Interview with William P. Adams, MD – President, The Aesthetic Society
Welcome to Beauty and the Biz, where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery.
I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of “Your Aesthetic Practice – What Your Patients are Saying”, and consultant to plastic surgeons to get them more patients and profits.
LEARN MORE ➡️ http://bit.ly/Catherine-Maley-About
⬇️ Today’s Guest: William P. Adams, MD ⬇️
I’m thrilled to introduce our guest.
It’s William P. Adams, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon in private practice in Dallas, AND The new President of The Aesthetic Society, formerly known as The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
Dr. William P. Adams also holds the following honors and achievements:
• Ranked #1 breast augmentation surgeon in the US by Newsweek
• University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Associate Clinical Professor
• University of Texas Southwestern Aesthetic Surgery Fellowship Program Director
• Pioneer of the 24-Hour Breast Augmentation
• Published Author
Welcome to Beauty and the Biz, Dr. Adams. It’s a pleasure to speak with you.
✔️Want to learn more about Dr. Adams? Visit his website at www.DR-Adams.com
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➡️ Robert Singer, MD FACS – Former President, The Aesthetic Society
➡️ Grant Stevens, MD FACS – Former President, ASAPS
➡️ E. Gaylon McCollough, MD FACS – Former President, AAFPRS, ABFPRS, AACS
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Catherine Maley: Hello, and welcome to Beauty and the Biz where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery. I’m your host, Catherine Maley author of Your Aesthetic Practice, What Your Patients are Saying, as well as a consultant to plastic surgeons, to get them more patients and more profits. And I am absolutely thrilled with today’s guest is William Adams, MD.
He’s a board-certified plastic surgeon in private practice in Dallas, Texas, little competitive there, and here’s the big news. He is the brand-new President of The Aesthetic Society, formally known as the American Society for Plastic Surgery. So welcome to Beauty and the Biz Dr. Adams, it is a pleasure to have you.
William Adams: Likewise, Catherine thanks so much for having me.
Catherine Maley: Absolutely. I’m just so glad you carved out a minute for me. So, I’ll probably talk fast here, so I know you’re on a clock. So just out of curiosity, why did ASAPS change their name? I didn’t understand that.
William Adams: Well, you know, our official, the charter, and our business name is still The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
But in terms of what we’re calling ourselves and what people refer to us, we felt like so many people, that’s a long name and they don’t really, it’s hard to, yeah, they say ASAPS. And you ask people what ASAPS stands for? Nobody can’t even tell you what the acronym stands for. So, you know, the Society has always been about aesthetics and so it made sense to rebrand a little bit, just some call ourselves The Aesthetic Society because we are all about aesthetics. We’re about educating surgeons, how to be the best aesthetic surgeons in the practice, the best aesthetic medicine that they can. And so that’s really the emphasis for us to change our name, just to simply this, that it’s society.
Catherine Maley: I’m glad you did because it is a lot easier. I never, you know, most people do not understand ASAPS. They always say, The Aesthetics Society of plastic surgeons for plastic surgeons, for plastic surgery, nobody ever got that straight. I was, I was corrected one time at a meeting going oh I’m sorry. I, I guess I called it the wrong thing.
So, I think that was a good move. I’m surprised nobody else took TheAestheticSociety.com that was a good one, or I guess, yeah. So, did you become President, do you, do they pass off the what do you call it? The gavel at the meeting?
William Adams: They did, it’s a business meeting, so, you know, there’s every, at our annual meeting, which was fantastic that we actually got together a lot of ways.
The first, I think the first live-in-person plastic surgery, big cluster in the country. But so, it was fantastic to do that live meeting in Miami. But yeah, at the business meeting that we have every year annually, that’s where the gavel gets, gets passed, so I received it. And now, now I’m, now I’m serving as President.
Catherine Maley: So now the clock is ticking. That happened last month. So now you’ve got 12 months to make, an impact. So, what is your plan or what are your goals or what kind of technology are you going to introduce? Like what’s up, what’s going to happen with The Aesthetic Society under your thumb.
William Adams: It’s, you know we, so my background is, is in education. I was education commissioner for three years former this or prior to this, and then I was program chair and, I ran hot topics part of that. So, I’ve always been heavily in education. And so, yeah, there were a few things. So, we’ll, we’ll be, we’ll talk about one is that you and you, you know this from talking about business, but you know, Many people in business kind of, they know what they do, but a lot of people don’t really know why they do it.
And there’s actually a really good YouTube video on that by Simon Sinek. And, but you know, The Aesthetic Society, our, why is why we educate. And just like we’re saying, or talking earlier, you know, we educate surgeons on how to be the best set of surgeons. So, it’s translating and giving their patients the best outcomes.
And so that’s been what this society has been built on for the past 53 years. So, we really, the first thing I said to my board is that I wanted to make sure we kind of refocused ourselves on what our why is, and that just means that everything we do somehow gets back to what we do is educating people aesthetic plastic surgery.
Now, obviously, we do, we do more than that. And, one of the things that we’ve been working on now for five years is, is investing in some really cool digital technologies. And so, there are three actually that now are either fully developed and implemented, which are the first two I’ll talk about, then the third is, is in development. But, so five years ago we launched something called ANN or it’s called the Aesthetic Neural Network. And so, what that is, is a technology that’s very novel and our technology partner who’s helped us with all this and develop this is called on ANN.
