Reverse Medical Tourism

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by Adam J. Scheiner, M.D. I have a practice in Laser Eyelid and Facial Plastic Surgery and have been practicing successfully for many years. In 2011, after my appearance on the Doctor Oz show, my practice changed in a substantial way. As a result of my appearance on that show and the demonstration of a procedure to help a difficult condition to treat called eyelid festoons, many patients began contacting us from around the world. Festoons and Malar mounds are a term to describe skin folds and swollen mounds that form on the cheek. Lower eyelid bags usually accompany them. Both lower lid bags and festoons can make a person appear tired, sick, old and sometime drunk even when those people feel fine inside. Many people have surgery to help lower eyelid bags but when they are accompanied by festoons, and malar mounds and those festoons and malar mounds aren’t treated at the same time, the result after surgery can even look worse. This is because once lower eyelid fullness is removed above the festoons, this problematic area is highlighted and becomes more obvious. There hasn’t been a great treatment for festoons until my procedure. As a result, many people travel to see me for help with their lower eyelid rejuvenation concerns. Once the large number of calls and emails began to come in, I initially didn’t have the resources to deal with them. This required hiring new staff and setting up infrastructure to manage this large increase in new patient contacts. I used technology to help with this and setup a HIPPA-compliant medical form on my website where patients could upload information that would allow me to determine if they were likely a good candidate for my procedure. My new staff would then contact the patient and arrange the medical release, understanding of the procedure, and financial arrangements. I was fortunate that local hotels and businesses became partners in making the visit of my patients more enjoyable. Certain hotels started competing with one another to attract my patients to their hotels. One started offering transportation to my patients for airport transfers and for every visit to my office. The other hotel then hired a cab service to provide the same. The first hotel was offering breakfast and hors d’oeuvres four nights a week. The second hotel then matched this, as well. Patients were often leaving gifts for future patients. One patient purchased a lounge chair and then signed the back of it and left it for future patients of mine. Others continued signing the back and leaving notes of encouragement and love for future patients. I enjoyed seeing the sense of sisterhood and brotherhood my patients had for one another. In 2012, I was featured on the Doctors TV show for my treatment of eyelid bags and eyelid festoons. At this point, my infrastructure was in place and I was able to easily handle the volume of people contacting us after the airing of that show. Today, 80 percent of my practice is from people travelling in to see us from many parts of this and other countries. Recently, I’ve become aware that I’m a small engine for my community in Tampa because those traveling here stay in local hotels, eat at restaurants and enjoy the entertainment options available in the Tampa Bay area. I love what I do to help my patients restore, reveal and reclaim their natural beauty, and I feel thankful that I’m able to be a resource for people from around the world.

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