Investment or Liability
Nobody denies that aesthetic medical lasers are expensive. Device manufacturers and researchers spend millions of dollars and thousands of man-hours developing safe, effective treatments for the aesthetic practitioner, and they must recoup that cost.
But for the physician, there is also a risk. A laser platform may become a costly investment if it doesn’t work well, the manufacturer doesn’t support it adequately (or continue to develop it), or the therapy itself doesn’t deliver on its promises. The rapid advance of technology in the field, which seems ever increasing, may make a device obsolete before the user has recouped their cost to obtain, train on, and then successfully use it. If the therapy turns out to be less than advertised, the device’s value will probably drop as rapidly as the buyer’s spirits.
Unfortunately the aesthetic medicine industry, like so many others, is replete with individuals (and perhaps companies as well) who value the dollar above the ideals that drive true aesthetic practitioners. Many don’t even understand that they are part of the problem. Everyone makes mistakes, and there are always patients who cannot be satisfied, but to toss aside ethics for profit is unforgivable. Given the recent economic downturn and its lingering impact on aesthetic medicine, few can truly afford to play those games, and the weak ones are (hopefully) weeded out quickly.
Buying used may seem cost-effective for a number of reasons, but in the end may not be. Either way, the decision to purchase a device, new or used (and if used, then from whom?), must be carefully considered. Factors such as your expected return on investment (ROI), the need for disposables and other hidden costs, your understanding of the therapy and trust in the science behind it, and your belief in the manufacturer’s reliability are much more important than the cost to buy or lease the laser itself. In fact, the very same decision making process applies whether you’re looking to buy new or used, although there are a few different factors to consider with each.
Who is responsible for this? You!
You are responsible for the safe treatment of your patients. You are responsible for the smooth operation of your practice. You are responsible for the profitability of your business. And the consequences for ignoring these truths can be very, very high for you and others as well—namely, the people you treat.