Dr. Todd Schlifstein brings 4 years of management experience with his passions for sports medicine and cosmetic medicine.
We had a chance to talk with Dr. Schlifstein on combining his interests to develop a wellness center and medical spa in the heart of NYC.
Name: Todd R. Schlifstein, D.O.
Location: New York, NY
That's interesting: Dr. Schlifstein is a Patient's Choice Award Recipient from 2009-2011. He is a speaker and consultant for more than 12 pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Schlifstein has many published research studies on sports medicine and pain management in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.
Your background (and practice) includes pain management, orthopedics, nutrition, sports medicine. How and why did you move into cosmetic medicine and open a medical spa?
My long time friend and colleague, Dr. Jeffrey Goldstein and I shared a vision to create a Wellness Center and Medical Spa that could provide patients a breadth of medically based wellness service. In 2008, we opened Fountain Medical Group, a comprehensive medical facility and medical spa. Patients who were working out and training were also the people who wanted to look their best. I have used Botox for medical purposes for 14 years so transitioning to cosmetic was both easy and natural. Our clientele base for the spa began with our sports medicine patients.
How is your clinic organized? What is their compensation plan?
We have three Aestheticians and one Physician Assistant. All receive a salary base with incentive programs.
Your medical spa is located in on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. What is it like running a medical spa in Manhattan which is both expensive and highly competitive?
New York City is a fast paced environment, always changing and very competitive. You must strive to be the best at whatever it is you do, stay abreast of the latest changes in skin care technology, and always provide great service. Maintaining a good reputation is so important in this highly competitive environment, we rely on word of mouth as the best form of advertisement. Often times when a client returns for their next appointment they bring a friend, co-worker, or relative with them which shows that are clients are happy, which is the ultimate goal.
You're using Sciton's ProFractional-XC and BBL. What other technologies are you using? How do you evaluate and make your technology comparisons and decisions based on efficacy and cost?
Sciton Profile with BBL is a great machine as it is “user” friendly and has the capabilities of a variety of advanced treatments. We have Intraceuticals Oxygen Facial, ProFect Skin Analysis, and the Hydrafacial. There is always new technology coming out. I try to evaluate each in several ways: does it really give the results that it claims? What is the scientific proof? What do the clinical studies reveal? As a medical spa we only offer medically proven technologies. The next step is to evaluate the cost and return on the investment. We need to take into consideration how long a treatment takes, how much money will be generated, and how long to make our investment back. Cost effectiveness is important.
Is there any technology that you're looking to purchase in the future?
We are currently looking at several different new technologies for cellulite and fat reduction. At this point, we are still researching these different technologies..
Where do you see the most competition from other physicians in your area? How do you run your business in order to compete with them?
At Fountain, we are focused on providing great service that is personal and professional, from the initial phone call to the follow phone call and emails, we take the time to make sure our clients are have the best experience possible. We try to treat every patient as you would a family member. We want every person to return and use all our services. One unhappy patient loses more business than ten super happy patients will get you. As always, it’s important to give patients’ realistic expectations. Do what you say you are going to do, and mean what you say, always.
You've got a active web presence and seem to be comfortable with social media and reaching out to patients online. How much of your marketing efforts are now online? Are you seeing successes? Are there marketing efforts that you've found to be better than others?
We do not advertise. We use our online presence, social media, word of mouth, and develop great relationships with our clients. If a client refers us a lot of business we will give them discounts on their future services. Our great clients set up their own events for cosmetic parties and we offer exclusive discounts and specials. The mood at these events is more like a private party for our patients and their friends with food, drinks, raffle prizes, gift bags, and more. It’s a fun way to have new clients introduced to our services, facility and staff.
What is the best advice you've ever received as an entrepreneur and physician?
Do your homework. Research costs, pricing, returns on investments, marketing, competition, and have a budget. Make a plan with goals for different time periods. Know when you need professional help. Most physicians need help on the business side of medicine; therefore we have a consulting physician business management company. They work with us everyday on every aspect of our business. There are so many ways to market yourself online at no cost so taking advantage of that is a must. Most importantly, always be yourself and let clients know that you’re passionate about making their experience a wonderful one!
About: Dr. Todd Schlifstein is a Board Certified Physiatrist who trained NYU Medical Center and the RUSK Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine. He has a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University in Clinical Nutrition. He was an Assistant Professor at NYU School of Medicine from 1999 to 2009. He was an Attending Physician at the Rusk Institute and the Hospital for Joint Disease from 1999 to 2008.He is a Consulting Physician at Lenox Hill Hospital, Department of Orthopedic Surgery from 2004 to Present. He has worked with professional athletes in football, boxing and mixed martial arts. He has testified at the United States Congress twice as a medical expert at the steroid hearings in 2005 and on Human Growth Hormone in 2008. He has more than 300 media appearances on television, magazines and newspapers.
This interview is part of a series of interviews of physicians running medical spas, laser clinics and cosmetic surgery centers. If you'd like to be interviewed, just contact us.