And so, they had a technology that allows the system to go out people say EMR and pull-out information and it’s really kind of more of a practice management modality or utility where people you know, they don’t have to enter any data, this is all done coming up. We call it frictionless, you know, where it pulls out information.
And it has a very high level of business intelligence software that can look at your practice. It can tell you a lot of different information about your practice. So, as you, it can give you benchmarking to how your practice is doing to other people in your area or other people around the country. It can tell you for example, what’s your best ROI, ROI for your non-surgical procedure or surgical procedures.
And then it costs to help you do things like hyper-target your marketing based on that information. So that, so ANN was kind of the first thing that we developed. And then the second thing which we just launched in January; it’s called Aesthetic One. So Aesthetic one is a very novel app. It’s the only app of this type in the world.
It’s a two-facing app. So, what I mean by that is it basically. There’s a surgeon side to that app and there’s a patient side. One of the things that Aesthetic One does that we just started with is basically registering our, our breast implants. Now the neat thing about that is not only is that but has also been a time-consuming thing.
Paperwork sometimes gets put on, in the drawer for a while. But this is extremely fast because it interacts with, ANN the thing we talked about earlier, and it allows, I actually, most of us do it ourselves. Our staff can use it too, but we do it in the operating room. So, I did three surgeries today.
I pull up my mobile device, you know, it has The Aesthetic Neural Network on it. I bring up the patient, which is automatically populated into the app through it’s its integration with ANN. No data entry. I pick the patient, I scan the implant UDI code, and I enter some information about the operating report and that goes directly to one of three breast implant companies.
And the implants registered very rapidly. It takes about 40 seconds to do a patient. Then, the next part of the aesthetic one is the patient side. So, when we all presented at the FDA committee meeting a couple of years ago, one of the things that we heard from patients is that “yeah, you know, I got some card when I had my breast implant.
Now I can’t find it”. And they were saying that we really need a better system for that. So, what this is for patients is basically a digital passport for their implant information. And so, my, like my patients today, I the minute, the minute I had logged on to register their implant, it says, said Mrs. Smith, you know, a text. I hit a button.
The patient gets a text that says, “Dr. Adams is sending you an invitation to join Aesthetic One, the patient app. And so, there’s a patient-facing part of that app. The patient goes on, all of a sudden now they get their implant card, all their implant information.
They actually get some information about their surgery, just some basic things, but now they don’t have to save a card or remember where they placed it, it’s fully, completely HIPAA compliant. The patient knows that they have that for the rest of their life. So, it’s just a great, great thing. Now there’s more to it than that.
There’s a lot more that goes into Aesthetic One, probably that we could talk about today, but there are things like HIPPA compliant messaging. So, patients can communicate with the practice. They could send pictures in a HIPAA, HIPAA compliant fashion. We can do the same things we can share pictures, say sometimes in say revision surgery, patients like to see they are interested in something you’ve found and you can share that with them very easily.
In the patient app, there are ways that we could communicate in terms of even just getting feedback from patients’ surveys or patient reported outcomes. And then finally, so that’s all, all that’s life now. And we just invested in the third and final part, a portion of this, which is called SETA, which stands for Studies, Execution, Transformation, and Analysis.
And so basically you can think of that, that’s the research component of these digital apps and it integrates with those other two digital apps we talked about, and it’s going to allow us to do anything from. Clinical trials, to registries, to simple studies, to just analyzing those two other apps for data that’s being put into this.
And so, it’s something that is extremely unique. It will allow us to work with Industry, for example, if they are interested in doing a clinical trial that will be able to be done and it’s you know, fully FDA clinical trial compliant platform, HIPAA compliant, and it will revolutionize the way research will be done compared to what we’ve done in the past 20 years.
You know, it’s, it’s really not been digital, it’s been mostly on paper and that sort of thing. So, we’re really excited. That’s one of the things that we’re, this last piece has been developed. We hope it will be finished out sometime in the next eight to nine months. And we, we, we think that you know, data capture, and studies, clinical trials, that’s where everything is headed that’s really the epicenter where people want to be.
And, and so we’d like to lead the way with that, you know, and I think ultimately, It’s, it’s good it’s, it’s good for patients and things that are good for patients are good for surgeons. And so that kind of fits our mission as educators and, and really overseers of the aesthetic plastic surgery realm.
Catherine Maley: Well, I would say that’s a fantastic member benefit because one of the things I do when consulting with plastic surgeons, almost every single time, they say “so what’s everyone else doing?”. Like how they all want to know, not just benchmarking, like with the big guys. Cause I don’t, I’m not sure they’re they just want to know what are the, what are the guys around them doing kind of thing.
And where do they compare? Where, where do they fit into that? Because you guys are so isolated in your privacy practices, especially since we’ve been locked down and that’s where I get the calls. You know, they want to find out, am I where I should, where I should be, or am I supposed to be buying some different technology or am I, should I have my own, or should I stay at the hospital?
Like what’s everyone else doing. So, I think there’s a great benefit. You know membership…
William Adams: I think, you know, most of our members are just starting to realize the power of some of those analyses and reports that we, we actually just because like say ANN’s been going on for some time now. It’s, you know, develop five years ago and there are just actually the, in the past couple of months, kind of upgraded some of the reports, that the automatically generated reports, which areas you, like you, it’s really, it’s fantastic information. Just people need to figure out how it really can help them, but once they figure it out, they go, wow, I had no idea this did this.
