revenue when I cannot perform procedures?” In this new era of aesthetics, only one thing remains consistent: you must evolve.

#1 Keep Patients Engaged & Invested in Your Practice 

While “non-essential” clinics have been mandated to close, patients are still ordering skincare products, inquiring about procedures, and in many cases continuing to make appointments for the future! According to a post by CEO of RealSelf, Tom Seery, where he discussed COVID-19, social trends & the  RealSelf Social Index, engagement is down by 20% while at the same time, social posting has increased. What does that mean? More medical spas are pushing content out to your patients, but at the same time, patients are engaging with content less and less.  Why? Our IG feeds are all diluted with non-stop messaging about EVERYTHING right now, so people may be overwhelmed with choices.

How To Satisfy the Need for Human Interaction 

That same RealSelf report also mentioned that people are saving posts at a higher rate indicating they may be in the research phase of their cosmetic journey.  So what do we do? If your patients are anything like our Aesthetic Record customers, they want human interaction, not passive posting. We’ve found that when our team enables video on a demo or training call, the other party stays longer, remains more engaged, and forms a stronger human connection in subsequent emails and calls. So, while your social posts and email newsletters are having an impact, sometimes the act of seeing another smiling face while sheltering in place can go a long way in adding a memorable, personal touch.

#2 Stand Out with a Professional Presence

If you’re like the rest of us, Facetime is getting a workout during the mandated shutdown. But, leave those calls to your family and friends.  As an industry, we often fight an uphill battle to prove the legitimacy of the services we offer, and relying on Facetime out of convenience or ease of use, will not do us any favors.  In all seriousness, Facetime isn’t HIPAA compliant, it’s not a professional service, and it doesn’t have a recording feature. You’ve invested countless hours making sure your physical practice creates the perfect experience; doesn’t your Virtual Clinic deserve the same attention?

How To Build Your Virtual Waiting Room 

While the HIPAA standards are currently relaxed, it doesn’t mean your level of sophistication needs to be.  Why not put a long-term solution in place now that can serve your clinic well beyond this crisis? An article by ThereNest compares the initial impression of your Virtual Clinic to that of your practice waiting room. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so it’s important to create an encounter that is memorable for all the right reasons. What is the experience you want your patient to take away from your virtual session? My guess is one of the highest standards.

In our Aesthetic Record telehealth platform, patients can join directly from their appointment confirmation sent via email and SMS.  Once inside, the Virtual Clinic is branded with your practice name, and the interface is easy to operate from a desktop or an iOS. Both the patient & provider names appears, and the entire session is recorded and transcribed.  You’ve set the bar in your physical clinic, and now your patient expectations are high.  Ensure your telehealth platform meets them.

#3 Build a Profitable Post-Shutdown Schedule 

Remember the part where I said patients are researching procedures and still making appointments? Picture this….you finally open back up for business. Exciting, right? Until you realize that a significant portion of your schedule on the first month back is FREE CONSULTS.  Talk about a double whammy! Use this time to invest and make money later.

How To Build For the Future: Free Now. Paid Later. 

What is the one thing you can’t do right now? Procedures! Knowing that, an incredible use of this time is to get through as many virtual consults as humanly possible so that every patient who walks in from Day 0 and beyond is a paying patient. Cycle through your tire-kickers, your non-stop question askers, your Indecisive Karens, and your loyal patients looking to add new services to their regiment while you have the ability. Then get those magic hands ready for non-stop, paying procedures when those doors finally open. The more “free” services you can offer now, the more revenue-producing appointments you’ll have later. For new leads, a Virtual Consultation is like an audition.  Knock it out of the park here, especially in your professional, branded portal, and you will get the job when your doors reopen.

#4 Put Staff Back to Work

The unemployment claims are staggering. According to a March 26th article by ABC News, 3.3 million Americans have been added to the list of those seeking benefits during this incredibly difficult time.  If you are a practice owner, I know first-hand the gut-wrenching devastation you are faced with as you have to let employees go until the practice can begin to produce revenue again.  We’ve had so many conversations in the last few weeks working through scenarios with our customers to offer value, generate revenue, and try to cover the bills that still come knocking.

How To Use Consultation Fees To Help Pay It Forward

In many cases, our customers are finding success in charging consultation fees that can be applied to later procedures. It’s not the same margin as a Sculptra BBL, but they can produce enough revenue to at least pay a provider an hourly wage for their time. What better way to spend a Wednesday trapped at home than to join in on a virtual event, get the consult out of the way, and allow patients to take advantage of promotional pricing!  If patients don’t want to pay it but they still want to book with you, chances are, they’ll put in a call to let you know.  They are never shy about telling us how they feel, are they?!

How To Make Retail Sales Work for You 

As you might expect, we continue to see consistent skincare sales across our user-base as patients are stuck at home with a lot of time to finally think about their “self-care” skincare routines.  Instead of putting a hold on every membership, use that monthly recurring revenue (MRR) to do a full treatment review with each Member and build customized skincare “kits” you can ship out. Members can either purchase products with their membership benefits if you choose that model or they can get their regular member discount and the added value of a virtual consult. Again, you may not be able to put the whole team back to work, but if you could keep even one employee working at an hourly rate and retaining your patients, isn’t it worth it to try?

#5 Diversify to New Revenue Streams

The beauty of a telehealth platform is that you can see all sorts of patients for a myriad of reasons. If it’s within your scope of practice to examine, prescribe and bill for medical exams, I’d say you’ve picked a great time to diversify into telemedicine.  With non-essential medical clinics currently closed, patients in need of routine care have no choice but to take to the virtual highway to be seen. The same patients you treat for age-related volume loss likely see a medical provider for their more traditional ambulatory care needs. Why not see you?

Co-Promote Medical Services to Existing Patients 

If your clinic employs multiple providers who can perform these virtual medical exams, this is another opportunity to put them to work.  Be sure to find a telehealth platform like Aesthetic Record that can accommodate the clinical documentation you’ll need for including diagnosis codes and creating superbills. You’ll also want to make sure you have an integrated payment platform that can accept credit cards virtually to capture co-pays. Lastly, prescribing capabilities are a must if you are seeing medical patients.  Whether it’s e-prescribe or e-fax, electronic prescriptions certainly save you time and reduce complexities.

Although the government has relaxed some mandates for now, it’s always a great idea to start off on the right foot.  In an article by Brad Addato, JD, a partner at ByrdAdatto and contributor at AMSPA, he stated that when you build your office protocol, it’s still critical to make every effort to protect patient privacy and abide by the existing telemedicine laws prior to the deregulation. They will eventually be reinstated, and you want to be compliant from day one.

So Where Do We Go from Here?

Takes this time to exercise your agility and make strategic moves.  Practices who can pivot and retool stand a far better chance at surviving and thriving in the wake of this pandemic. At Aesthetic Record, we are here to help you make that transition in a seamless and cost-effective way. We know you are fighting for your practice, your employees, and your patients. While you may not be at Ground Zero treating COVID-19 patients, your battle is VERY real and your resilience right now is just as important for how our country will recover for years to come.

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