Promoting cosmetic surgery abroad can be challenging. Keith Pollard outlines why it is crucial that clinics know what's going on in their target markets.
Any destination, hospital, clinic or facilitator promoting cosmetic surgery to consumers in another country needs to keep their "finger on the pulse" of how "cosmetic surgery abroad" is regarded in their target markets.
So, how well do you understand the perception of cosmetic surgery abroad in your target markets?
Often, the cosmetic surgery profession in the target market will have a negative view of patients going abroad. It impacts on their private patient income, and sometimes generates extra work for state funded health services, when complications arising from surgery abroad are not dealt with effectively by the surgery provider.
In the UK, the Royal College of Surgeons, has recently updated its "Patient's Guide to Cosmetic Surgery". The guide provides information to help consumers make a decision about their choice of surgeon, hospital and surgical procedure, what to ask the surgeon who will perform the procedure, and what the consumer needs to know before surgery. If you're a provider of cosmetic surgery abroad to UK consumers, then I advise you to take heed of these guidelines and ensure that the kind of service you provide meets the information needs of these patients.
There's a specific section of the guide that covers "Thinking of Having Cosmetic Surgery Abroad?".
Here are some key messages from the Royal College of Surgeons' advice to patients:
And here is the checklist that they advise consumers to use when selecting a surgeon or clinic.
If you are targeting UK consumers, ask yourself, how well can we answer these questions? Do we tick all the boxes? Can we provide proof that our surgeons are insured? Can we provide proof that our implants meet the required standards? Do we provide extensive information on what happens when there is a complication?
To succeed as a provider of cosmetic surgery abroad, you need to meet or exceed the standards expected in the customer's home country. Selling an inferior product at a lower cost is never going to be the key to long term success.
I am Executive Chairman of LaingBuisson International Ltd, a major provider of healthcare business intelligence. Our websites include International Medical Travel Journal, Treatment Abroad, the medical tourism portal, DoctorInternet, the Arabic medical tourism portal and Private Healthcare UK, the UK's leading site for private healthcare services. I am a regular speaker and commentator on medical tourism and the independent healthcare sector.