What is a Medical Director?

How to decide if your business needs one


Last month, we discovered that compliance is key when running a Medical Spa (MedSpa). Now, we will take it a step further, outlining the role of a Medical Director and helping you assess if your business needs one, whether you own or work for a MedSpa or are an individual providing aesthetic medical services.

It is crucial to understand the medical landscape surrounding spa treatments

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To recap, what is a MedSpa? A MedSpa is a combination of an aesthetic medical clinic and a day spa that provides non-surgical aesthetic medical services under the supervision of a licensed physician. MedSpa business is booming, and here are some nationwide figures that show just how much of a growth industry this is:

• 4,200 MedSpas to date

• $3.97 billion industry

• $945,000 average MedSpa revenue

• Top three revenue-generating treatments: botulinum toxin injections and facial fillers, microneedling, dermaplane and peels, and laser hair removal

• Top three states with the most MedSpas: Texas, California, and Florida

Next, we answer the question, what is a Medical Director? A Medical Director is a physician who provides oversight of medical treatments provided under the authority of their medical license to ensure patients are treated to the standard of care required. In some states, this oversight is typically in an administrative capacity and can be provided off-site.

It is important to note that regulation of MedSpas and aesthetic medical services can vary significantly from state to state. First, you must familiarize yourself with any laws that are created and maintained by your state’s governing authority. Understanding the medical landscape surrounding these treatments helps ensure that all medical procedures or processes are done in accordance with existing medical regulations.

The following common treatments fall into the category of medical aesthetics, and typically require some degree of oversight:

• Laser/energy based skin and hair removal procedures

• IPL and ultrasonic devices

• Heating/cryoliolysis devices

  and electrical stimulation

• Microneedling

  (in most states at any depth)

• PRP and PRF treatments

• Injection of soft tissue fillers,

• PDO threads and neuromodulators

• Intravenous (IV) therapy

• IM (intramuscular) injection therapy

• Dermabrasion and chemical peels

   (beneath stratum corneum)

• Dermaplane

Individual state regulations determine whether a physician may delegate treatments to non-licensed professionals, such as advanced practice practitioners (NP, APRN, CRNA, PA), licensed medical professionals (RN, LVN/LPN, MA, CNAS) or non-licensed professionals.

Another crucial area of regulation is aesthetic medical equipment. This is governed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which sets guidelines for what makes a product safe for use. We encourage all providers to understand the ins and outs of FDA-cleared products, and the importance of using FDA-approved equipment. Thankfully, there is an easy way to do this! Visit the FDA website for a searchable database to look up equipment before you invest.

Depending on your state, aesthetic compliance may include OSHA and HIPPA compliance and training, practice of medicine, Medical Director compensation, consents, protocol and standing orders, good faith exams and standard of care, medical records and their ownership, telemedicine, contracts and collaborating physician agreements, and licensure and continuing education.

So…do you need a Medical Director? If you are providing cosmetic treatments regulated by your state’s medical board, the short answer is YES! However, the best first step you can take is learning about your state’s current aesthetic medical regulations.