So, it’s, it’s very cool. It’s very cutting edge. So, we’re excited to really be doing what we’re doing with that. And that’s a big part, of The Aesthetic Society right now.
Catherine Maley: Well, it also helped the memberships make better decisions, better business decisions, because the more data you have, how can you make half the decisions you make without the data?
I, I’ve never understood that because I do have an MBA. So, I’m always, the first thing I say is, show me your data. And then there’s usually a that’s not an easy thing to do.
William Adams: Yeah. And you know, just another example of that, how. Just simple, but you know, if you’re familiar with, everybody wants to see this, the year annual statistics.
Catherine Maley: I love that, yeah.
William Adams: Typically, the way those have been done is, you know, you get an email and you have a form and you try to go through and figure out what you did. Well, this is the first year ours was done completely through ANN goes into compelling and say. The thing about that is the internal relevance of, of, ANN is extremely high, whereas, you know, surveys, the problem is, is that a lot of times it was, it’s not it’s somebody, say it’s maybe somebody in office that’s just filling out something, so the data not, it’s not very good. It’s not very clean data. But the ANN data has a very high degree of internal relevance. And so that, so that we thought that was you know, we just transitioned this year. And from this point forward is all going to be done that way.
And just as you’re saying, it’s, it’s real, it’s real data, you know, it’s not, it’s not subject to a lot of them, the variances that you will get when you’re just got somebody in the office filling out a survey.
Catherine Maley: Well, it never fails. I say to the doctor, you know, oh, so what’s your conversion rate? And he always turns, “Susan what do you think our conversion rate is?”. It’s all very anecdotal. So, I think it’s so good to have really accurate data that nobody has to fiddle with. If you have somehow figured out how to get that out of the EMR, because I got to tell you those reports and those EMR, our reports can be a hassle, a really big hassle.
So, if you can get that data out without bugging the staff for it wow. That’s good for you. So, let’s shift gears and talk about the industry because it has been such a roller coaster. I’ve been around for all the like we’ve had recessions, and fires, and all sorts of stuff. And then we’ve had really.
Big peak times and very low values or valley times. And now COVID was such a God-awful thing that happened and just shut everybody down for months and it looked like, you know, the sky was falling and then, sure enough, the doors opened and could the demand be any bigger? Like the body, all of a sudden it became plastic surgery is a necessity.
It’s not, you know, a nice thing. I don’t know. There were a lot of what, what do you think went into that? Because I’m sure you’ve experienced that too. Everybody’s been super crazy busy booked out.
William Adams: Yes, it it’s. It’s actually been you know, obviously we feel very fortunate because I guess you said like, people were really freaked out that first month when pretty much everybody was shut down.
But you know, I think there’s a lot of factors that go into what, what we’ve seen. Certainly, we’ve seen this now for many, many years that people do prioritize some of these systemic treatments, particularly say non-surgical treatments that they’re doing. So, whether it’s neurotoxins or fillers, those are things that, you know, if somebodies got a choice to get, you know, they’re going to go out to dinner one more time or get their neurotoxin or filler.
And they, they tend to do the latter because it’s something that’s important to them. And again, people want to look good. They want to feel good. They, and these things that, that we do have, you know, proven benefits to people’s quality of life. So, so I think that that’s always been there. But there are a lot of other factors see with COVID.
I think people were sitting there sitting at home, they’re looking at themselves, you know, the whole thing with whether it’s FaceTime things or zoom or whatever people are seeing themselves. They’ve gotten a lot more time on their hands that than they had had. So there, they’re kind of seeing themselves, they probably you know, so I think I saw different things. Some people like got really got into working out. Some people like got into, you know, having a couple of beers and not working out. But then I think the better thing was that it was very variable around the country, but certainly, travel was much more difficult.
So yeah. Yeah. People a lot more time on their hands. You had people that normally when I’m vacation, but they didn’t do that. So, then they have, you know, more time, extra money because they weren’t spending it on other things they typically spend it on and, and they were already familiar with a lot of the great things that we do in aesthetic plastic surgery.
And yeah, we just saw this pent-up demand of people, you know, it was kind of bi-modal because initially, we had like, we, I, we, in, in Texas I was fortunate because we, you know, we. I think our governor did a fantastic job of managing, you know, what we had to do. And but, but we actually got back pretty quick.
So, we were there was about a three and a half or four-week period in April that we were closed basically. But then we very quickly at the beginning of May, we started back operating. And so, all the patients that were scheduled in April. Kept calling, you know, when can I have my surgery?
They all, they all got, I think had one patient out of maybe 35 people that were scheduled in, in April that decides to, not have surgery. Everyone else wanted to be put back as soon as they could. So, all those people came on, and then there was a whole group of other people that just have extra time.
They might have some extra money and, and they had time to research things that they otherwise may not have had as much time. And so, yeah, you saw that this wasn’t just a pent-up backlog. It was like that, plus all these new people that, you know, maybe an ought about it, but never had time to research it or didn’t have the time to take off.
And they, so they, I think that’s where you saw that this continued you know, increasing in people’s workload and patients come in their office and wanting to do procedures, whether they are non-surgical and surgical. And I think the other thing that bothers that is, you know, that our industry follows, it follows the economy.
It follows the consumer confidence you know, and that has been quite good. You know, we’ll see, hopefully, that’ll continue.
Catherine Maley: Do you think it will last?
