What We Have Learned From the Pandemic, Part 8

Posted By Madilyn Moeller, Friday, December 31, 2021

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By Michael Meyer, Writer/Editor; and Madilyn Moeller, Editorial Assistant, American Med Spa Association

Eighteen months ago, COVID-19 emerged and changed the way people live their lives. Very quickly, "social distancing" became a familiar term, and how to wear a mask and use Zoom became a way of life. Many in medical aesthetics, and in all walks of life, also have experienced the heartbreak of losing friends and loved ones to the virus. Without question, everyone's lives are significantly different than they were before the pandemic began.

QP wanted to learn how the pandemic has affected medical aesthetics, so in this very special issue, dozens of people who work in and around the industry share what they have learned during this highly unusual time. QP spoke with physicians, nurses, physician assistants, lawyers, finance professionals, vendors, trainers and medical spa owners about how their lives and businesses have adapted—and are continuing to adapt—to the "new normal," and their insights reveal that medical aesthetics is resilient, innovative and strong.

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has not yet disappeared, and new lessons are being learned every day as people come to grips with the evolution of this pandemic. However, medical aesthetics is nothing if not resourceful, and as COVID-19 continues to demand thoughtful responses to difficult problems, the industry will undoubtedly be among the first to change with the times.

"Time Is Valuable"

Headshot of Chris Surek

Christopher C. Surek, DO, FACS
Founder and Director, Academy for Injection Anatomy
"I learned that cosmetic medicine and surgery remain in high demand, even during a pandemic. The increased time spent on online platforms such as Zoom drew patients' attention to certain facial aging features or aesthetic concerns that led them to inquire about surgical and non-surgical procedures. People who were working from home were more motivated to proceed with surgery, since they would be able to recover from surgery while still performing their work functions from home. I learned that time is valuable and that we must be grateful for the health, safety and well-being of our families, as well as our colleagues and employees in the aesthetic industry."
"Learning About the Health of the Business"

Headshot of Sara Trammell

Sara Trammell, MD
Owner, The Beauty Bus (Abilene, TX)

"I learned that my business was resilient despite its youth. My practice was only 15 months old at the time of the five-week shutdown, and we came to a screeching stop. I was on a path of rapid growth—my schedule was booked, I had ventured into retail, I was expanding my services with the hiring of an aesthetician, and I recently had purchased new equipment. At the time, the fear of the unknown was overwhelming, but the forced downtime allowed for analysis of the business and planning for the future. I pivoted to a new electronic medical records system, we made plans and purchases for our aesthetician services, offered pick-up retail and made good use of Zoom trainings. We re-opened to a record-setting month. The time spent working on the business—and not just for it—truly paid off. As I now find myself back in the hustle of business, I find myself having to schedule time off to check in on the health of the business."

"Here Is Your Someday"

Headshot of Emily Tryon

Emily Tryon, RN
CEO, Esthetic Solutions (Scottsdale, AZ)

"The No. 1 lesson I learned during the pandemic is to stand for my value. Our business model here at Esthetic Solutions is that we are not here to be all things to all people. If you're looking for cheaper prices, you should go to Groupon—you'll be far happier. But if you're looking to be well cared for, love your look and be treated by a top-1% cosmetic injector who trains on every product made in America, we're the place for you.
"I do business consulting for other business owners, including medical spa owners, other cosmetic injectors and other female-founded businesses across the nation. My advice to them is to be very, very clear about what your unique value proposition is and your value, no matter what. The statistics don't lie—80% of new medical spas will close within 12 months of opening, and that's because the business aspect is missing for them. By standing for my value, I'e been able to maintain my clientele through this pandemic.
"I'e also learned that I need to be willing to pivot. I'm in Arizona, and we had a government-mandated closure for 30 days last year. And during those 30 days, we did not miss a beat. We took advantage of the opportunity to tackle some of the projects and administrative tasks that we always said we'd get to someday. I sat my staff down and I said, 'Okay, here is our someday. We have an opportunity here to have uninterrupted time to accomplish some of the tasks that we'e been wanting to get to and just never had time for.' So, we did a complete revamp and redesign of our retail display in our office. We did some cosmetic upgrades to the office space itself. We hung new fixtures, and we really tackled some learning management systems and standard operating procedures that needed our undivided time and attention. 'Never waste a good crisis' was our motto through all of this, because there's always an opportunity there if you just look for it."

"Invest in Protection"

Headshot of Steven Weiner

Steven F. Weiner, MD
Founder, The Aesthetic Clinique

"It is extremely important to take care of your staff. We kept everyone on the payroll during the quarantine period. We were able to resume business very quickly without hiring or re-training anyone. Training a new staff member is very costly and doesn't always work out. Stay with your seasoned staff to give the best patient experience and experience business growth.

"We spent about $100,000 to buy equipment and other COVID protective solutions. It paid off in dividends because our patients felt very safe and comfortable in our office during their treatments. In general, people were apprehensive to leave their houses after quarantine, and we made sure we implemented all the available technologies to limit the risk of viral spread.

"COVID has increased the stress level in our patients. It's important that extra time is spent to ensure their satisfaction is optimized. In some cases, it might even mean avoiding certain procedures for some patients who have elevated anxiety levels due to the pandemic."

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