Last week Dr. Slenkovich, two other staff members and myself ventured to Washington D.C. for the annual meeting of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Doctors from all over the world join to attend classes and seminars, listen to industry experts speak and network with other physicians to exchange ideas and advice. The ASAPS is one of the most highly regarded cosmetic surgery societies and its members, including Dr. Slenkovich, are proud to be a part of such a prestigious organization.
Most doctors came to the meeting alone, but Dr. Slenkovich, who is always committed to furthering his staff’s education, brought us with him. Lyndsay, our managing patient coordinator, and Jessica, our aesthetician, also attended the meeting. Lyndsay learned how to be a better patient coordinator, Jessica took classes on building the aesthetics side of a plastic surgery practice and Dr. Slenkovich went to workshops and discussions on Rhinoplasty, Breast Surgeries and alternative Liposuction, to name a few.
In addition to classes, an exhibit hall is set up in the convention center for representatives from various companies to display their products and services to the visiting physicians. This is a great way for businesses to showcase new items and new ideas in plastic surgery. While in the hall, doctors and staffs are bombarded by new concepts, new techniques and new must-have products ranging from surgical tools to implant sizers to scrub caps.
After one of my marketing classes finished I decided to take a peek at the vendors’ booths and as I walked through the massive exhibit hall I kept asking myself, “How do I choose?” Every booth looked legitimate and enticing, and every booth offered something we could possibly use in our practice. Laser liposuction? Teeth whitening? New lab coats for the staff? But the longer I stayed, the further away I felt from the very reason we were all there in the first place: physician education and information. I left feeling overwhelmed and slightly discouraged by the sea of salespeople.
That night we attended a dinner hosted by Sculptra Aesthetic, a company that makes a collagen-producing injectable. Dr. Slenkovich, Lyndsay and I sat with a surgeon from Boston, Dr. Bill Adams, who has been in practice for more than 30 years. After discussing the meeting with him, Dr. Slenkovich asked if he had any advice for a younger doctor. He replied with, “Be a good surgeon and take care of your patients. Everything else will fall into place.”
No advice on website design or liposuction techniques or the future of laser resurfacing. Just simple advice on patient care. His words definitely hit home, especially after spending the afternoon surrounded by the next best concept or contraption that claims make a practice the best of the best. He explained that since opening his practice in the late 70’s, he has seen the ebb and flow of plastic surgery trends and most of them are just that, a trend. He also said that the vast majority of his patients are purely referrals, which says a lot about the trust and confidence he instills in his patients.
Lyndsay participated in an all-day patient coordinator class taught by one of the most successful plastic surgery practice consultants in the country. She left her class with similar feelings: get back to basic patient care.
We all came home motivated and ready to put what we learned into practice.
Our goal at Colorado Plastic Surgery Center has always been to provide comfort, confidence and caring to everyone who steps through our doors, but it’s easy to get caught up in the “hype” of the industry and buy into ideas that end up adding more stress and confusion and take away from our ultimate goal: providing exceptional patient care. Cosmetic surgery has always been a target for gimmicks and flashy products and equipment, more so than any other medical field, so it is important that we as a staff work hard to keep our focus on our patients’ success.
Because, really, you all are what matter the most.