It has been said that politics is show business for people whose looks aren’t sufficiently attractive for show business. Our country capital—as the center of political activity in the United States—fairly brims with such individuals. Or, at least it once did, until George John Bitar, MD, arrived on the scene.
Technically, the nation’s capital harbors as many politicians as ever. But since Bitar opened his private practice 3 years ago (and a second one soon thereafter nearby), more and more government careerists with faces and bodies adequate for the halls of federal power have been transformed into people with visages and physiques perfect for the studio sound stages.
It’s understandable, then, that Dr. Bitar—who received part of his aesthetic plastic surgery training in B.H.—has zoomed in popularity among Washingtonians. But top-notch skills with scalpels and sutures provide only a partial explanation for why Bitar is so in demand. To some extent, it’s because he makes his patients feel supremely well-treated from beginning to end.
His offices, for example, are endowed with a welcoming, family-like atmosphere—literally, because the first person a visitor encounters in the flagship location is Bitar’s own mother, the official greeter. Then, during the initial consultation, Bitar takes time to introduce prospective patients to his employees. He also likes these newcomers to say hello to current patients who are in the office for follow-up or for planning additional surgeries. (Such encounters occur only after he obtains permission from both the new and returning patient.)
“I encourage this dialog among patients, because hearing about surgery and the things that come afterward from someone who has already been through an operation gives the new patient greater confidence to have the contemplated procedure,” Bitar explains.
In the interest of developing deeper bonds of trust (and of promoting an optimal surgical result), Bitar makes a point of seeing patients at least twice before the day of the operation.
“I feel it’s important to have the patient become as comfortable and knowledgeable with the procedure as possible,” he says. “The more comfortable the patient is, the greater his or her satisfaction with the entire experience will be.”
Bitar sets the stage for patient satisfaction in other ways as well. One of them is by keeping his office open weekday evenings and three Saturdays per month. This allows him to accommodate prospective patients who want to schedule a consultation but cannot manage the time off from work during regular Monday-through-Friday business hours.
“We go above and beyond patient expectations,” he says. “And we do that because, again, patient satisfaction is so essential. Our goal is to make sure every patient is a happy one.”
Toward that end, Bitar places a great deal of stock in exceptionally good follow-up. He arranges for flowers to be delivered and waiting when the patients arrive home, then he phones the patients within hours after they are discharged from the recovery room to make sure that they are doing well. He also sees those same patients in his office within 24 hours afterward, and again multiple times until healing is complete and satisfaction is achieved.