Why are we changing our focus at two companies that have been independently successful for many years in the past?  Last autumn, during the course of a few weeks, Pharos, Steve, Dr. Palestine, Byron and Joe all were introduced to each other and as the discussions proceeded, it became obviously clear that TDC and Sona shared common values and viewpoints about the future of our industry and realized the potential power of joining forces and leveraging our complementary skills and experiences. Since then we have been thoughtfully preparing to bring the best of both of these highly respected organizations together into one unified company that generates meaningful and sustainable value to our employees and patients.

What do you mean by employee and patient centric culture?  We operate in the healthcare services industry where our employees are our greatest asset as they routinely deliver value to each other and our patients through their heads, hands and hearts.  It all starts with focusing on our employees performing meaningful work in satisfying careers. This satisfaction translates to satisfying and delighting our patients.  Our patients have several choices as to where to obtain their care and through our employees we are committed to optimizing each and every patient experience when they trust us with helping them manage the health and appearance of their skin.

Why do we need a new brand?  Our new brand represents our new unified company and the value proposition we are committed to conveying to every current and future patient. We assembled a team of eight people from TDC and Sona back in May to serve on our branding best practices task force to thoughtfully develop our new brand.  Early in this process it became clear that components of our new brand were embedded in each individual brand and combining the best of our brands was the most logical choice to create our new brand – Sona Dermatology and MedSpa. Our new brand supports our vision of routinely providing the best possible patient experience, measured by uncompromised high quality hospitality, customer service and comprehensive clinical care in each market we serve.


Are the terms patient, client, customer interchangeable?  As the healthcare industry continues to increase in complexity and rapidly change, we as consumers of healthcare services will continue to be more financially accountable for a larger portion of the care we choose to obtain. Our vision and mission statements articulate we are committed to delivering high quality hospitality, customer service and clinical care while earning the unwavering trust of every person for a lifetime. While our delivery of clinical care does relate to patients, the delivery of hospitality and customer service relates to clients and customers, so we believe the terms can be respectfully used interchangeably.

What implications does this change to comprehensive clinical model have for staff training?  As we leverage the strengths of both organizations into a comprehensive clinical model over time, staff training will remain a very important part of our culture and future. Training for everyone, no matter what position we hold clinically or non-clinically, is central to our commitment to being an employee and patient centric company.

What impacts will this have on provider responsibilities and schedules/hours?  We are fortunate to have among us a team of talented and passionate dermatologists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants; as well as nurses, medical assistants and aestheticians. As we evolve and grow we will need an increasing number of team members who serve in these important clinical roles and we are committed to provide attractive career opportunities in our comprehensive clinical model, a great environment in which to work and schedules and hours that support a reasonable work-life style balance.

Where will we find dermatologists to join us? We have developed a business development department that is co-lead by Henry Varnell and Adam Persiani.  We have engaged two recruitment firms that specialize in recruiting dermatologists throughout the United States. These two firms work closely with Henry, Adam, Dr. Palestine, Steve, Joe, Byron and senior members of our dermatologist team.  We are actively recruiting dermatologists to join us as our need arises in each of our centers.

What role will the NP/PA in current Sona locations have going forward?  Historically and currently NP/PA’s have and continue to serve in important provider roles. As we grow in the future, NP/PA’s will collaborate with our dermatologists, nurses, medical assistants and aestheticians to provide a high level of clinical care to each and every patient. Just as is the case already at TDC, NP/PAs and dermatologists in current Sona locations will act as partners in supervising the clinical practice and staff. As dermatologists bring traditional medical dermatology services to each Sona location, NP/PAs will continue to serve in an integral role, much like the role they are in today, as a leader of cosmetic dermatology services.

Who is accountable for clinical affairs?  Roberta Palestine, MD our Chief Medical Officer is leading our clinical affairs. She will work closely with our dermatologists, National Clinical Director Brenda Armstrong, NP’s, PA’s and senior management teams to ensure we never compromise the quality of clinical care delivered to our patients. Dr. Palestine will also be involved with representing us in the industry, recruiting; as well as evaluating new techniques, medical device technology and products. 


