In addition, the practice has a physicians and leadership meeting every Thursday. “We meet for an hour, and that meeting is never cancelled,” says Dr. Waibel. “We identify issues in the practice, come to a consensus and then set deadlines. I’m a big believer in deadlines.” To keep the meeting efficient and on track, Michael sets a 10-minute timer for discussion of each topic.
“We do iPad messaging and, at least once a month, we have an all associates meeting,” says Dr. Waibel. “It is important to have regular meetings with your staff, so you’re all going in same direction.”
Like many practices, Miami Dermatology & Laser Institute’s most successful marketing strategy has been to focus on word of mouth, especially for cosmetic treatments. “What we find is we get these clusters of women,” says Dr. Waibel. “If a woman leaves your practice looking great and goes to play tennis with her friends, they all want know: ‘What did you do? Who did it, and when can I get an appointment?’ We have a group of about 50 tennis women in Miami, a group from Weston, and even groups of patients from Boca Raton and Palm Beach that drive to see us. So, first of all, just do excellent work and take good care of your patients.”
Dr. Waibel calls every cosmetic patient the day after their procedure to make sure they’re happy and not having any problems. She also gives patients her cell phone number, so they can reach her at any time. “It’s really comforting for patients when they know that they can get in touch with their doctor,” she says.
When Dr. Docal and Dr. Kent joined the practice, they listed themselves on ZocDoc, a mobile app that allows patients to go online and book appointments available within 24 to 48 hours. “We get a lot of new, really quality patients through that,” she says.
To make sure patients are aware of the wide range of procedures offered by the practice, Dr. Waibel purchased large screen DVD televisions for every room in the facility. “Patients see the loop DVD with all the different things that we do, and we pick up about six cosmetic patients a day from that loop,” she says. “It’s a really cost-effective marketing tool.”
Charting a Path
A big believer in both deadlines and goal setting, Dr. Waibel is currently focused on expanding her facility to keep up with the growing demand for its services. “I have a vision where we’ll have a medical side and a cosmetic side and, in the middle, there will be a big Lazy Susan where we put our lasers, so we can move the laser rather than the patient,” she says. “We have a great location, but we need more space and we’d like to add a couple more providers, so we’ll have to build out. That’s our main project for the first quarter of 2015.”
On the advice of an Allergan consultant, she has opted to expand her existing facility rather than launch multiple locations. “Every time you add a new location, you have a huge increase in overhead costs. The more efficient thing to do is have several doctors working in the same space,” she says. “Your revenue increases faster than your overhead. Plus, we have a great staff and management team. If we were to open a second location, we could lose that momentum.”
She encourages new dermatologists to chart a career path early and take advantage of all the resources available, including great staff, business consultants and industry manufacturers. “I love interacting with CEOs and the engineers who develop these technologies,” she says. “When you interact with these people, it makes you a much better doctor. This is true of getting involved in research and publishing as well. Have a compass on where you want your career to go, and focus on the big picture. Don’t let the details distract you from the goal.”
Inga Hansen is the executive editor of MedEsthetics.
Photo by Tom Clark.