Medical aesthetic devices are expensive, so it’s important that practitioners know how to get the most out of their equipment and protect their investment. This means making sure that it is sourced from a reputable supplier, maintained according to the manufacturer’s guidelines and only operated by people who have received the appropriate training. By following these principles, aesthetic practitioners can be sure they are not only getting the best return on their investment and maintaining their competitive advantage by achieving the best clinical results they can for their patients, but also that they are not at risk of invalidating their insurance policy, or worse, causing injury to a patient.
Here, we offer our tips and share advice from some of the experts in medical aesthetic devices to help you make the most out of your equipment and make sure you don’t inadvertently break the terms of your insurance policy.
Mark Copsey, Associate Director at Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance, emphasises the need for practitioners to understand that upkeep of their equipment is their responsibility and offers his advice on what practitioners should look for when investing in equipment:
“It is important to ensure that all equipment used for carrying out aesthetic procedures is fit for purpose and at Hamilton Fraser we would be unable to cover any practitioner that performed procedures using equipment that hadn’t been maintained for safe use. Hamilton Fraser have long supported the position that you should look at quality, substance and a high level of after-sales support services including ongoing training and maintenance, alongside price rather than just price alone when investing in equipment for your aesthetics business.”
Practitioners risk being in breach of their policy if they don’t comply with the ‘use of instruments’ obligations outlined in their cosmetic insurance policy, and would not be covered should an injury occur, or even if it were proven that the equipment being used wasn’t maintained for safe use.
It’s very important to make sure that you are sourcing your medical aesthetic equipment from a reputable supplier, who should work in partnership with you to provide ongoing training and make sure that you are delivering safe and effective treatments.
Following lockdown, practitioners were advised to carry out equipment checks when returning to practice after lockdown – for example, making sure that your laser or IPL has been serviced within the last 12 months – and this advice remains the same. Regular servicing is vital to increase the longevity of your machine and to ensure the output is consistent, reducing the chances of overtreating or undertreating your clients.
“Regular servicing also ensures a constant and calibrated output, enabling you to deliver safe and effective treatments for your clients, and retain valid insurance cover. How often your system needs servicing will vary depending on the type of laser or light device. IPL systems, on the whole, have fewer delicate optical components and generally just require one service visit per year, but most laser systems require two – three services. Some very high precision lasers such as those used for corrective eye surgery are serviced every two months.” – Jon Exley, Managing Director at Lynton Lasers
It’s also important that you take responsibility for doing all you can to maintain your investment on a day-to-day basis.
Jon Exley adds, “The best thing anyone can do to help maintain their own equipment is read the manual! It’s amazing how few people take the time and effort to do this but product manuals should contain instructions for basic day-to-day cleaning and care for your system.”
Of course, even with regular maintenance, devices do eventually reach the point where they need replacing. We spoke to a senior manager in the aesthetic device sector who explains:
“It is important to realise that equipment often has a “usable lifetime” that may be related to availability of quality-controlled spare parts, (often custom) components, and when these are no longer available, systems may become officially obsolete. In reality obsolescence of equipment translates as a manufacturer no longer being able to support such systems and, therefore, will no longer be in a position to ensure such equipment performs within its regulatory-approved specifications.”
It’s up to practitioners to make sure that they discontinue use of any equipment that can no longer be maintained as any potential insurance claim wouldn’t be covered.
Ongoing training and support are vital to both maximizing return on your investment and making sure that you are putting patient safety first. Many practitioners do not use their devices to their full capacity, either through a lack of training or low confidence, and this could mean they are not getting the most out of their investment or meeting patient expectations as effectively as they could be.
“Administering a safe and effective treatment is a combination of the equipment quality and a competent practitioner. Training and qualifications play a vital role in this relationship and it’s important to understand that not all training courses are equivalent,” explains Jon Exley. “We estimate that we have trained in excess of 7,000 laser/IPL operators in the UK from a wide variety of backgrounds. Most training we conduct is product/treatment specific but unlike other equipment providers, at Lynton we also offer accredited qualifications and training courses approved by the University of Manchester. Many people understand that it’s important to select a quality supplier for an expensive Laser or IPL but the same can’t be said for training courses. In the same way, we recommend that people research their training providers to ensure they are receiving high quality training.”
Our aesthetic device industry expert also highlights the importance of continued training and support:
“A “gold standard” with all medical and surgical procedures is that the provider ensures the highest level of training is maintained in order to not only demonstrate proficiency but also to minimize potential complications and enhance patient safety. In addition, it should be imperative that all equipment is technically maintained and supported by the original manufacturer or a formally “manufacturer-accredited” service provider. As a supplier we take ownership of ensuring our systems are professionally supported throughout their product life cycle by offering post-warranty service contracts as well as our own direct technical support resources. We also, of course, offer basic to advanced procedural training provided by expert physicians in order to establish and maintain the highest possible quality of care.”
Whether you plan to use your device for hair or tattoo removal, vascular treatment, body contouring or a combination of procedures, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the most out of your medical aesthetic equipment and taking responsibility for making sure it’s fit for purpose. That means understanding that you’re not just buying a piece of equipment for the short term but should be considering your long term needs for aftercare and ongoing training and support. Your medical aesthetic equipment investment is likely to be one of the highest you’ll ever make, so it’s important that it helps you achieve a competitive advantage by enabling you to provide safe and effective treatments over the long term as you grow your business.