Author Archives: April Linden

A 5-Star Pre-Op Experience is a Booklet Away

Remember the days before navigation systems and Google maps? The best way to plan a vacation included a stop at AAA to get your TripTik. It gave you a detailed door-to-door map of what to expect on your journey.TripTik

With your TripTik, you were ready to go. You had a plan; including important details like locations of rest stops, restaurants and gas stations along the way. Travel stress was virtually reduced because you depended on this important tool to guide your trip. Your TripTik enhanced your vacation experience.

Providing a surgical TripTik

A well-executed pre-op booklet provides the same comfort to your patients. It enables them to look at their surgical journey by smaller segments or to preview the entire trip. It decreases the chances of getting lost or being unnecessarily anxious.

If you think about it, the cosmetic surgery experience has a lot of similarities to the vacation journey. The written documentation is a reference guide for the surgery journey.

Many patients are undergoing surgery for the first time and are nervous and apprehensive. They are unclear about medications, preparations and what to expect post-operatively.

Despite the amount of information available online, patients regard the practice as the expert. They expect the practice to be proactive and anticipate their needs. Personalized pre-op materials provide the patient with the same peace of mind as the TripTik. Pre-op booklets enhance the patients surgical journey.quinn-pre-op-materials

Ensuring peace of mind

Well-informed patients are happier patients. Careful preparation can minimize anxiety and improve compliance. Patients are better prepared for surgery and more importantly, are calmer and less needy during recovery. Pre-operative preparation is vital to patient safety and a key nursing role.

Beginning with the end in mind

Based on RealPatientRatings data from over 88,000 patient responses, a customized pre-op booklet increases patient loyalty by 72%. Pre-op booklets are both a care strategy and a practice growth tactic.


Going back to the basics

Pre-op materials should be well organized and easy for patients to access. The form in which they are delivered impacts the usefulness to patients. Like a TripTik, we believe the materials should be bound and follow the sequence of the surgical journey.

The materials should include:

  • Pre-op preparation
  • Medications to avoid
  • Post-op instructions
  • Detailed recovery information
  • Contact information for key staff members

Make sure all information is current and up-to-date. If there are multiple procedures, either remove any conflicting information or highlight the directions you want the patient to follow.

Sending in advance

We have found patients are more satisfied when they receive the materials prior to their pre-op visit. Encourage patients to write questions throughout the booklet so that their specific questions can be answered at the pre-op visit. The goal is to reduce anxiety and have patients approach surgery with greater peace of mind. As an added bonus, well-informed patients call the practice less frequently after surgery and their questions in post op visits are reduced.

Practices who utilize thorough, personalized materials consistently exceed their patients’ expectations. They receive more 5-star reviews like this and fewer post-op calls.


Take the time to review your materials and ask yourself, are these materials worthy of a 5-star review?

Looking for a way to improve your practice? Make the pre-op experience a priority in 2016. Increase likelihood to return by providing better information to patients during their surgical journey.

This article is part two of a three-part series based on an award-winning poster presentation delivered by April Linden at the American Society of Plastic Surgery Nurses (ASPRN) Meeting in Boston, on October 18, 2015. 

Keep Calm and Show Photos

Everyone loves a good before and after photo, from kitchens, to cars to plastic surgery. It’s really fun to see the transformation.

before after

Many practices overlook the impact these photos have on the consultation experience. Photos play a starring role in your marketing and sales management processes; our data shows a 26% increase in same day scheduling rates when they patients find the before and after pictures useful.

But patients take notice when photos are missing, as evidenced by this recent review: review-1

Does this office use before and after photos during consults? Yes.
Were they available to the patient? Yes.
Was there something different about this particular consult day? Perhaps.
Was there a change in staff involvement in the consultation? Possibly.

In this case, a 4 star review provides a clear opportunity to increase treatment or surgical volume. RealPatientRatings survey data helped the practice gain insight to the areas of greatest opportunity to improve patient satisfaction, and with it the corresponding increases in conversions and revenue.

It’s a challenge to provide a consistent consult experience, but you can save the show regardless of the players involved by using a standardized process that produce more consistent results. Surveys and reviews provide practices with the opportunity to validate your service delivery model and ensure you are focusing on what’s most important to your patients.

