Daily Deals, Social Media And Plastic Surgery In Houston
The Internet is no more a brave new world, but a way of life with smart phones, iPads, tablets and computers whirring 24/7. Despite medicine being a profession governed by ethics, extreme competence and honor, social media and the Internet have an impact on what physicians do in terms of patient education, appointment setting, calendaring, medical records, and marketing. The practice of medicine, just like law, is bound by rules that have been created over hundreds of years. The rules are designed to not only protect the patient, but also to avoid denigration of the profession. Media companies like Living Social, My Daily Deals, and Groupon solicit businesses that sell products and provide services. Occasionally, The Eisemann Plastic Surgery Center, sees or hears about on-line promotional advertisements offering specials on plastic surgery and other cosmetic procedures such as breast augmentation or Botox injections. Physicians who use this model of marketing are on the edge of an extremely slippery slope both ethically and legally. Because social media “deal” sites take a percentage of the cost of the procedure (for instance 25% of the total) that can be considered the unauthorized practice of medicine because the physician is partnering with a third party entity that is not a licensed physician in the State of Texas, or in any other state, for that matter. A finding of the unauthorized practice of medicine (as well as anyone who assists another in so doing) may incur criminal penalties. Additionally, such coupons really serve as distractions that plastic surgery, while usually an elective procedure, is a serious medical procedure. Patients should also be aware that all physicians’ offices are a business with the physician doing what we all do at work: making a living to take care of our families. Therefore, if the plastic surgeon squeezes his/her pricing in one area, one can be certain that corners are cut elsewhere to equalize the transaction. All patients (even those who are well off) are cost conscious about plastic surgery, but a medical procedure is not the place to cut corners. Do yourself and your body justice, and thoroughly research the plastic surgery procedure that interests you, whether that is breast augmentation, liposuction or a facelift. Find out who the best of the best are in each field. Interview them to determine both their proficiency as a surgeon and their integrity as a physician.