Subscription Services a Consideration for Aesthetic Patients

Doug Brunk

December 01, 2020

If you're looking for ways to boost revenue and patient compliance to recommended treatment intervals for aesthetic procedures, consider offering subscription-based services.

According to W. Grant Stevens, MD, an estimated 73% of aesthetic patients fall short when it comes to compliance with recommended treatment intervals for toxins, fillers, and other procedures.

"When we talk about how often the average patient should be treated with Botox, for instance, we say every 3-4 months," Stevens, founder and CEO of Marina Plastic Surgery in Marina Del Rey, Calif., said during the virtual annual Masters of Aesthetics Symposium. But in reality, he added, "it's more like every 7 months." A 2015 survey of 23 Bay Area aesthetic practices conducted by HintMD found that 73% of patients were noncompliant and that they came in fewer than 3-4 times per year for treatments. "Not only did they come in infrequently, but they oftentimes were undercorrected and the revenue was being left on the table because of discounting and undercorrection," said Stevens, who is also a professor of surgery in the division of plastic surgery at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

On average, each patient from the 23 practices surveyed spent $601.88 on treatments 1.44 times per year, yet the industry standard for neuromodulators is 3-4 times per year and every 2 months for HydraFacials and med spa facials. "What's the problem?" he asked "Why are we falling off? For our practices, noncompliance leads to unhappy, undertreated patients, so they may write negative reviews. In addition to that, we lose revenue." He cited results from a 2016 focus group of aesthetic patients who were asked about the perceived barriers to treatment compliance. More than two-thirds (68%) said cost was the issue, followed by the number of treatments required (43%) and effectiveness (16%).

Three years ago, Stevens used the HintMD platform to implement a treatment plan subscription service to 472 active members of his practice. Prior to implementation, patients were coming in for treatment with toxins an average of 1.8 times per year. After implementation, that rose to an average of 3.1 times per year. "That was almost an $800 incremental average increase spent on toxins alone," Stevens said. "More importantly, the patients were therapeutic all year long." With toxin and filler services combined, the average increased income grew to more than $1,100 per patient, which translated into increased annual revenue of $519,200.

Stevens said that many of his patients favor subscription services because most use them in other aspects of their lives, such as with Amazon Prime, Blue Apron, and Netflix. "They like it because it is personalized and customized," he said. "If we want to adjust the amount of toxin or filler, we can do it that very day, and it's customized for them. It's not a one-size-fits-all program. It also allows them to have convenient, smaller monthly payments. That's the key. That way, they budget. So, if they're spending $200 a month or $500 a month or $1,000 a month, it's a convenient monthly payment."

Stevens disclosed that he is an adviser to Viveve, Venus, Aesthetics Biomedical, Alastin, Cypris Medical, Allergan, CoolSculpting, HydraFacial, Revance, Ampersand, and HintMD.

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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