How to get the most out of your medical aesthetic devices
The aesthetic devices market is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, and is expected to reach approximately $17,992 million by 2023 (Allied Market Research). Medical aesthetic devices are used to treat a wide variety of issues associated with a person’s looks and aesthetic appearance, for example skin laxity, excessive fat, cellulite, scars, stretchmarks, unwanted tattoos, pigmented lesions, wrinkles, excess hair, age spots, spider veins, and skin discolouration. Aesthetic treatments can includes both invasive and non-invasive treatments, some clinics opt for a combination of both to further enhance someone’s appearance.
In today’s society, the quest to look more beautiful and youthful is unprecedented. Combined with the need to achieve natural looking results quicker than ever before, without downtime or medical risk has led to significant technological advancements in lasers and other energy-based aesthetic devices. Innovative clinic owners, physicians and aestheticians are therefor able to provide the results expected by their patients under one roof, in relatively short periods of time, something their clinical predecessors would not have been able to achieve without months of treatments, or going under the surgeon’s knife.
Technological advancements in recent years have resulted in high functionality, lower costs, ease of operation, and minimally invasive and non-invasive aesthetic procedures that are driving the growth of this market. Clinicians who are addressing the needs of the marketplace are benefitting from these trends.
Skin tightening, skin resurfacing, reduction of pigmented skin blemishes and age-related vascular/dermal lesions, as well as hair removal, are among the most popular treatments, increasingly these services are representing a larger percentage of the profits seen by savvy clinic owners and physicians.
Although this is a profitable and fast growing market, clinic owners and physicians need to stay one step ahead of the game. Most clinics offer the same range of treatments, so how do you remain competitive and offer the best clinical results? By making the most out of your devices, that’s how! Medical aesthetic devices can cost anything up to £200,000, but it surprising how many clinics fall short when maintaining, training, experimenting with combination treatments and even considering consumable costs.
This guide will help clinic owners, aestheticians and physicians know how to make the most out of their medical aesthetic devices, protecting their investments, making the most return on investments and provide the best clinical results they can for their patients.
Maintenance & Servicing
You wouldn’t buy a car and not complete regular services, MOT or basic maintenance. So why would anyone invest tens of thousands into a device without ensuring regular basic maintenance and servicing? Most reputable suppliers / distributors offer maintenance and servicing contracts, sceptics amongst us might think this is a basic upsell, but don’t underestimate the advantages of such contracts.
Rather than being left to improvise when your most popular treatment device stops working, with a diary full of clients, consider signing a service and maintenance contract with your supplier. Your clinic will have the benefit of routine maintenance checks, as well as access to emergency repairs and replacements, meaning you should never be a device down. Here are just a few of the many reasons why a contract maintenance agreement for your devices can take your clinic to the next level.
Cost savings over the life of the device
One thing that holds clinic owners back from signing a service contract with a supplier is the idea of paying up front when repairs aren’t actually needed and the device is all shiny and new. While it’s tempting to wait until a repair is needed, however unlikely a breakdown may seem, no-one can predict the future. A maintenance and service contract is likely to save you money in the long run, contracts are usually cheaper than call outs for one off repairs, plus contracts ensure a speedy response, meaning you won’t be losing revenue.
Increased longevity of your device.
Medical aesthetic device are a significant investment, so naturally everyone wishes they could get a longer life out of their equipment. By sticking to a routine maintenance schedule, your device will undergo thorough inspections designed to catch any issues before they could cause a major problem. It’s then less likely that you’ll experience an unexpected device failure, and you can be confident that your clinic operations will continue at peak efficiency.
Dedicated service schedule & emergency contacts
You already have numerous tasks competing for your time and attention, and remembering when to call for a service for your various systems probably isn't high priority on your to-do list. When you partner with a supplier your representative will keep track of your routine maintenance schedule and contact you when action is needed, leaving you to concentrate on your clinic and patients.
When you have an existing agreement with an supplier, you’ll know quickly whom to contact in the event that emergency service is needed. When your device is down unexpectedly, time is of the essence, and you won’t want to waste valuable minutes.
Building a relationship with a technician who knows your business and is familiar with your equipment is beneficial for both parties. When you have a scheduled maintenance contract, the support team won’t have to waste time learning about your particular devices and needs. They can acquaint themselves with your business processes beforehand, so they will know exactly what devices are most crucial for your operations. Experienced aesthetic technicians know what to look for and run your system and handpieces through a checklist of procedures and will clean, replace and calibrate equipment if necessary. If you use your cosmetic laser or medical device on a regular device, scheduling regular maintenance is a no-brainer!
Looking after your devices
Many of your devices will have multiple operators. One of the ongoing inspections on any checklist should be overseeing the correct operation of the device. Equipment should be inspected as soon as it is purchased. Operator training is usually done at that point, but training needs to be kept up, with refresher sessions and technique checking. Employees come and go, skills become rusty and poor operation can lead to breakdowns.
