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When day spas go medical

Article-When day spas go medical

New York — Transforming a day spa into a medical spa brings with it a whole complement of new challenges — from appropriate medical staffing to government compliance issues.

Ms. Ross
At the recent American Spa Expo in New York City, Lyn Ross, L.M.E., president of Institut' DERMed MediClinical spas and founder of Institut' DERMed College of Advanced Aesthetics, both in Atlanta, participated in a panel discussion on medical spa development issues. Ms. Ross addressed issues that spas confront when they add medical services to their menus.

Tackling the biggest hurdle

Staffing issues are among the biggest hurdles faced by a spa when it decides to add medical services such as lasers, Botox (Allergan) and injectable fillers.

"The biggest challenge for me was educating the front desk staff, because they are on the front line and must be thoroughly educated on all spa and medical services," Ms. Ross says.

The next challenge was to become compliant with the Healthcare Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Ms. Ross tells Cosmetic Surgery Times.

She explains that her employees can no longer openly discuss personal information relevant to medical procedures or spa treatments, because HIPAA mandates that all medical and spa staff be conscious of clients' privacy.

Ms. Ross also says that medical charts must now be kept on all patients, and that she had to hire a company to come in and teach her employees how to set up charts. Important information included in the medical charts are consent forms, a complete medical history, "before" and "after" photos, and progressive treatment documentation that is signed and dated by the appropriate staff member.

She points out that a business with multiple locations requires a HIPAA-compliant system to transfer client information between locations.

The use of syringes for Botox and injectable fillers meant that she and her staff had to receive training in proper syringe disposal and protection against blood-borne pathogens, in accordance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements. OSHA regulations also require medical spa facilities to have proper signage and clear passageways, she says.

The cross-marketing of medical and spa services is very important, so the spa instituted an internal marketing program. As part of this program, for example, the staff received training on how to appropriately combine nutritional counseling and Endermologie with mesotherapy.

Ms. Ross explains that what she created to bring all of these elements together was a private consultation area.

As she describes it, "Once clients come into the spa, we have a patient coordinator take them into a room and take 'before' photos.

"The coordinator and the client then have a consultation, so that the coordinator can gather all the necessary information and create a medical chart, and educate the client about the service or procedure that the client will be having."

Ms. Ross says the spa director sometimes helps with these initial consultations as well, and that clients return to the consultation rooms for "after" photos.

Staff education and training is an ongoing process, Ms. Ross says.

"We have regular business meetings to ensure that our front desk is running smoothly and that the front desk staff provides optimal support for the medical and spa staff," she says.

"We also have in-service presentations for our spa staff by our nurses and physicians to share patient results and describe how our treatments and products work together to achieve the best results. These mandatory four-hour training meetings are held once per month."

Ms. Ross reminds would-be "spatrepreneurs" that, "You can do all the marketing you want and build a beautiful spa facility, but if clients are not seeing results, they will not come back. We must fulfill our promise to our clients by using pharmaceutical-grade products and the most technologically advanced equipment."

CSTPoint "The biggest challenge for me was educating the front desk staff, because they are the on the front line and must be thoroughly educated on all spa and medical services."

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