William Adams: I mean, things have been so busy that I think if it’s probably unreasonable to think that’s gonna continue. So, I think we’re going to see, I mean now you have, I think all 50 states are almost fully open you know, people are too, people are going back to in-person offices, you know, I think that there’s going to be, there’s going to be.
Although It’ll remain popular, I think that it’s not going to continue at the current pace. And I think economics is, you know, there, there’s certainly more uncertainty about the economy right now than there was you know, six months ago. And so, I think that also may have some effects and even simple things, you know, gas prices, things like that, that affects patients.
The reality is even if you’re paying, you know, a hundred percent more than you pay for a gallon, the gas, you know, right. Right now, You know, that could have some effects on just the way you think about why you’ve been spending, you know, discretionary funds, things like that.
Catherine Maley: I think you’re so right about the patients had time to research because when they were all when we were all sitting at home like I’m in California, so we’ve been home forever. It’s just a joke here, but sorry, it was just, it’s been, California has not handled this well at all is my only political statement. And so, everyone was sitting still and the internet usage sky high, like just skyrocketed.
And I think especially cosmetic patients, they’ve been thinking about this forever, but they finally got to sit still and say, okay, what is all this? And they, they started attending webinars, and researching like crazy, and going to YouTube, and Instagram and I think, and, and they had the downtime, and here comes a bunch of money to them.
So, all of that just, wow, because I thought at first, I thought, oh no, here goes our industry. And then it went, no, our industry, all the money went over to plastic surgery it seems like. And I thought this is amazing every time I think I know what’s going on in the world. I don’t, you know, it’s such a crapshoot and the uncertainty, but the uncertainty isn’t stopping the patients. So, I just think this is, I would just enjoy it, you know? I mean, you guys.
William Adams: Yeah. I think pretty for just the popularity of aesthetic by surgery now it’s, you know, it’s always been popular, but yeah, even in the, even the past 10 years there’s been a gradual there’s more and more acceptance of plastic surgeon. You know, 20 years ago it was like, you’re looking around the corner to hide.
Cause you don’t want anyone to know you had plastic surgery. Now it’s like, if you’re not doing plastic surgery, what’s wrong with you, that’s the way friends are talking to their friends, like, what’s wrong with you? You haven’t done anything, you know? So, it’s definitely the popularity and acceptance of these procedures have clearly come full circle, you know, over that time.
So yeah, it’s kind of in the perfect storm, so to speak and you know, well, we’ll see, we’ll see where it goes. Clearly, plastic surgery is here to stay and, you know, there’s always going to be a market for it, but this market has been really robust the past you know, in the past 11 months, you know, and it hasn’t, I haven’t seen a lot of changes yet.
Catherine Maley: As the President then of The Aesthetic Society. Give me like your top two or three concerns for plastic surgeons to compete, survive, you know? What, what do you think the challenges are?
William Adams: Well, I think, I think that the biggest challenge is it’s tough for patients to differentiate. You know, if you’re a member of The Aesthetic Society, you, you know, you see that emblem our, we have a new logo now, but you see that.
And, you know, as a patient, that that member has been vetted, you say you cannot be a member of our society without going through an approved training program. And, and then also being board certified, which is a, another certification process that you do after your, your training program. So, all of our members are fully vetted and that’s, that can be a tough thing for patients to, to try to figure that out just on their own, you know, cause they may not even know that about say they see here, this person’s an Aesthetics Society member, but there’s so many people doing this aesthetic surgery now, cosmetic surgery.
And, and frankly, and it’s all I always tell my fellows, you know, a lot of times everything’s about the money and if it’s not about the money, it’s about the money and that’s why you have so many people doing cosmetic surgery because you know, they’re not trained in it at all, but they’re doing it because people pay cash for it and they see it as the easy way to make money. And unfortunately, the loser in that is the patients because there’s there are issues. There’s no way somebody that’s gone to a weekend course about a surgical procedure that has no formal surgical training.
They might be able to, it was just amazing to me that this can happen is they might be able to use some cases and get it to get an okay result. But eventually, it’s not going to turn out well. And then, you know, it’s, we’re not talking about just certain surgeries, like the glaring thing that you see, but you know, there’s a lot of non-surgical procedures.
Those are not, those can have a lot of potential complications or just bad results. So, you need that. There’s a reason why it takes us, seven or eight years to train, a fully trained plastic surgery resident.
Catherine Maley: This is what I tell the surgeons I consult with. I say you know what board-certified means, nobody else does just assume that that patient has no clue.
How great you are, you know how great you are, but I think you have to visually educate the patient on what that means to them. Like why they want to choose you over someone else. And I had this really cool signage. I can send it to you if you want. And the doctor. So, I put the doctor on there and I say what’s what is board certified?
And we literally visually show, well, you went to, when you went to college, like everyone else. Then you went to grad school, then you went to medical school, residency, fellowship, blah, blah, blah. And then you’re like 14 years of it. And that’s how you visually show somebody what that means. And then I would also put on there like I’m counting up all the surgeries you’ve done.
So, you’ve done 2000 blephs, you’ve done 2000 tummy tucks, you’ve done. 4,000 rhinos it’s, you have to really, and you put all your PR logos on it, you know, and your hospital logos, if you or your universities, if you went to a really well-known one, the point being visual, you want the patients to see, wow, you really are all that.