Ask you supplier for the most up to date operator manuals. Shorter manuals can be created in house for quick and easy reference. Identify best practices, which can then be applied to your other clinic locations. The knowledge you learn about how to maintain your equipment can become quite valuable – be sure to best leverage this important knowledge and use it at every applicable location.
Preventative maintenance is often overlooked but can easily end up saving you money in the long run. Aesthetic devices and cosmetic lasers need to be taken care of regularly. Like any capital investment it is worth keeping it in near perfect condition, so it lasts for years or you want to resell it in the future, it always beneficial to take care of your machine to the best of your ability.
- Cooling System Check: Check your cooling system levels before you start for the day. Make sure you are using deionized water, deionized water has chemical and electrical properties that make it the optimal choice for cooling when sensitive electronics are involved. Some aesthetic machines require a coolant additive as well, check with your supplier. Don’t allow your system overheat because you didn’t do a simple check on the water cavity. Take care not to overfill – the fluid could spill onto electronic components and cause major damage.
- Clean Filters: Dust and debris will prevent your aesthetic devices from working or lasers from cooling properly, this could lead to component or electrical damage. Clean filters regularly.
- Handpieces: Most handpieces are limited by shot count, this count tells you when your handpiece will need servicing or replacing, error codes are often displayed if a shot count has been reached, checking the shot count before you start your day will prevent any problems or delays during a treatment. Even if the handpiece continues to work after exceeding the shot count, don’t be fooled that the machine is working just fine, the effectiveness of a handpiece will almost certainly be affected and the can deteriorate if you continue to use it, maybe even causing irreversible damage to the hand piece. Contact your supplier for handpiece service / maintenance. They will check all the components and recalibrate your equipment. Also keep your handpieces clean. Dirty optics, clogged mechanics affect the performance of your equipment.
- Knocks, drops or bangs: Aesthetic devices, cosmetic lasers and handpieces are made of complex components that need to be correctly aligned. If you drop your handpiece or bang it too hard, you can easily knock parts out of alignment, you may or may not notice a change in the output or performance, but your machine could be affected. Any major knock, drop or bang should be checked by your supplier / service provider
- Temperature: Most medical aesthetic devices are stored within the clinic itself and thanks to our relatively stable climate extremes of temperatures are not reached in doors. However if your machine is in storage for any period of time, it may be exposed to temperatures that are not ideal. Most machines have an operating temperature, this is the temperature at which it operates most efficiently and effectively without the risk of damage. Your supplier or the device itself will indicate the correct temperature range, this will vary from manufactures and technologies. Make sure if your device is in storage or we are due a cold spell you know the minimum operating temperature to the maximum operating temperature. Outside this range of safe operating temperatures the device will display an error code and not work until it’s back at the correct range.
Use your device to its full potential
Are you a clinic owner who has experienced a lack of return on investment after purchasing an aesthetic device? Could it be that your device is not being used to its full potential?
“From experience I have found that many clinics are only using their devices to between 50% and 70% of their full abilities” says Lee-Ann Palmer Head of Training and Clinical Support Venn Healthcare. “This is usually down to lack of training and operators not wanting to step outside their comfort zones. We are not encouraging anyone to start wildly experimenting with settings, that would be irresponsible, what clinicians and clinic owners need to do is invest in continuous training to get the most out of their equipment”
It’s tempting to train staff parrot fashion on the same settings for every patient, treatment after treatment, avoiding difficult skin types for fear of something going wrong. Many operators tend to stick to lower settings purely down to apprehension and lack of education, which is neither good for the patient or the business, it leads to ineffective treatments and dissatisfied patients. However if you invest in training your clinic will be able to safely push boundaries to get the most out of your devices and increase your patient pool.
To get the most out of operator training your staff must have a good knowledge of anatomy and physiology, this will give them the confidence to work outside of the ‘bog standard’ settings, empowering them to offer bespoke treatments to their patients and maximising the clinics return on investment.
Keep on top of training and don’t become complacent. Access to continuous professional development can be through your aesthetic device supplier or a trainer who focuses on technologies and not just certain brands. Venn Healthcare offer continuous professional development training of technology such as HIFU, regardless of whether you own a device distributed by them.
Don’t alienate different markets - Most industry technology is graded to suitability of skin types, with darker skins at risk of hyper or hypo pigmentation, this results in less services for people with darker or difficult skin types. This doesn’t mean your device does not have a bespoke setting for treating these skin types that your operators can be trained on safely and effectively. For example Lutronic Lasers re-invest a lot of their profit back into research and development, taking subjects from all skin types and backgrounds to develop protocols for all. Without the confidence to use different settings and without continuous training and professional development your operators will never learn new protocols and new techniques as and when they are developed by the manufactures.
