As the demand for in-office cosmetic procedures rises, the number of lawsuits against dermatologists and medical spa practitioners is also increasing.
More and more physicians and aestheticians are looking to offer the cosmetic laser procedures that their patients and customers want. Though it can be lucrative, it also presents a significant risk for liability. Today’s businesses need to think ahead about how to protect their activity. And, as we all know, prevention is often the best protection.
Liability Issues for Med Spa Procedures
Over the last decade, the number of medspas and dermatological offices providing cosmetic procedures has grown steadily. Because the technological development of laser equipment has made many cosmetic treatments non-invasive and quicker, some practitioners consider them risk-free. But this equipment can be hazardous if used by untrained hands.
This myth about the simplicity of laser procedures is partially responsible for the rise in litigation involving medspas. In recent years, there has been an increase of allegations related to:
- Personal injury,
- Improper service,
- Pain and suffering, and
- Lack of informed consent.
Clients complaining of burns, pigmentary alterations, and scarring present a real liability risk for these types of businesses. In fact, injuries caused by cutaneous laser treatments performed outside of medical facilities are a leading cause for legal action in this industry. Laser rejuvenation, ablative and non-ablative resurfacing, and laser hair removal are currently among the most litigated treatments. This is probably because they require more skill to perform correctly and safely.
It’s important to note that not only are employees responsible for customer care, but medspa owners are also responsible for economic damages. In recent cases, judges have often found that the doctor or business owner is equally liable. Rulings are based on a lack of proper supervision and training for the laser procedures being performed.
6 Ways to Protect Your Business from Liability Risk
With the growing threat of legal action, it’s crucial that medspas take the proper measures to safeguard their business. Here’s what should be at the top of your list of priorities:
1. Know the Laws in Your Area
In America, laws and standards regarding cosmetic procedures vary from state to state. Some states require a medical license or the help of a nurse to perform treatments, while others require specialized certification. It may also be the case that cosmetic laser technicians can only do treatments under the supervision of a dermatologist or doctor. Before offering laser procedures, businesses should absolutely get informed about the regulations in their state.
2. Keep Clientele Well Informed about Risk
Customers should understand the risk associated with every procedure that they request. Getting informed consent can go a long way toward reducing the liability risk in case of unwanted side-effects or undesirable results.
3. Require Staff to Complete Training Courses
Medspa businesses increasingly rely on technicians to perform laser procedures. Yet, business owners and physicians are still likely to be held responsible in legal actions, even if they are not the actual laser operator. This is why thorough training for new equipment, procedures, techniques and safety practices is so important.
From a liability standpoint, all practitioners are expected to provide the same standard of care provided by doctors. And delegating cosmetic laser procedures to technicians means giving them a lot of responsibility. Make sure that your staff is adequately prepared by requiring technicians to take courses and become certified to use the laser equipment correctly and carry out procedures safely.
Cosmetic laser training courses can range from several days to comprehensive programs that require 120 hours of course work. Classes tend to be small, which is a great opportunity for technicians to get hands-on experience, individualized attention, and professional training from qualified instructors. Getting certified is an extra assurance for practitioners and employers that the staff member can use the aesthetic laser devices accurately and safely.
Here are a few examples of reputable certification programs that are currently offered:
- The National Laser Institute
- IAPAM Aesthetic Laser Training
- College of International Esthetics
- American Academy of Procedural Medicine
- AML Laser Academy
- NIMA Institutes Aesthetic Laser Training
- Dermani MEDSPA Cosmetic Laser Training
A high-quality, comprehensive laser training course should provide practical knowledge and business development strategies, along with hands-on training. Instructors generally include dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons, nurses and cosmetic laser professionals.
4. Ensure that Staff Stays Up to Date
Because of the rapid development in laser technology, you should make sure that your cosmetic laser technicians are staying up to date. Continual learning opportunities and advanced level courses are available in many areas. These offerings aim to teach participants about the latest procedures, trendy treatments, and the newest devices.
In addition to laser and IPL training, courses covering the newest uses for skin peels, derma fillers, micro-needling, threads, micro-dermabrasion and resurfacing, as well as cosmeceutical therapies are beneficial for medspa staff. Though they can be expensive, many programs combine these topics into multi-day training courses to help participants get the most for their time and budget.
5. Give Staff Opportunities for Clinical Experience
As with anything, learning is useless without the chance to practice. Hands-on experience is a key part of training courses, and clinical experience is the next important step. The best way to ensure that cosmetic laser technicians deliver great results is to ensure they have opportunities to perfect new techniques.
6. Provide Proper Supervision
It’s important that your business operations be organized in a way that allows for technicians to have adequate supervision when performing laser procedures. Oversight by a doctor, nurse, or qualified laser operator should meet the requirements in your state at all times. But, full supervision – even beyond the legal minimum – should be provided whenever new staff members are being vetted or technicians are performing new treatments. As a precaution, adequate guidance helps protect clients from less-than-satisfactory results and protect your business from liability risk.
Get more smart aesthetic industry advice here: Boost Med Spa Profits with Targeted Skincare and Laser Treatments.
Contact Laser Service Solutions for more information on clinical training, renting and leasing aesthetic laser devices & to learn more about our range of high-quality pre-owned equipment and affordable maintenance repair plans.