William Adams: Yeah. Yeah. And plastic surgeons are, are some of the most highly trained surgeons, in medicine. You know, it’s just how much training they go through. The diversity of our specialty is phenomenal, you know, from, you know, reconstructive trauma to microsurgery, to cranium facial surgery in children, cleft lip palate, to cancer base reconstruction.
And then, and then that’s all in surgery other things. And then, and then we get into aesthetic plastic surgery, which is a whole nother, you know, specialty set. And then that’s really where so the surgeons are very highly trained, but even with that, you know, there’s, there are people that really sub-specialize within say aesthetic plastic surgery and what I always say to patients you want to go to, you know, you’re not going to take, you’re not going to take your Mercedes to the new dealership, to get worked on you’re in touch with the people that know how to do that. So, you, you do need that, you do need to do your homework as a patient and, and, and really there are people that have specific expertise.
And we see that a lot in aesthetic plastic surgery that, that they really hone down what they do and those, those are the true experts in the different procedures. And, and so that’s, that’s really, I think in terms of what we view our membership of The Aesthetic Society, we are really the people that have focused on number one, aesthetic plastic surgery. And a lot of our members do kind of almost subspecialize in certain areas.
And, and so that those are the people that certainly are operating and delivering care at the highest level.
Catherine Maley: So, what are you, what are you telling the membership regarding. Plastic surgery meshing with nonsurgical treatments. A lot of the surgeons say to me, no, I just want to do surgery. I don’t care about any of the rest. The others say, well, I better catch the patient where they are, you know?
And, and if they’re only at, you know, at Botox right now, they’re certainly gonna go up that ladder because once Botox is our what is it, our heroin or something. So, once you’ve had that, you’re just dying to have some more. And especially as females. Oh my gosh. We fix one body part and we just go right onto the next concern we have.
And it’s just a never-ending beautifully relentless marketplace, you know, that you have.
William Adams: Yeah. It’s funny. It’s funny. You asked that because I had one of my closest mentors she’s again, this is like the whole non-surgical boom has really been the past 20 years, but maybe 20 years ago, he would say to me, you know, you got to decide if you want to be a surgeon or a sporter.
And it was just kind of it was kind of a jab at non-surgical stuff, but the truth is, is that the non-surgical stuff is a hugely important aspect of an aesthetic plastic surgeon’s practice. You know, we, we all view ourselves and we originally trained as surgeons, but what’s evolved is that investment.
We call it, it’s not just aesthetic surgery, it’s aesthetic medicine. And so. It’s really, you know, important because as you say the most, I mean, the number of non-surgical procedures being done, whether it’s a Botox, neurotoxins Spillers is dwarfs, you know, the number of certain surgical procedures being done, and they’re very popular and it’s because they work well and they there are, there are things that your patient, your surgical patients are gonna want and they’re not searchable.
So, it makes sense for you to be able to offer their, your, your group of patients. Both non-surgical and surgical procedure, you know, to that end, I just, I just opened a medical spa a year and a half ago here in Dallas for that, for that reason, you know, because I was. Yeah, primarily surgical a little bit you know, a little bit, very small kind of injectable practice, but, but yeah, I mean the procedures now and the offerings that we’re able to do in the nonsurgical setting is, is really incredible.
And it didn’t exist 20 years ago, but now it does. And some of the things, you know, you can, you can do certain things non-surgically that you can’t be surgical. A good example of that is people would say, well, or having a facelift, there’s going to be surgical components of that. The descent, maybe, maybe adding some volume of fat things like that.
But there’s also, the skin is another component of that, it’s not, it’s not a surgical solution, it’s a non-surgical solution. So, you kind of has these two things. If you want to get the patient the best result, you’re going, gonna have to have some expertise and modalities of both of those. So, it’s, it’s something that your patients want and, you know, and, and frankly, if people are just going to, there are some people that just say, like, I just don’t, I don’t have the bandwidth.
I don’t want to do it. I’m going to do surgery, but then, you know, their patients are obviously going to be going elsewhere to do the non-surgical because the vast majority of people that do surgical class surgery are doing some sort of non-surgical plastic surgery.
Catherine Maley: Absolutely, they really will, a patient will enter so many different doors.
To the aesthetic world. And if you don’t develop that relationship early on, it’s a tough one to say, I just want one part of that, you know, tell the patient I do. You just come to me for your bleph and you go elsewhere out elsewhere. You’ll never, they’ll never find their way back to you because they’re such, it’s just like a huge jungle out there.
And they’re trying to find their way. Gosh, I, you know, I even know a lot about this industry and God knows I partake all the time and you just can’t help yourself if you know and I know better, but it’s like, oh, I need a facelift. Oh. But you know what? I could probably, you know, get away with a little more dadada, you know, for another year.
But boy, I’m going to be developing a relationship with somebody because I’m going to, I’m going for surgery here sooner or later. So, I would try to, I think it’s a patient for life. I really do. I’ve talked to Grant Stevens about this too. And he has that philosophy, that patient, even a surgical patient will come back three times.
Like he’s done his own staff stats on it.
William Adams: Yeah, I think I just cut up or I just lost you for a second, but Are you hearing me? Okay. Okay. Okay. Yeah. I was just saying, Catherine, I think that’s such an important point because anywhere you, we’ve talked about ANN earlier, but one of the things that, that business intelligence software goes, it’ll tell you a lifetime value of a patient is in your practice.
