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Tuesday
Jun222010

Medical Spa MD: Physicians Only?

Should Medical Spa MD be physicians only?

During an email exchange on a completely different subject with a long time Medical Spa MD Member, he hit me with his opinion that at least a part of Medspa MD should be reserved exclusively for physicians.

Here's parts from two of his emails and some of my response.

Jeff,
...I would recommend an area for physicians only and you need to prove who you are. Leave the comments open to the public but only the physician members can post comments...

The site has lost its appeal to the physicians to a large degree because there is no where for them to converse now that there are many nurses, aestheticians, salesman and patients on the site. It really was doing its best when it was mostly physicians talking back and forth about technology and techniques.

This is part of my emailed response.

Hi L,

Your reply hits on something I've been thinking about for some time, but have some reservations. It is possible to password protect areas of the site but very difficult to able to force people to actually 'prove' who they are.

I"m guessing from the tone of your post that you feel that the 'quality' of the site has been diluted with non-physician posts asking questions about their age spots etc. I somewhat agree but it's a challenging situation. I'd be interested in what you think might be a possible (and feasible) solution.

I could make some/most/all of the forums login only. This would require an account but I could not insure that everyone was who they say they are. This also goes against one of the factors that has makes the site actually attractive. My guess is that you might think twice about posting under your actual name since this could potentially cause you problems if you wanted to say something important about someone who might identify you.

I could make part of the site a paid memebership site. This would allow me to identify individuals though they wouldn't have to use their real name. This seems like a potential solution. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this. Would you pay a fee to have access to a community where you felt you could exchange information with other docs that were also paying members

Certainly I've always valued your opinion on this. Hope you're well
Jeff

Since I launched Medspa MD back in 2000-whatever (It was called Medical Spas Online then.), I've changed the site to reflect what I thought was the best value for physicians. There are plenty of places where patients can go and get advice, but Medical Spa MD has been the only site where physicians can discuss the back end of what they need and do with each other. I want to continue to be respectful of that and not become one of the myriad of consumer facing sites. Besides, we're building a platform now that will allow that kind of patient/physician interaction outside of this site.

If you're a physician I'm really interested in what you think about this. Should there be a physicians only area where you're identified? Are you concerned that their are impostors on the site? (I've outed a number of them before.) Would you be willing to login in order to post or get content? Should PAs and NPs have access? If you're a physician, how would you like this site to be structured?

Please leave a comment, contact me directly via the contact form or just email me

Reader Comments (16)

Jeff,
I agree that the site is, unfortunately, losing it's appeal to many physicians including myself. We need desperately a forum for our small and big problems concerning Aesthetic Medicine.
Although all should be welcome here as long as they are able to contribute their intellect and knowledge to the common mission, there are more and more nonsensical posts from those who attempt to serve themselves or push agenda of those whom they serve.
I may be alone in this but it seems that for the last several months the majority of your front page entries/articles have a distinctive marketing aftertaste.
It may be a difficult logistic task but the idea of "for physicians only" is very appealing. Otherwise, I am afraid, this great website will see a rapidly declining membership.

Thanks for your effort!

MK

@ Marek Kacki, MD
Interestingly, the number of physicians joining the site has actually increased along with the traffic. The percentage of physicians on the site has remained pretty consistent.

This is a challenge. It's often the case that older members of any group see changes as being negative and want to maintain the status quo. I took some email heat when we introduced the Select Partners program, but there are a lot of our members love that and use their services and that number is growing every month.

The way this conversation looks like it might be going is that we might have to have a membership site where part of the site would be reserved exclusively for physicians as above. Any thoughts on this appreciated.

I've been on this site for the last few years (I can't actually remember how many. 4?). Medical Spa MD is the only site of it's kind where physicians can get some straight information. The ONLY one like it anywhere.

Through Medical Spa MD I've:

Saved tens of thousands of dollars by choosing technology that I wouldn't have if I didn't have access to this site. I can't tell you how many headaches I've avoided with this one choice.

Connected with some very knowledgeable physicians in this space and added to my skill set and made some friends. There's no other place I'm aware of that physicians are as open with their own skill set as this. (It goes far beyond what you get from a conference or seminar.) This has allowed me to make better treatment decisions and (I think) have a number of happier clients than I would have.

I've sold some equipment I didn't need. Nice.

I've purchased some partner product and am really happy with that too. I for one think that the Partners are a great add-on and are very high quality. (I'm also impressed with Sciton for joining.) and would like to see some more of these if Jeff can keep the quality up. Perhaps something in direct marketing or patient acquisition? ; )

I've watched the collapse of a number of what seemed to be shady operations thanks to this site which I see as a good thing. Dermacare anyone?

Since I've been on the site for that long I've seen some changes. 4 years ago it was a much smaller group and there wasn't so many non-physicians on the site for sure, but it's understandable that the site has generated a lot more traffic and that all sorts are now stumbling across us and adding their two cents, welcome or not. It's a predicament and no mistake.

