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  • The demand for cosmetic procedures, both invasive and noninvasive, is increasing dramatically.

  • A thorough consultation is invaluable for patient education and comfort.

  • Patients vary widely in their desires and expectations, and the consultation is the ideal time to tease out a patient’s individual preferences.

image Beginner Tips

  • The interaction with the front desk sets the stage for everything that follows.

  • Etiquette for a clinician’s office staff must be similar to that seen in high-level hotels or retail stores.

image Expert Tips

  • A cosmetic interest questionnaire that lists problems and procedures the patient wants to discuss helps to streamline the consultation.

  • Use a variant of responsive listening—repeating back to the patient what he or she expressed to the nurse or assistant in the preliminary interview.

image Don’t Forget!

  • The appearance of the reception area is particularly important when treating cosmetic patients.

  • The public generally does not understand that surgery may be less expensive than the combination of nonsurgical procedures necessary to produce desirable results.

image Pitfalls and Cautions

  • Patient expectations must be set by the clinician with both clinical and financial boundaries: the patient who expects to pay for one syringe of a filler but requires at least six syringes to attain the desired result will not be satisfied.

  • Body dysmorphic disorder is the most common psychiatric condition seen in patients seeking cosmetic procedures.

image Patient Education Points

  • Be clear that nonsurgical procedures can provide excellent, but still not surgical, results.

  • A clinician must say “no” to any treatment they believe is medically or aesthetically inadvisable.

image Billing Pearls

  • Do not automatically write off procedure fees or offer reimbursement without checking with your malpractice carrier; returning money to a patient prior to discussion with your carrier could negate your insurance coverage if the incident is litigated.


Every interaction between a clinician’s office and the patient represents both opportunity and risk. Opportunities for the clinician include solidifying the practice and provider’s credentials and expertise, establishing rapport and trust, and highlighting the possible benefits for the patient. At the same time, risks include discouraging the patient from seeing the provider through less-than-stellar customer service, portraying the practice in an unprofessional light, and giving off an air of unavailability and aloofness that will likely result in a cancelled appointment—or frustrated new patient. Therefore, spending extra time training the office staff in best practices for patient management, and particularly for new patient management, often pays significant dividends.1-3


The first contact a prospective patient has with the office is with office staff, whether by phone, online, or in person. That interaction will set the stage for everything else that follows. Phone calls and emails must be answered promptly. The volume of phone calls received ...

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