If you know, somebody comes in for one surgical procedure, that’s great, but people are amazed. If you look at what that patient is to you in a monetary value over the lifetime of your practice, isn’t, it’s crazy. It’s, most people don’t realize that and so it really does make, it makes sense for a lot of reasons to try to maintain and offer you know, the full gamut of aesthetic medicine, things to patients, just because it just makes sense. And you get to stay in contact with your patients and, you know, you may, we, we follow, you know, for example, our breast implant patients are followed on we follow them annually. But you know, for seeing them, for other things, it just makes it easier and then say, oh, by the way, five years now you should get an ultrasound.
We should do an ultrasound with the look of your implant. And we do that as well. So, we offer all these things that they do complement each other. And I think, again, it’s, it’s, I think it’s better for patients in a lot of ways and things better for the practice.
Catherine Maley: I just know if you, if surgeons would think about the value of a patient, a life, that lifetime value of a patient versus that one and done mentality.
I don’t think, I don’t see how you’re going to compete down the road when things get tough again, because they always do. I think you better have a big corral of loyal patients who love you. Who will come back again and again, and I’m one of those patients I’ll keep going back if you’re there? And you’re nice to me.
I’m all over that. Anyway, let’s talk about marketing because it is so intense and you’re in Dallas. It’s super competitive there. How are you marketing your practice or differentiating yourself amongst all the others? And I do know, talk about your project, the Plastic Surgery Channel. That was genius.
William Adams: Yeah. You know, plastic surgeon channel is, is it’s really that, that was really more of a little bit different, you know, it’s not really it does serve as a great marketing asset that plastic surgeons or part of it, but I didn’t really start it necessarily to market myself, although I use it.
But it is, you know, my biggest thing is, and this is the plastic surgery channel is a media company and we specialize in high-level doctor delivered video content on plastic surgery. And those assets that we create are used by our subscribers on their websites and social media and marketing to their patients, for them to connect with their community and patients then interesting thing is, and that’s kind of how I look at marketing.
You know, if you look at the data the number one asset, marketing asset for any practice is video. And that’s evolved, you know, certainly wasn’t that case 20 years ago, but now, you know, patients don’t necessarily want to read, read things on websites. They want to look at a video. And so that’s where we, you know, started Plastic Surgery Channel.
That was not because we had predicted that, but you know, we started that 11 years ago, but it turns out that, that we kind of got into the right area. And I do think video has been very important for my, my own internal marketing and my practice. And because what we see is people always want to say, well, what’s the ROI.
Well, it’s very hard now too. ROI, I think came up when people had, you know, one 800 number and they did, and they could track it. I got; I got this many calls from this thing I paid for it. That’s the ROI. It’s not that way anymore because there’s too much crossover amongst all these different digital technologies.
Patients may have gone to your website. They went to some other place something like your social media account, or to your real self, or whatever. And they found you, but they may, they made, went to multiple different sites. Patients spend all this time and go on lots of different sources before they ever even come in for a consult.
And so, you really have no idea what way they, they get to you. But what they do remember is watching videos of you. So, I’ve really tried to use video heavily in our, you know, marketing and particularly on the website, our website and using those assets. And what happens is you find patients come in and go, I watched all your videos and I feel like I already know you.
And not only is that great because. Maybe they connected with you, but you tend to, you know, as somebody who doesn’t connect with you then may or may not come in and see you, which is probably better for both of you.
Catherine Maley: Right.
William Adams: But if they’ve already connected with you, they tend to be higher converters. They tend to already know your philosophy.
They tend to be better educated. So, it’s just a win-win for everybody. And so that’s what. In our, that’s really been my focus, the past, you know, 10 years is, is for my own practice has been video. And certainly, in Plastic Surgery Channel, we’ve tried to really facilitate making it easy and efficient for surgeons to get those assets that they’re able to use to connect back with their community and patients.
Catherine Maley: I know so many doctors are so awkward about this and, you know, video, if they’re not because of actually, usually most surgeons are introverted, you know, and that’s why they became surgeons. But now they have to be you know, actors and Steven Spielberg. But I always say, just be authentic and, you know, be yourself, be authentic, although your channel would help them look more professional.
And just the, on the branding of that, add so much authority to it. But don’t you love when a patient shows up, you know, the patient who has watched that, aren’t they open to you and your suggestions aren’t they literally saying to you, God, like you can see in their face, like, God, I feel like I know you already, oh, you’re much taller than I thought you were going to be, you know?
I mean your life just is so much easier. Consultation becomes more like chit-chat, you know, not this push and pull, and you don’t try to sell me, don’t try to oversell me, you know? So, I’m, I’m a big firm believer in the video. Now, you know what the challenge is going to be Google is going to make a very big deal this year out of speed, website speed.
And website speed and videos don’t go well together. I’m just saying, I don’t know how to fix it yet, but I’m working on it. But I, I don’t see how you see you’ve got to have video, but then you also have to have a fast website.
William Adams: Yeah. So, I think we actually have that’s been something that we, we really looked into for a while now through Plastic Surgery Channel we’ve actually looked that at a certain channel for some time and say, one of them, one of the simple things is that the ideal thing not to serve videos on your, directly from your website, because it does it bogs things down.
So, we actually provide our subscribers with the ability to utilize our video cloud, which it has. Of all the videos there, there are some other additional benefits to doing that. And one of them is that the players that we use are the fastest loading players in the industry and some things like that.
