Psychologists doing Botox, oral surgeons doing breast reductions and consumers turning to social media for aesthetic advice from perfect strangers. It’s enough to make a doctor wonder why he or she bothered to get board-certified in a cosmetic medicine specialty in the first place.
The answer is that patients who turn to board-certified aesthetic professionals report better outcomes and higher satisfaction than those who don’t. And what’s good for patients is good for doctors and the industry as a whole.
Those are among the findings of new research from RealSelf.com, which analyzed tens of thousands of self-reported consumer reviews across hundreds of cosmetic procedures that were posted to the site. On average, patient satisfaction rates were 15% higher among those who had procedures performed by board-certified aesthetic experts, versus doctors from other fields of medicine.
The data, says Tom Seery, RealSelf CEO, supports our inherent belief that training, credentials and board certifications matter when it comes to patient satisfaction and safety.
The results were even more striking for injectables. Among the findings, board-certified doctors scored 27 percentage points higher than non-core providers for Botox (93% vs. 66%), 35 percentage points higher for Radiesse (95% vs. 60%) and 36% higher for Restylane (97% vs. 61%).
The notable differences within the injectables category are of high interest because these procedures are among the most widely recognized by the mainstream public, says Seery. They’re also becoming commoditized through coupons, group buying specials and social media marketing, often putting “buy now” pressure on consumers instead of encouraging research and doctor screening efforts prior to making decisions.
What’s an aesthetic professional to do? Counter the sales pitches with solid data — during consults, on your website and through the content you share via social media. The latter is especially important as it’s increasingly the first place many consumers turn to when making aesthetic-purchase decisions. Social media doesn’t detract from the value of board certification; it simply provides another venue where you can demonstrate the value and expertise you bring to the discussion.
Board certification matters, says Seery, and as the cosmetic surgery industry continues to broaden and reach more consumers, this is a crucial educational message to spread.