Trend: Hospitals go for medical spa bucks

For some time now, doctors have been adding new, high-profit cosmetic services like Botox injections to their practice in an effort to keep afloat. Now, it's looking like hospitals want to come to the party too. The move to retail cosmetic practices is also part of a larger trend in which hospitals are taking a hard look at retail services of various kinds, including retail clinics. In so doing, they're joining an industry that is exploding. According to the International Medical Spa Association, there were 400 such spas in 2004, and now there's nearly 2,500.

Increasingly, community hospitals are creating their own cosmetic practices, in part due to the belief that their hospital's good name will assure patients of high-quality care. In some cases, other medical spas perform services without having a doctor on site during the procedures, which has sometimes resulted in burns, blistering and other injuries from treatments. One survey of members of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery reported a 41 percent increase in patients seeking help after treatments that went wrong when performed by non-doctor staffers at medspas.

To learn more about the medical spa business:
- read this St. Petersburg Times piece

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