And I think you’re, you’re, I think it’s very steep because of that. Speed of websites has always been important, but yeah, I’ve heard that it’s going to become more important. So, I think kind of structuring some things like that. If you’ve got a lot of videos going to be critical.
Catherine Maley: Oh, good tip though. So, you’re are they staying in your world?
But when they click on a video, they go to a video cloud. Do they know they’re leaving?
William Adams: It’s like you can’t tell it’s, they never leave the doctor’s website. It just happens to be stored, from our video cloud, and which is It’s not, it’s not, we didn’t develop this. We actually use a third party called Brightcove, which is the biggest video serving cloud, in the world.
And but the beauty is, is that variable able to use that asset at much lower costs. Because if, if you want to get a Brightcove cloud on your own, it’s going to cost you quite a bit of money. Whereas, they basically serve their videos from our cloud, Plastic Surgery Channels cloud, but. It’s seamless, you know, it’s, it’s on their website and also gives them, you know, there are other recommendations we give our members in terms of having leverage video on their website.
You know, you’re gonna need to have things like video. It’s not just a photo gallery. You need to have a video gallery and have that on your top navigation and direct people to videos. You want the videos, not only your individual pages, but then you need a library of videos and all those things are able to be.
Given to any individual practice. But it just looks like it’s on their website, but it’s really not being housed on their website. It’s just being served off their website from the external cloud.
Catherine Maley: Okay. Good idea. Good tip. Thank you for that one. And the last thing about marketing, we have to talk about social media because social media and plastic surgery don’t always get along.
And also, the membership you have been, your society has been very stringent about how doctors should market themselves. I was around when, the days, when nobody even marketed, the best you could do was a Yellow Page ad, or your colleagues would like, you know, crucify you, and now it’s been the wild, wild west.
How, what, what is The Aesthetic Society’s feeling about social media? The doctors showing off. Everything, like really going behind the scenes there and offering coupons, and discounts, and free you know raffles for free surgery, you know, how, how do you all feel about that?
William Adams: Yeah, well we, we’re not, we’re not very fond of that type of marketing.
In fact, you probably know something new there. We have a code of ethics that our members are bound by and in, and there are clauses that specifically address it. That type of social media marketing. And it’s, it’s frankly not permitted on our code of ethics. And so, and there’s, there are some gray areas of that, but the problem is, and we’ve seen this time and time again if you’re operating on a patient, but you’re, you’re filming it and you’re really trying to be a showman. Then you’re not really doing what you need to do to do the surgery. And it just, it doesn’t reflect well necessarily a specialty, but it’s also just, it’s just not, you know, it’s just not, I don’t think it’s a good approach.
So social media certainly has its good points, but yeah, we, I mean our code of ethics doesn’t permit people to do that. Now obviously there’s a lot of people that have done that sort of thing and, and it gets into kind of just the whole air that we’re in, that, you know, social to be a social media and some things, the internet sometimes expertise.
It just felt like how many posts somebody has or how many views somebody does. But that’s not, now that doesn’t necessarily correlate with expertise. And, and that’s something that I think patients struggle with.
Catherine Maley: Well, you know what really surprised me, the patients can’t get enough of that. I’ve watched, you know, Instagram, and you watch the views, and the followers.
You think, dear God, I remember watching my first surgery and I thought I’m not gonna make it through this. And now I’ve been to so many meetings. I feel like I can almost do a facelift, but it, that it’s so gory and I thought, oh my God, you’re going to turn everyone off. Like no one’s ever going to watch you.
And it turns out, nope, they love it and get enough of it. Or maybe a certain group of patients can’t get enough of it. I’ll bet that’s more demographics or do you, who knows? But I got to tell you there, most of them are doing it because the audience is loving it and yeah, it’s working.
William Adams: It’s just that something probably that changes in our culture a little bit in terms of because you know, that, that, that type of thing probably wasn’t 20 years ago that wasn’t popular at all.
And then, you know, I think the first it’s the first show, that kind of reality show that came out was Extreme Make-Over and then there’s been so many since then, and you’re right as, as time goes on that got more and more graphic and, you know, following patient’s journey through surgery and all these reality shows that have been popular.
And now, you know, there’s, there’s even more, more obviously networks, there’s there are some limitations, but it can be shown, but certainly, on social media and the internet you know, and YouTube you see everything. It’s just it’s out there. Yeah.
Catherine Maley: One last thing about plastic surgery. What about destination plastic surgery? I actually gave a talk in Florida and it was I can’t remember the name. They used a different name than destination plastic surgery, but I was shocked at the enormousness of the conference. Thousands and thousands of people, thousands of booths, it was a huge business that I had no idea.
And now a lot of it wasn’t plastic surgery. It was, you know, hip removal. But is that an issue or how are you guys, The Aesthetic Society? How are you addressing it?
William Adams: Yeah, it’s a big issue. Yeah. And said, you know, we call that medical tourism.
Catherine Maley: Yeah, that’s what it was!
William Adams: And so, and so what I’d say is I differentiate there’s, there’s, medical tourism is, is not really talking about where, because there is, I know of many very close international friends. Some of the most famous people in the world are some of the best surgeons in the world, in certain areas of plastic surgery. So, if there’s a patient that decided they want to go see somebody in say Sweden or Australia, because of their expertise, that’s not what we’re talking about.