Of the top of my head I would think that restricting a portion of the site to paid physician memberships might make sense. I certainly would be willing to pay since, by my own napkin calculation, Medspa MD has saved me $50k plus at least, and I've learned a tremendous amount. Not only about treatments which we tend to fixate on, but business and marketing operations as well.

Of course, a restricted area would cut down traffic considerably and probably decrease the value of the site to Jeff at some point. I don't know how much money this site generates but it's obviously much more a labor of love since the used used technology listings and are free to post etc. I do click on the ads for good measure Jeff... : )

I actually think it's time for physicians to actually step up here a little. Maret and L (and myself) may have commented on threads but I don't remember reading any guest posts by any of us although Jeff has been kind enough to post these from others. It seems to me that we have a jewel here and that, if we want to keep it, we have the wherewithal to guide the course. I hope we will.

06.23 | Unregistered CommenterDermgal

Sorry I'm not a physician but I am going to go ahead and give my 2 cents. In terms of the information I have learned on this site, some information was obtained by both physicians and (gasp) non-physicians. While some topics may not appeal to every physician, they may very well apply to other physicians and/or their staff. The great thing about this site is everyone can learn Aesthetics from a wide range of topics and gain knowledge even if you are someone, such as myself, who works with my doctor husband and strives to learn as much as possible about Aesthetics. And as for the annoying medical equipment salespeople that dare get on to this site and pretend they are a doctor or a satisfied patient, I think anyone with a bit of common sense could easily figure out who they are and not give credence to their posts and anyway it's humorous and entertaining for the most part.

Most physicians work many hours and it would be great if they could take the time to write articles and have Jeff publish them on this site as well as get together with their fellow doctor buddies and have an Aesthetic "think tank". I would like to have my own husband, who is a surgeon write article on this site, however he reserves what little time he has for writing abstracts. I imagine other doctors have the same time problems because I can count one one hand the number of articles that have been written by doctors in the last year or two.

Don't you want your patients to go on here and read what you have posted? Many of the phycians comments on here are very well written and insightful. It might be helpful for patients to read such comments to help decide what procedure is right for them. Also, I've noticed that some questions that have been asked by doctors were actually answered by laser technicians, RN's, Medical Spa owners, and people who work for medical equipment companies when other physicians were unable to provide an answer. You guys won't get that anymore if you banish us!

Geez people we are talking about Aesthetics, not brain surgery. The reason why physicians, RNs and staff can attend Aesthetics shows is because it is usually the physcians staff that actually performs much of the non-invasive aesthetics of a pracitce. If someone who, god forbid, is not a doctor leaves a comment that does not suit you or is not intellectual enough for your taste, just simply quit reading their post and move on.

I"m for equality for the masses!!!

06.23 | Unregistered Commenterwendyh

@wendyh,
Well said Wendy. I don't think that anyone that's responding is attempting to go old-school and close up ranks and banish all non-physicians, but I think there's some concern that the quality of the back-and-forth gets diluted when there's someone asking about their age spots in the middle of a thread.

Certainly there are literally hundreds of physicians who read the site and never interact in any way, those who want to know everything that everyone else is doing that works, but don't want to contribute. For every LH, Dermgal, or any of the dozens of long-timers there are plenty of doctors who read the site but never interact. I don't really mean this a criticism, but rather as a comment on the universality human nature. I'm sure if you were to ask the long-timers you'd find that they actually get much more from the site than the lurkers.

I do agree with the above posts that we seem to have lost some true clinical discussion in everything else that involves our business (i.e., patients, their concerns, marketing, etc.). At THE Aesthetic Show, one of the things my husband (physician) and I (nurse) looked forward to the most was interacting with our peers. In particular, attending lectures on new lasers and having the ability to talk with the speakers post lecture about various paramaeters for specific patients, comparisons of lasers, etc.

Although I am not a physician, I do operate lasers under the direct supervision of a physician and also would be very interested in having the ability to take part in the discussions as well. I have learned so much from the physician group here in MedicalSpaMD and would be disheartened to lose the opportunity to continue learning from them.

I agree that interaction between all of us who do procedures is what draws me to this site each day. Everyone who does these types of treatments needs to be licensed or certified in each state, I think. Nurses, docs, esthetitions etc have some type of certificate that they are trained. Even laypersons can get a certificate from their school. I know it would be a huge PITA for Jeff and any minions he has working this site to verify each of us but if we scanned a copy of our license and attached it to the application process it could weed out some of the non treating readers for a truly separate professional only area.

I agree. I enjoy having a place where I can interact with my peers. I think there should be a section just for Physicians. laserdoc

06.24 | Unregistered Commenterlaserdoc

Many of the physicians and nurses come on this site to learn from each other and as we have seen many of the original physicians from a few years ago have stopped posting on a regular basis. Some of this is because we are all busier than we were which is a good thing but more and more of the content has become less and less useful to the group of experienced physicians and nurses.

Many of us have tried to help others to make good decisions on purchasing equipment or treatment options and many of us have been attacked for giving our opinion. Most of these attacks likely come from sales reps and it is not worth our time to try to have to defend ourselves to some anonymous person that has no vested interest in this site other than to cause problems or support a certain product or to place negative comments about other products.