Most manufactures hold symposiums at conferences, host webinars and produce new clinical papers regularly, make sure you sign up to these invaluable sources of information.
1 - Make sure your operators have a good knowledge of anatomy and physiology to give them the confidence and empowerment to step outside of comfort zones safely and effectively.
2 – Invest in continuous professional development, train and re-fresh operators regularly, ensure you are following the manufactures latest research and clinical trials
3 – Broaden the scope of treatments you offer and make sure you are aware of all the features and settings your device is capable of. If you are unsure contact your supplier and organise
4 - Buy the best equipment, learn from the most experienced clinicians, attend training, webinars and conferences to keep on the cutting edge, strive for excellence in all aspects of patient care, never let the business side of aesthetic medicine distract your focus from being a great clinician.
Combinations therapies for the best clinical outcomes
Clinics who want to offer optimum results design treatment packages specifically for each patient. Combining therapies get the best clinical outcomes as well getting the most out of your devices. Combination treatments offer patients even better results and faster healing times, the key however is knowing which treatments to combine. It’s no use combining one weekly treatment with another as it will be too time consuming and costly for the patient. It’s better to combine a weekly treatment with a one-off treatment. Some great combination ideas are listed below.
Best for Facial Rejuvenation
Spectra Carbon Laser Peel + HEALITE LED Light Therapy
Best for Skin Tightening / Wrinkles / Acne Scars
INFINI Micro needling with Radio Frequency + LaseMD Laser cosmeceutical delivery system
Best for inch loss and body contouring
Clatuu Fat Freezing + AWT Lipotripsy
Scizer HIFU + AWT Lipotripsy
Best for skin tightening
HIFU Ultraformer + AWT Lipotripsy
You will notice AWT Lipotripsy mentioned a number of times, AWT stands for acoustic wave therapy, originating from Shockwave Therapy, a treatment used to treat soft tissue injuries, it was during these treatments clinicians found improvements to skin texture, cellulite, stretchmarks and wrinkles. AWT Lipotripsy is an excellent ‘prep’ treatment for most other aesthetic technologies, readying the skin and the tissue, almost ‘warming it up’ for the main event. AWT Lipotripsy also helps to even out the contours of the body following fat removal treatments such as fat freezing, helping to smooth and tighten skin, boosting collagen, blood flow and lymphatic drainage
Prepping the skin and the soft tissue with one technology is just one of the many ways to get the most out of your medical aesthetic device. There are multiple different combinations of treatments available on the market that appear effective, choosing the right combination for your clinic requires careful analysis. Success will be down to choosing the right combination for your patient pool, combinations that provide them with optimum results, in the shortest time possible.
Choose your device based on your expected client base
Whilst it’s tempting to buy the latest tech based on media hype it’s important to match the technology you invest in to your existing patient base and then growing from there. If you have the patients already and the need is there, then next make sure to buy the best, safest, most effective device for those applications from a company that provides good training and after care service.
It is important to identify what type of patients and conditions are most commonly treated in your clinic. For instance, do you see a lot of patients with photodamaged skin or plan to treat a lot of vascular lesions? Different lasers and devices are used for different skin conditions, so it’s imperative to hone in on the type of patients your clinic anticipates treating. If a variety of different conditions, such as vascular, pigment and photoaging are anticipated, it would be advisable to investigate multiplatform devices that can deliver a wide range of different wavelengths, the Spectra XT by Lutronic is a great example of this.
When choosing a device there is so much to consider, buying the device is not always the most expensive part, even after you’ve paid off a device you may still have to pay for consumables, which can be anything from £50 to £5000 a time.
Consumables also need to be taken into consideration when deciding the appropriate treatment fees. With respect to consumables, it’s important to not be deterred by the cost of disposables and go for a lower quality device. High quality devices come with high quality consumables and vice versa. If the higher priced devices and consumables offer the fastest and best clinical outcomes your patients may pay more for a treatment, but need a shorter course, saving them money and time.
About Venn Healthcare
Venn Healthcare supply some of the most advance aesthetic technologies on the market that offer your patients excellent clinical outcomes, benefit from expert training, including continuous professional development to ensure your devices are being used to their full potential. Benefit from our 'on call' service engineers, value for money maintenance contracts and quick access to consumables, guaranteeing your treatment offering is never interrupted.
We supply the very latest aesthetic devices from Storz, Lutronic, Classys and Cluederm, four trusted brands that are continually investing in research, development and innovation. And as a Venn partner you’ll receive continuing support to help you expand your range of services, market new products and maximize your revenue.
Whether you’re looking to provide laser treatments, HIFU, fat freezing, body contouring or combination therapies, Venn Healthcare is committed to providing complete solutions for your medical aesthetic practice, providing the treatments and results, demanded by your customers.
Call to discuss combination treatments which offer even better results and faster healing times, and to find out about our different purchase, rent or lease options.
Tel: 01202 761198
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