What we’re talking about is kind of cut-rate plastic surgery often coupled with almost where it’s like a vacation. So come do this. You spend a week at the resort, you get your plastic surgery. Those are very different and it’s been, we have all seen. A lot of issues with some of those patients, you know, and at the end of the day, it’s again, it’s always, it’s always about the money.
And so there it’s low cut-rate plastic surgery where people go off, but they, they tend not to see their physician. There’s very minimal follow-up. They then, they, they still spend are spending not insignificant amounts of money to go do this, but then they’re coming back. And then what happens when they have a problem?
There’s nobody there that has clue what they had done. It, there may be thousands of miles away from where they have the surgery. And it creates a really bad situation. Even quite dangerous situations for some types, so we’ve, we’ve seen patients here in Dallas, they have been elsewhere and had surgeries and I think there are places, I know all over the place.
And there’s a lot of my colleagues in California. I’ve seen patients who’ve been, been in places like that. So, I think everybody around the world, even because this is not unique, just the United States, it’s a, it’s a global issue. My friends in Australia see patients all the time that are going to some of the things, different kinds of medical tourism, things that are offered in other areas of, of other countries and then coming back to Australia.
So, it’s a problem. I think patient, the message to patients is that sometimes, you know, you just got to take a step back, and a deep breath, and really look at something and really think about like, You know, this is these are, these are even though surgery might seem like, oh, it’s going to be easy.
Recovery might be this, but they’re, they’re big surgeries and they’re, they’re can be big complications. And do you want to, you know, do you want to go somewhere where you really don’t know the doctor and you may not meet them? We’re there for our, our patients and our patients appreciate that you know, and, and it’s, it’s and you just don’t get that when you’re, when you’re going elsewhere and doing this kind of these cut-rate trips and it creates dangerous situations and a lot, a lot of the cases.
Catherine Maley: Yeah. I, I, I can’t imagine doing that. I actually, I’ve been to Australia. It takes a whole day to be on a plane to get to Australia. I cannot imagine having had surgery. And traveling. That sounds brutal to me anyway, on a more personal note. So now you’re the President of The Aesthetic Society.
You’re also a husband, a father of how many kids, two?
William Adams: Two children. Yeah.
Catherine Maley: Okay. And you like to exercise, what, what are you going to have to give up this year? Oh. And do you still run a practice while you’re President?
William Adams: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, you know, I’ve actually been again, my, my kind of love and when I’ve really focused on through my 20 plus years of doing things in The Aesthetic Society and our foundation, The Aesthetic Surgery Research Foundation has been education. So, you know, I, I actually believe it or not. Every year until COVID for the past, probably 12 years I’ve been usually out of town at least three months a year.
Typically, then education. So, I’m used to kinda being busy and, and figuring out how to continue to have a thriving practice. So yes, I will continue to practice the, you know, this I’m going to be similarly busy in the society doing slightly different things as President than I was necessarily the past few years, which is really putting on all of our symposium meetings.
So now I’ve got some great people to now come up behind me. Now they’re going to take care of that. So, I’ve got some other concerns as The Aesthetics Society President. But yeah, I mean, you have to have balance for my family, you know. I’m still, you know, I’m program, program director for Aesthetic Fellowship at UT Southwestern.
And I’m still a part-time associate professor at UT Southwestern. I started my career full-time. And one of the reasons that I went part-time was really because I was starting to have a family and I wanted to make sure I could control my time and destiny a little bit better. So, a lot of, a lot of my time, even on my travel has been like, for example, going on hockey trips with my son with him, cause he’s big into hockey and spending times with the family.
So, you have to have that balance. And, and fortunately, you know, we have a great society and it’s, it’s, it’s what we do can be demanding when you’re in leadership, but it’s also the society is I think very in tune that you’ve got to have a balance. And so, I think most people are able to continue, you know, with obviously their obligations as fathers and mothers and certainly their practice.
Now, if you talk to my office manager, she might give you a different story, but yeah, it’s a, it’s a balance. And, and so it’s a delicate balance sometimes, but it can be done and it’s always fulfilling.
Catherine Maley: Good for you. I don’t think you’re getting much sleep this year though. I can’t imagine because wow. Kudos to you. And it, I’m sure it’ll be a fantastic year. I just, I congratulate you. I’ll be watching of course. And it’s just a pleasure to talk to you and thank you so much for taking the time.
William Adams: Thank you. Catherine it’s been really, really great. And thanks for all you do and hope to see you again soon.
Catherine Maley: Oh, I’m going to get back out there again. I’ve got to, I’ve got to start traveling again. I’m really feeling cooped up. Okay. Everyone. That’s it for this week’s Beauty and the Biz. And if you wouldn’t mind heading over to iTunes and subscribing to Beauty and the Biz and giving us a good review, that would be much appreciated.
And if you’ve got any questions or feedback for Dr. Adams, is there any, is there way for them to get ahold of you while you’re during your free time?
William Adams: Sure, absolutely. Yes, they can actually contact me if they, I’m easily found you can contact right through my website. Or they can certainly contact me through The Aesthetic Society.
The same thing, through the Aesthetic Society website, which we have a brand-new website, it’s going to be live, in about a month. I think so. So yeah, either of those routes and I’d be happy to answer any further questions.
Catherine Maley: You were easy to find. It’s William Adams MD and he’s all over the internet. And then if you’ve got any questions for me or feedback, please give them to me on my website at CatherineMaley.com or you can certainly DM me on Instagram at Catherine Maley MBA.
Thanks so much. And we’ll talk soon.
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