8 Steps for Shaping Patient Expectations of Body Treatments

April 12, 2016

“Managing expectations is one of the biggest challenges in aesthetic medicine”, says Dr. Gold. “So what’s a physician to do??  Drs. Jeanine Downie, Michael Gold, Joe Niamtu and Amy Taub offer their best tips for managing expectations for body treatment procedures.

#1 – Make your website a resource.

Dr. Gold, “They are paying for your expertise and skills – which is different than the med spa down the street.  We are the experts in most of these procedures and will customize our care to them – not use a cookie-cutter approach.”

Dr. Niamtu: “Be brutally honest with your patients about any new technology.  If you over promise and they don’t get those results it can come back to haunt you in negative marketing. Showing actual TYPICAL before and after pictures is a great start.”

#2 – Educate all your office staff or their first contact may be their only contact.

#3 – Be honest.

Amy Taub, “Do not treat anyone with a BMI over 30 unless they have one area that is out of proportion to the rest. Let people know that the treatments are ideal for small areas that need reduction and to only expect a 20% improvement on the skin and fat that is the treated area – not the entire area.  Most people will only get impressive results if they do multiple treatments on multiple areas and that is expensive. “

#4 – Beware the over-promise.

Dr. Downie, “I tell them they can expect to lose between two and three inches, after six to eight sessions. Most of my patients lose much more than that, and then they are very happy. I tend to under-promise and then over-deliver.”

#5 – Give them a roadmap.

Dr. Gold, “We try to explain and then document, that we have reviewed with the patient what we expect will happen, what can go wrong, and what we expect them to do to help. Document. Document. Document. And make sure that you have an Informed Consent each and every time the patient has a procedure.”

#6 – Protect the investment!

Remind your patients that their vigilance in looking after their physical well-being will pay dividends as an overall, long-term investment and exercise will bolster their results.

Dr. Downie, “Weigh and measure patients on every visit. I also have them stay well hydrated and I ask them to exercise. Many of them wish to write down or keep a food diary. This helps them focus on everything they are putting in their mouth so they do not cheat.”

#7 – Be present.

You might be distracted as you head into a consult, but with any patient there is an emotional need they also expect to be met. Listening to your patient’s spoken and unspoken expectations will help you identify potential areas of disappointment.

#8 – Be calm, positive and available the day of the procedure.

Check in with your patient before and after the treatment. This will give them a chance to ask questions and your confidence will go a long way toward settling jitters. Your positive energy and the patient’s perception of how you feel the procedure went will influence their experience and assessment of the results.

Let us know what you think – share your thoughts below!

by Natasha Mohr

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