Patients have been very vocal related to the usefulness of before and after photography in their decision-making process. Our results from surveying more than 80,000 patients shows a 26% increase in same day conversion rates when patients find the before and after pictures useful.

same day conversion

Managing the process delivers predictable results

Before and after pictures should be shown to patients so that they can visualize their potential results. When before & after photos are thoughtfully presented during consult, you help your prospective patient by personalizing the experience and differentiating your practice.

Ideally, at the end of the consult, your use of photos helps patients validate their personal goals and move more confidently toward a buying decision


Best practice standards for before and after photography are as follows:

  • Have a large variety of results
  • Tell a story with each example, make sure the pictures are labeled
  • Organize your photography by procedure and within the procedure by size, gender
  • Continually update your photography
  • Considering using technology such as 2D or 3D options
  • More is more, there is no such thing as too many before & after photos

Every practice has a process that they think is being implemented on a daily basis. The value of feedback and reviews is that you can quickly determine if your process is being executed and more importantly, how effective that process is in the eyes of your patients.

Implementing a 5-Star Patient Education Process to Drive Retention

Part 1: The Coordinated Pre-Op Visit

love-nurseImplementing a patient-centric, high touch pre-op visit can result in a 53% increase in patient satisfaction and a 37% increase in patient’s likelihood to return.

For plastic surgery patients, nursing plays an integral role in the delivery of care and has a direct link to patient satisfaction, which is the ultimate measurement of a successful outcome. Effective communication protocols improve outcomes and expedite the recuperation process.

Implementing a thoughtful and consistent patient friendly peri-operative education component and communication process increases satisfaction and dramatically decreases post-op calls. This plan consists of a coordinated pre-op visit, personalized pre-op materials and a proactive post-operative communication strategy.

More often than not, patients are confused about the surgery process, their specific procedure and have important questions to resolve. Nurses must display empathy and patience regarding their mental state.

To further complicate matters, the human brain forgets 90% of what is learned within 1 week. When we consider that patients will only remember about 10% of the information provided to them, it is clear that the pre-op visit must be a carefully planned process and include effective supporting

The best practice standard is to schedule a 1-hour pre-operative visit 2 weeks prior to surgery.

1. Prepare: Send the patient the personalized education materials in advance with a note encouraging them to review prior to their appointment and place sticky notes on any sections that are unclear.

2. Educate: At the visit, the nurse should review the relevant informed consent materials, and pre and post-op preparation instructions.  In this teaching role, the nurse educates and prepares the patient for the pending surgery process which sets the stage for a successful post-op recuperation and healing process.

3. Review: Next, the patient should be given the opportunity to address all of the items that they have flagged for review.

4. Confirm: As a last step, the nurse should inquire with the patient, “Did this visit cover all of the information that you anticipate needing as you prepare for and recover from surgery? Are there any remaining additional questions or concerns?” The nursing staff must confirm they have met the patient’s needs before they conclude the pre-operative

With proper pre-planning, the visit will be much smoother and meet the patient’s need for information.

This article is part one of a three part series based on a poster presentation delivered at the American Society of Plastic Surgery Nurses (ASPRN) Meeting in Boston, on October 18, 2015.


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Increase number of touches to increase conversions

“We want more, we want more!”

Just like the cute AT&T commercial says, “It’s not complicated. More is better.”

In your practice, you want more as well. What is the more you want?

More web leads? More consult conversions? More data that can help you grow your practice? More raving fans who remain for future procedures? More recommendations from highly satisfied patients?

Research about the decision-making process of consumers and how many touches are required before they purchase a service shows that most consumers require 8-10 interactions before they make a decision.


But the average salesperson gives up after just 1-2 touches. Think about how to add “touches” to your process that will increase conversions at consult and recommendations post-operatively.

We want to help you get the more you want.

The key is providing 5-star service and generating patient reviews that increase patient trust and conversions to surgical dollars.

When more of your patients complete surveys, you’ll have more insight into growth opportunities and more content that increases leads from your website.

relationship marketing