Listen in as host David Mandell speaks to returning guest plastic surgeon Dr. Jonathan Kaplan about adding a weight loss program to a medical practice – both for the patient’s health and happiness and the practice’s economics.
(Video Available January 25, 2024)
Jonathan begins the discussion with an overview of the current popular weight loss medications Ozempic/Wegovy (semaglutide) and Mounjaro/Zepbound (tirzepatide) and how they work. He then explains how his practice began consideration of a weight loss program for patients – because of both BMI limitations of patients who wanted surgery and due to suggestions from practice staff.
David and Jonathan then delve into the various elements a physician must consider when evaluating and then implementing a weight loss program for this/her patients., including how to scale it as a subscription business model.
The podcast concludes with a discussion of how the same business process of evaluating and implementing a weight loss program could be applied by a physician to other modalities, including hormone replacement, IV therapy, cosmetic therapies and more.
Takeaway 1: Leveraging emerging treatments for weight loss can be a profitable avenue for medical practices, while helping patients clinically
David and Jonathan’s discussion highlighted how physicians can integrate emerging weight loss medications into their practices. Even though such medications are often used to treat type-two diabetes, they have shown outstanding results in weight management, driving the interests of many patients. This underscores an opportunity for health professionals and clinics to expand their service offerings, leading to increased patient satisfaction and revenue growth.
Jonathan shared his experience: “We started them on a weight management program and access to these medications…Now, we’re helping them lose weight and maybe eventually they’ll have excess skin and they’ll need surgery or they’ll lose weight, their skin tightens and they’re happy and we’ve helped them lose weight.”
Jonathan also noted that adding weight management services doesn’t necessarily require hiring more staff. Existing staff can handle the new service, and as the program grows, clinics can hire additional personnel if needed. “The fact that there’s just so many patients that are interested in this, we need more providers to do this,” he said.
Takeaway 2: Weight management programs can be automated for ease of operation and scalability
The discussion emphasized the potential of automating weight management programs, which can streamline processes and allow for scalability. These programs, especially ones that involve medications, can also be set up as subscription services, which provide stable recurring revenue for practices.
Highlighting the benefits of automation, Jonathan stated: “Automating this whole process is really smart… [it is then possible for] you to scale it to a hundred patients, hundreds of patients, 1,000 patients by automating the whole process.”
Takeaway 3: Weight management programs can be a steady source of recurring revenue
The discussion underscored the potential of weight management programs to serve as a reliable source of recurring revenue for practices. By automating the entire process and setting up a subscription model, practices can enjoy a steady inflow of revenue. This can help stabilize income, especially for surgical practices, where revenue can often fluctuate.
As Jonathan explained: “Your monthly recurring revenue can be so good that it covers all of your operational expenses. If you’re a surgeon like me, where patients are booking surgery, then any surgical fees come in are just like icing on the cake.”
Takeaway 4: The satisfaction of helping patients is more immediate
Jonathan also noted that the positive impact of these programs extends beyond financial aspects: “One of the things you enjoy about being a surgeon is the instant gratification… this is even better from an instant gratification standpoint, because there’s only so many operations I could do in a month, but with our weight management program, we have over 430 people in our program, and every month I’m having that instant gratification of 430 people losing weight on these medications.”