Guess what? Family practice Doctors are moving to cosmetic medicine in increasing numbers.
This isn't any surprise to me but it's going to make the cosmetic medical market even more crowded and competitive.
Why? because the normal market conditions don't apply quite as much in medicine as they do in the 'real world'.
In a normal market, if you fail, you go out of business.
In cosmetic medicine, physicians who fail (and there are some), just end up making less money since it's the family practice, OB/GYN, or internal medicine practice that's making the bread and butter. Doctors don't die, they just get older and complain more.
As a result, large numbers of physicians are running pell-mell into this market to make that extra $60k a year, flooding the market with me-too competitors who individually can't compete but as a group add up to a significant portion of the available dollars taken out of the marketplace.
This is why the plastic surgeons and cosmetic dermatologists are pulling their hair out. While they're still making good money, the unwashed hordes of unboarded doctors who are moving in are all pulling a percent or two away from the front end of the funnel. Not much as individuals but as an aggregate it really starts to make an impact.
So when a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist sees a burn, blister, or other complication, his predilection is to chalk it up to another one of those 'bargain basement cosmetic practices' that have opened their doors down the street. (and he might be right since it really is kind of the wild west out there.)
I do have two predictions here.
Since it's the state medical boards that make oversight and regulatory rules and since those boards are made up of physicians, I think that:
- Regulations will tighten up to try to keep anyone other than physicians out of the market.
- The in-fighting between plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and other physicians performing cosmetic medicine will escalate.
Both of these strategies will fail. While regulations probably should be tightened in most states, the current system is hugely inefficient and natural market forces will force the vast majority of physicians into a commodities market which will shrink physician incomes. Nor will plastic surgeons and dermatologists be able to keep non-boarded physicians out of cosmetic medicine (This recent Florida situation with off site medical spas notwithstanding.)
So if you're running a medical spa or laser clinic or you're a plastic surgeon or derm... it's only just begun.