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Medical Spa Management

By: Joy Thompson
Posted: June 25, 2008, from the January 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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The spa’s owner, manager and medical director must coordinate their efforts in order to balance the administration of this type of facility. Once these boundaries have been determined, there are several planning elements that must go into building a solid medical spa foundation and identity.

First, funding must be secure. If the owner does not have the capital independently, there are several options for acquiring it. These include partnering with other independent entrepreneurs; soliciting an outside source, such as a venture capitalist; or even aligning the spa with a chain or franchise. For the less experienced spa owner, the latter provides not only financial footing, but also a framework for operation.

Another issue that needs to be addressed at this point in the process is the procurement of malpractice insurance. Similar to any medical practice, this is a medical spa’s basic legal protection. Make sure that the medical personnel have individual malpractice insurance plans of their own, but be aware that these will not protect the spa itself, which needs to secure its own separate coverage.

Managerial roles

Certain fundamentals of the relationship between the spa manager and the medical director must be understood before opening your spa. With a few exceptions, the medical director and spa manager’s partnership should be one in which the medical director oversees all aspects of the medical practice, essentially independent of the spa manager. The medical director should establish high standards for administering medical procedures, as well as for properly training the nursing team to accomplish them successfully.

Meanwhile, the spa manager should focus on conducting business operations and creating a customer service-oriented atmosphere. This includes hiring and training the nonmedical staff to ensure that they pamper clients and make them feel comfortable during every minute of their spa experience. The spa manager also has to arrange practices that differentiate the business from a traditional physician’s office. Clients should be able to make appointments within a week rather than wait more than a month, as is customary at many medical offices, and follow-up visits should be scheduled just as easily. Moreover, wait times for those appointments should be minimized considerably from those that are experienced at typical medical offices.