Do you need a treatment coordinator?

What if you could build employee morale, ensure better patient service and increase production and profitability by making one change in your practice’s structure?

Sound too good to be true? It’s not.

Welcome to the world of the treatment coordinator. This position enhances nearly every aspect of your practice. Treatment coordinators offer benefits that are tangible and reliable, when the proper fit is achieved between responsibilities and practice needs. The duties of this position vary from practice to practice,but a treatment coordinator’s main responsibilities are to educate patients,and to actively participate in treatment planning and presentation and follow-up care. Treatment coordinators also ensure a smooth flow between scheduling and delivery of patient services, and promote patient participation in dental care, which results in increased case acceptance. A good treatment coordinator also provides valuable information about your practice, allowing you to take the pulse in key areas, including case inventory and the real reasons patients are delaying recommended treatment.

Do you need a treatment coordinator?

Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether you may benefit from adding a treatment coordinator to your practice.

DO I HAVE OFFICE TECHNOLOGY THAT IS UNUSED, OR NOT BEING UTILIZED TO ITS FULL POTENTIAL? From using intraoral cameras to harnessing the power of computer software and multimedia patient education programs,a treatment coordinator can develop important skills and help optimize practice efficiency and organization.

AM I TOO OVERWHELMED TO ADEQUATELY FOLLOW-UP ON OUTSTANDING DENTISTRY? A treatment coordinator will keep in touch with patients, and will provide reminders,as well as encouragement, to pursue recommended dentistry. Overall, you will improve your case acceptance ratio.

DO I HAVE DENTAL ASSISTANTS WHO ARE BRIGHT, TALENTED AND WANT MORE? A treatment coordinator position affords an opportunity for talented members of your team to grow personally and professionally. If you have staff members who demonstrate leadership, and a caring,professional demeanor with patients, as well as strong organizational skills, and a desire to excel, you may have a good fit for the role of treatment coordinator. Help develop their interpersonal and communication skills, as well as their diagnostic case presentation skills.

AM I PERFORMING TASKS THAT COULD BE ASSIGNED TO EMPLOYEES? Delegating responsibilities for patient follow-up and patient education to a treatment coordinator can free up valuable time.

IS MY FRONT DESK STAFF BOGGED DOWN AND OVERWHELMED? A treatment coordinator can help lighten the administrative load,thereby eliminating the perceived need for another administrator.

Responsibilities of the treatment coordinator

Treatment coordinators handle traditional dental assisting duties in addition to responsibilities in several areas:

• Chart review and preparation for daily morning meetings.

• Participate in new patient appointments.

• Enter all treatment plans into the computer or manual system. • Support doctor in developing, presenting and following up with patients on proposed treatment plans.

• Educate patients by answering clinical questions, arranging financing, scheduling appointments keeping up with follow-up care and patient satisfaction.

• Provide systematic follow-up with patients who do not schedule treatment, and report back to doctor with reports and organized information on incomplete treatment.

• Handle marketing activities by mailing necessary practice material to new patients, contacting and thanking referrals, providing welcome kits and reviewing practice and patient expectations with new patients.

• Track monthly goals, and reporting figures at appropriate team meetings.

Treatment coordinators need a reasonable support system to fulfill job responsibilities. A rule of thumb is to have two assistants/treatment coordinators per dentist to meet the demands of the position. Before a treatment coordinator is hired, a system for transitioning new patients into the practice, as well as for scheduling and financing, should be in place. Of course, professional training by an experienced facilitator can help transition the team.

Adding the treatment coordinator position to your practice can reap excellent rewards for you, your staff and your patients. A treatment coordinator’s customized and personal approach to care,follow-up, and communication with patients, builds trust and increases patient satisfaction—and retention.

This post originally appeared in Dental Practice Report

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