Doctors: are you considering using Groupon to promote your practice? Do you think it's ethical? Why is/isn't a good thing. Will be using your answers in a blog post about this topic --- mellieb (blogger at RealSelf)
Groupon Smart Lipo Deal
Doctor Answers (11)
Groupon Smart Lipo Deal is a Faustian "Deal"
Regarding: "Groupon Smart Lipo Deal Doctors: are you considering using Groupon to promote your practice? Do you think it's ethical? Why is/isn't a good thing. Will be using your answers in a blog post about this topic --- mellieb"
The economy is down. Stresses are high. The world around us is smaller and more dangerous than ever. Uncertainty rules and is frightening. These are the times when every Plastic surgeon should take a deep breath and remember WHO they are and WHAT they should stand for. There is something to be said about maintaining your integrity and not allowing yourself to be pulled by the currents of declining standards of morality and decency.
I personally think that sending discount coupons for Plastic Surgery (regardless if it be in the Sunday newspaper, Welcome wagon baskets, junk mail or this new invention of the Internet Groupon and its copiers) by any of my colleagues and the legions of wannabe "Plastic surgeons", greatly cheapens me, my work and our entire profession.
Shakespeare's Iago in OTHELLO put it best:
Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.
Heavily discounting one's professional skills and doing so with coupons, needlessly commoditizes an elite profession and reduces us to the ranks of hawkers and yellers at a country market trying to "outdo" one another by ever lower prices, more outrageous claims and ever glitzier ads which long traversed the bounds of good taste and are often expanding the depth of what becomes acceptable or tolerable. Such "deals" are Faustian in nature. They NEVER enrich the weak doctors who do so but impoverish all of us by permanently destroying our standing and image in society.
If others succumb to their darker drives and decide to offer:
" Two Boobs for the Price of One"
"Drive Through Laser Lipo"
"Lunch Time Nose Jobs - You can Eat while we Shave your Nose" etc
I can only take a deep breath and say a collective prayer for all of us.
Dr. Peter Aldea
As Dr. Aldea eloquently put it, this kind of advertising is inappropriate and scandalous and devalues the importance of the relationship between a patient and a properly trained and ethical plastic surgeon. The implication is that you can have whatever you want regardless of your body's condition, from whomever you want regardless of their training or lack of training, for the lowest price possible.
What a quintessential commentary on our society! The smart patient will see right through this, but in a time when shows like Jersey Shores and Brideplasty reign supreme with zero inherent value, I am concerned about how many will fall prey to this kind of advertisement.
Groupon for surgery
While I only wish that I could have invested in the company from the beginning, I think that buying a discounted meal at a new restaurant, or getting a deal at say Best Buy is fine, but selling Medical services via Groupon reminds me of the guy who used to do the ads for "Crazy Eddies" who use to say very loudly "Our Prices are Insane!" I'm just not into that, and I think that it cheapens what we do.
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If you don't care what your results look like then Groupon Smart lipo deals are for you!
It is just absurd to see these lipo chains advertising groupon deals. The one on one doc/patient relationship is so important and is the basis of trust etc... We all advertise but there are ethical limits that we need to uphold ourselves.
Liposuction is a serious surgery and not to be done because a coupon is available
Deciding to have liposuction, a serious surgery, needs to involve a physician examining you and deciding if you are a surgical candidate and for you to decide if that surgeon is one that meets your criteria in physician selection. Having a coupon may create subconscious pressures to agree on having a procedure or to have it done by a particular physician which without this enticement you might decide differently.
Concerns about Groupon
Discounts in healthcare and medicine are not in themselves unethical (remember the HMO business models that promised more patients in return for lower physician payments?). However, if one person's discount for a procedure is based on another person undergoing a procedure also, then there may be inappropriate pressure or influence to have a procedure performed. Any large scale discounting structure needs to make sure it is independent for each patient and not affected by what others do.
While the "large scale discount - make it up on volume" business model works in some retail and service sectors, and may help jump-start a new plastic surgery practice or raise awareness of a physicians services, it is hard to sustain long-term without cutting back on quality and service or risking burnout.
SmartLipo via Groupon is a Dumb Idea, and Violates Board of Plastic Surgery Code of Ethics
Dumb idea. Unethical from the standpoint of "Selling" an invasive surgical procedure before having performed a physician's due diligence -- an in-person consultation.
Hope this helps,
Nick Slenkovich MD, FACS
Group discounts "groupon" for plastic surgery
As good as a deal as it may sound, it undermines the importance of a good doctor-patient relationship and suggests it can be replaced by a bulk volume sale. This "discounts" the value of establishing communication between the doctor and patient and creates the impression that the deal is of greater significance in the decision making process. How do you give a coupon to one patient that is 5"6 inches and weighs 135 lbs with a small amount of fat on the outer thighs and imply they will get the same result as a 5'2" individual weighing 200 lbs? If this patient has their hopes elevated by purchasing the groupon, how does the physcian gently tell the latter example that they are a bad candidate? Will they get a refund for the purchase of the coupon?
Groupon for cosmetic surgery
The idea of discounts is not foreign in cosmetic surgery and is not considered unethical. However the problem with coupons that are purchased prior to use is that it is a promise, or at least an implied promise, that the coupon has value because the service or goods have been pre-purchased. This is not appropriate for cosmetic surgery since you must have a formal consultation and examination prior to determining if you are even a candidate for surgery. Cosmetic surgery is not an on-demand service.
If you needed open heart surgery, or neurosurgery - would you be looking for the lowest bidder? No, you would be looking for the best, most qualified surgeon and the best hospital around.
Plastic surgery, including liposuction, is no different.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.