WHY A TREATMENT COORDINATOR
The role of a Treatment Coordinator is a job description that is having a significant impact throughout North American dental practices. Practices that have a dedicated Treatment Coordinator are experiencing a 15-20% increase in case acceptance.
The role of a Treatment Coordinator is significant in showing value to the patient in the administrative area as another private check out choice in a private environment with the patient to translate the clinical terms they didn’t understand into lay terms. Connect the treatment plan to their life, then review the benefits and consequences and drive patient acceptance of financial arrangements and scheduling.
Today’s patient is much more sophisticated about how much they know about dentistry and how they make decisions about their dental health. The number one reason patients say NO to dentistry is the lack of perceived value. They don’t see the need because they don’t’ own the problem or they don’t see the need as all is ok for now or they are unaware of prevention as opposed to repair.
85% of acceptance is based on an emotional decision of their experience with us and how we make them feel. Fifteen% of acceptance comes from trust in our technical and logical ability to deliver their procedure.
The traditionalist patients (born before 1945) are the only ones who actually believe the dentist and accept their clinical recommendations without question. Patients born AFTER 1946 look to the dental team for validation, want to know what is in it for them, how the plan connects to their goals.
They often want proof, 2nd opinions and to maximize their insurance benefits and often have questions about cost and scheduling that can be complex. The patient often says yes to the clinical team and when exited to the front desk, change their mind or ask for a pre-determination. This is letting treatment acceptance walk out the door via a 3-5 minute exit when they could have been escorted to a consult room with a Treatment Coordinator who has the dedicated time to discuss, answer and overcome objections to the treatment and make arrangements for the treatment to be affordable.
Role of a Treatment Coordinator
Choosing the right person to be your Treatment Coordinator role is the key to your success. The core characteristics of a successful Treatment Coordinator are confidence in themselves, strong relationship and communication skills, optimistic attitude and a genuine curiosity for people. They have a high level of emotional intelligence and empathy, as opposed to sympathy, and are motivated by a challenge to solve problems and discuss money along with creative ways to help patients fit dentistry into their lives.
New Patient Experience
They are the first point of contact for the new patient experience and often the initial telephone contact with a new patient. The call can take anywhere from 12-15 minutes. This is very difficult to slip into a busy daily operation for the business office of our dental practice. They handle (inaudible) from the very beginning in connecting with the new patient through the new patient welcome package, making sure that the person will show up and arrive to their first visit, to being ready for the patient upon their arrival, possibly giving them a tour of the practice, sitting down and getting in touch with what the patient’s dental needs are, what their goals for their teeth, mouth, and their smiles are and then they transfer those patients to the clinical assessment.
Financial Arrangements on the Fly—Emergency and Hygiene Patients
They are an alternate exit choice for patients of record coming from their hygiene visit who have outstanding dentistry previously diagnosed or newly diagnosed dentistry over $1000 that require a more in-depth look at affordability.
Although pre-determinations are NOT a form of acceptance, they are something that may have to be sent when the patient is serious about the dental plan and must know what benefits will contribute.
Outstanding dentistry follow-up
Follow through calls, emails etc. to patients once pre-determination is returned or who had to check other sources before acceptance
When a patient is invited back for a separate consultation, the treatment coordinator prepares the plan, letters, documents, visuals and room set up for patients and their family members who may attend.
Tracking Case acceptance success
They track diagnosed and planned treatment on new patients and patients of record that they were part of presenting and track the acceptance percentage of each case with a monthly report summary for the team meeting.