Medical Spa MD - Inside Sona Medspas Part 6: Physician Oversight
These posts are written by former Sona Medspa owner Ron Berglund to provide an inside view of the way medical spa franchises recruit, train, and support their owners as well as detailing some of the problems with medspa franchises.
Sona Medspas: Physician Oversight
About medical oversight at Sona?
What did Sona tell us? Sona gave us some rather generic information about the requirements for a medical director as they were aware of the pertinent statutes and regulations.
Sona's manuals included a generic "Medical Director's Manual" and "Nurse Manual" which covered some of the relevant concerns. Their franchise documents and verbal statements naturally put the burden on each individual franchisee to get legal counsel in their state to cover all the bases, etc. They provided us with a generic "standing orders and protocols" document for the nurse to provide to the treating nurses (or "laser technicians") which provided a good start for most.
I know that in California and a number of other states the standard Sona model did not work and these franchises had to have significantly more creative (and expensive) legal work done to structure the operation properly. In a number of other states the clinics had to be located literally "across the hall" from the medical director- or the clinic had to incur significantly higher expense to have a physician actually "on sight" to comply with that state's laws and medical board regulations. (Read: Can a non-physician employ a physician.)
In Minnesota we employed the standard off-site "medical director" model which required a licensed physicians to "oversee" clinic operations and protocols. (Read: Physician oversight in medical spas l Mid-level providers in medical spas)
Sona was strict about requiring our docs to review and either sign or initial each patient chart and each entry on every treatment log to double check that proper parameters were being used, etc. We also had a decent system set up requiring "adverse event" reports for every "incident" which was also sent to the corporate office each month. Fortunately, we had very few adverse events over the years--partly because the majority of our treating nurses were primarily interested in CYA and not having any of their patients experience "discomfort" or causing any minor burns or blisters. Due to the very conservative teaching and recommended parameters furnished by Sona our BIGGEST problem through the years was with EFFICACY.
The majority of our treated patients still had significant hair remaining after five treatments-- which caused most Sona operations to slowly crumble due to patient dissatisfaction and demands for additional free treatments, etc.