By Marc S. Scheiner MD
Managing patient expectations are crucial to the success of any aesthetic practice.
If you are not 100 % on board with understanding and dealing with patient expectations, I believe it's going to be difficult to be successful with any aesthetic practice.
The way that I manage patient expectations starts from the initial correspondence with my clinic. My front desk staff typically will notify me if anything out of the ordinary is discussed on the phone at a new patient's consultation request. So, if for instance, they have a request that's perhaps out of the ordinary or they're perhaps not comfortable with the way the conversation went, they'll let me know so I'll have right off the bat, I'll have a little understanding that maybe it'll take a little bit more time with describing what can be done or perhaps the mode where I am not going to perform a procedure.
It's just as important and more difficult sometimes to actually refuse to perform a procedure than it is to do a procedure, have an unsatisfactory outcome, and recover from that. So I want to make that kind of clear again that if somebody presents to you that you do not feel comfortable treating, it may be more difficult to refuse that treatment than it is to actually deal with somebody who develops a complication or unsatisfactory result. However, interestingly enough, if you take the time to explain to a person why you don't feel you can't perform what they want, it can actually turn into a positive experience in the form of her/him recommending other patients to you. Or maybe that person selecting a different treatment that you offer. So, again, we start off right out of the bat, by making sure that our front desk is well aware that I need to be informed of anything out of the ordinary when a patient calls or comes in for the first time, not matter what it is.
There are two things I'm looking for. Out of the ordinary being number one, and number two would be behavior that is really not acceptable social behavior, like anger or overly demanding behavior. I like to know that too because if somebody is angry or demanding with the front desk in an unacceptable manner, then that is a clue that perhaps their behavior will be the same after I treat them.
If you're in this field long enough, you're going to hear some strange requests.
We get calls not too infrequently, once or twice a year from clients that are in the process of changing from a male to a female or a female to a male and they would like to have some, not only surgical procedures but some nonsurgical procedures like Botox or Dysport and a filler like Restylane or Juvederm. Typically, they are often required to have psychiatric evaluation before they undergo the actual transgender operation. So I've had a few instances where I had to contact their psychiatrist or actually put them in contact with a psychiatrist before treating them. So that's a little out of the ordinary.
And the other out of the ordinary are extremes of age. Teenagers calling for Restylane to augment their lips or Botox and knowing how to deal with that. And that would simply be... they have to be over 18. I mean you have to understand the..or appreciate the indications for Botox and it's right on the label.
About: Marc S Scheiner MD is a plastic surgeon who teaches Botox and filler injection technques to physicians and clinicians through Botox Training MD and his 14 credit CME two-day hand's on seminars.