Does this mean we’ll be accepting insurance? Yes. Our Metro DC centers currently accept commercial insurance and Medicare reimbursement for our medical and surgical services. As medical and surgical services are introduced to each of our centers over time, we will be prepared to accept insurance reimbursement for medical and surgical services.

What is going to change in my day-to-day activities?  While it is difficult to clearly explain what changes are going to take place to each and every person at a particular point in time and location, we do understand change will occur as we build our infrastructure and grow into a comprehensive provider of high quality dermatological services. It is fair to say no one will be immune from change. The change will be thoughtfully implemented as we evolve as a unified company and we ask everyone to be open minded and flexible. Our priority is to be sure that you have the necessary tools and support to make your job as streamlined and efficient as possible.

As we become a unified company will we be adopting new IT systems?  Yes.  During the past six months we have been involved in an extensive and collaborative process to understand what IT systems/software solutions we as an organization will need to support our comprehensive clinical model going forward into the future. Under Joe’s leadership we have engaged a consultant and evaluated a wide variety of IT vendors that offer software solutions including: electronic health records (EHR), practice management (PM) and customer relationship management (CRM). We are close to making the final decisions on the best software solutions that will be integrated to provide us a state of the art platform to assist all of us to productively and efficiently perform our clinical and non-clinical duties. Joe and Tanner will be working closely together to prepare for the installations of these new solutions at our three current Metro DC in first quarter of 2017. Plans will be forthcoming to install these systems in all of our centers in 2017 and beyond. This entire project represents a huge financial investment that will provide us with the necessary IT infrastructure to support every one of our medical, cosmetic and surgical patients for many years into the future.


How will the Center Manager be positioned?  The Center Manager will continue to play an important pivotal role in each of our centers. Our Center Managers will ensure our centers operate efficiently and effectively each day for the benefit of our staff and patients.

How will medical treatments and cosmetic business be balanced?  Today in our Metro DC centers medical and cosmetic patients are treated equally while the overall volume is greater with medical patients.  We believe that current and new medical patients in the Metro DC market will be attractive sources of new cosmetic patients. Equally as important, we believe that current and new cosmetic patients in our other markets will be attractive sources of medical patients once the medical model is introduced to each of our centers. To supplement our growth through existing patients, our marketing investments, led by Rene Fielder, our Chief Marketing Officer, will continue to deliver a steady stream of new leads and patients.


What are our priorities for the near term?  Steve, Dr. Palestine, Byron, Joe, Kelly, Rene, Tanner and several other managers are working on several key priority projects during fourth quarter including: same store revenue/sales, marketing, training, patient experiences, branding, dermatologist and staff recruitment, IT investments, 2017 budgets, center expansions/refreshes and regulatory compliance.    



Are other changes happening in the near-term?  We have shared many new changes with you in this announcement (our senior management team, combining best practices into a unified company, our new brand and IT investments).  As we embrace continuous process improvement, we anticipate more changes to occur in both the near and long term. We will keep you informed of newsworthy changes as they occur during the remainder of this year, 2017 and beyond.

What is the timeline for transitioning to the new brand?  Our new name and brand has an ambitious vision to change the delivery of dermatological care, to be what a typical doctor's office is not, and to serve every provider and staff member so they can be productive, efficient and have fun in their daily work.  Under Rene Fielder’s leadership, we are in the process of creating a detailed plan of action and time frame to bring each of our brand deliverables (new logo and color scheme implementation, combined website with new brand, updated signage, press releases and other PR efforts, updated print materials and internal forms, marketing support, digital marketing presence) to our 21 centers and corporate offices in Charlotte and Bethesda. The rollout of our brand changes will take place over several months.


Have a question that's not answered here? Please complete the form below to ask a question. 

Name *