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Private sector offers doctors flexibility

By Liu Zhihua | China Daily | Updated: 2020-01-21 10:47
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A surgeon performs an operation on a patient in Hefei, Anhui province. [Photo by Jiang Yu/For China Daily]

Plastic surgeon Jiang Ya'nan left a public hospital to work for a private facility in 2014, and opened her own practice in 2016.

Last year, she answered online inquiries from more than 10,000 patients on So-Young, which helped her attract attention from potential customers, and made the platform the largest online channel for her clinic to get customers.

Guo observed that the internet is becoming a vital channel for China's private aesthetic medicine practitioners to get in touch with targeted customers, build their reputations, and create close doctor-patient bonds to enhance services and boost revenues.

His hospital, which was officially established in September 2017, is already making a profit and is gaining a good reputation among customers and the medical community.

The hospital's rapid rise is mainly because it is managed by professional doctors who have equity shares and pay extreme attention to fair pricing, patient experiences and avoidance of overtreatment, but the influence of the internet is also indispensable.

Social media and video-sharing platforms enable the hospital and its doctors to communicate with patients directly, respond to their inquiries quickly, and post problem-solving articles, tutorials or videos that patients are interested in, to foster trust and establish a professional and caring image, he said.

Yang Mingjie, an experienced plastic surgeon from Dalian, Liaoning province, who established her own practice Dalian Calmagic Cosmetic Clinic in 2015, agreed that easy access to internet platforms for both doctors and patients, including social media, video-sharing apps, and So-Young, provide doctors more cost-effective channels to demonstrate to potential customers their medical and aesthetic expertise-the core of their professional skills.

Her team regularly spends time on So-Young, Sina Weibo, and WeChat to promote professional knowledge and enhance doctor-patient communication.

In 2018, her clinic's monthly revenue hit more than 1 million yuan, although it declined in 2019 due to overall economic slowdown.

The brand promotion of an aesthetic medicine practitioner should center on pre-and post-surgery demonstration and the doctor's personal philosophy of aesthetics, with complementary information on their educational experiences and career achievements, so that messages delivered to patients will not be misunderstood and the communication between doctor and patients will be productive, according to Yang.

"While conducting an aesthetic medical procedure is relatively less demanding on the number of doctors and nurses, or the operation of complicated medical devices, compared with heart, brain or other major medical surgeries, it requires more high-quality doctor-patient communication and mutual understanding to avoid medical disputes because the appreciation of aesthetics is quite subjective," she said.

However, both Guo and Yang noted that market competition has become fiercer amid the surging number of aesthetic medicine practitioners in the private sector.

Guo advised that doctors, especially those who leave public hospitals for private ones, strengthen their medical and self-promotion skills.

He also said integrity is a must if a doctor wants to stand out from the competition.

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