Many of us have been on this site for a significant number of years and although we have never met we have developed trust for each others opinions. We may not always agree with each other but we do not call each other names or try to destroy their reputation.

Some of you do not know this but many of the original doctors, nurses etc no longer use this site to discuss cases or the purchase of new or used equipment, we e-mail each other directly as a group. This is a significant loss of information to this site and I feel that it has become detrimental to this site. That is why I feel we need to have an exclusive area of experienced physicians and nurses that want to learn from each other but not just learn also teach.

I hope that Jeff will add an area where you have to be open about who you are so that everyone with acess to the restricted area knows who is posting. I am willing to place my name next to all of my posts. These individuals need to all be involved in the treatment or managment of medical spas. I would like to keep all sales people and layman etc out of the restricted area.

I have no issues with a sales rep commenting on this site as you will see reps from other companies place misinformation on this site. I just think all sales reps need to explain who they are as many hide behind an alias as they try to misinform others on this site. Many of these posts will side track a good conversation that is educational for many.

I know this is going to make some mad as they will say something as above about physicians vs non-physicians (wendyh) but the sites importance has become diluted for many of us. The cut off for the restricted area has to made somewhere. I know this is not politically correct but that is life. It has become too time consuming to look through all of the crap to get to the important information. I do not care if you are a physician or a nurse (Paula) as I have learned from both.

Jeff needs to make a decision. He can let the site become more and more watered down and lose the input of many well informed professionals or he can bring the conversations that are going on in the back ground by direct e-mail back into the open posting on MedSpaMD.

06.24 | Unregistered CommenterLH

I want to express my appreciation for those of you commenting here. It's this kind of discussion that created Medical Spa MD as a community in the first place and the reason I started the site. It's true both that we've grown a tremendous amount, and that our very growth has attracted tremendous attention... both from those who would like to manipulate perception, and from those who would like access to our community.

There are tremendous technical and logistical difficulties in trying to verify the actual identity of everyone who posts for sure, but I would be willing to take that on if I felt it was best for the site. The issue that concerns me is that it could put a strangle hold on many of the discussions. There have also been a number of threads that could only have taken place under the protection of anonymity (the franchises) as all long-time readers certainly know.

There are a number of possible fixes that I'm investigating that I think could solve many of these issues. Perhaps dividing the site or providing an alternative for 'patient' and laymen interactions? Perhaps requiring that all comments are made by members? I'm not sure if that's feasible or not, but I really want to hear what everyone thinks.

For myself, I would like an MD area but I can see why this could be trouble... I've read with interest a number of threads where MDs seem to be the primary instigators and 'flamers'. It is possible to cut too close to the heart of what keeps the community interesting and vibrant.

I'm not going to publish my name next to every comment on the web lest some idiot takes it as medical advice.

I'm hoping that there is some middle ground for sure. Jeff, would you consider splitting the site in two? Perhaps building a patient site or an esthetician site where they could grouse about poor results and ask questions? I'm guessing that that is working for realself.. but since I'm not 'core', they booted me off along with others.

I would love to have some area of this site or a new site that functioned similarly to realself but with the Medical Spa MD flair...

06.28 | Unregistered CommenterModicum MD

@ Modicum MD,
I appreciate your point. Certainly there are a number of our Members who are no longer with Real Self and would like to have the ability to gain exposure and interact with potential clients. I'm going to give some thought to the ideal of some sort of separation of powers in this respect.

Jeff,
When I first joined MedicalSpaMD, I signed up to have recent posts sent to my email account so I wouldn't miss important clinical discussions. There is SO much spam now (i.e., Jaquily and others) on a daily basis that I have to unsubscribe from the feeds. Can you please find some way for this to stop so I can once again enjoy the discussions?

Unfortunately, spam's a fact of life with a site that's attained Medical Spa MD's popularity.

There are two ways that would handle this; one would be to have all comments 'approved' (by me) before they go live. (I think I can do this...) The other will be to switch over to a site that's more like that outlined above; where everyone's identified first... I may try out the first option and set all comments to be manually approved before they go live.... but that's a lot of work too.

I'm a non physician owner of a MedSpa. The reason I come to the site is to gain information from those post that interest me be it from a doc or non doc. To seperate the information would make this site less valuable for all who visit. We all have to weed through the good content vs. the garbage. That's why it's called browsing. What if people like me that have a master is business & marketing wanted our own private section with no docs allowed? I've helped dozens of docs with question on Internet, sales, marketing etc and of course many have helped me as well. Diversity is the sites greatest strength and I for one would hate to see it changed.

07.15 | Unregistered CommenterBRIAN

I have to say that as a victim of an aesthetic procedure complication, I have received valuable information from physicians discussing with each other what could cause IPL burns and complications. It is nice to read that there are doctors admitting these problems "really do exist" as opposed to the doctors whom we seek to get treatment for our complications denying we were damaged by IPL and other lasers and it is "all in our heads" Thank you to all the physicians for exposing the truth on this site.

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