||Dental Practice Management Articles
What is a Treatment Coordinator?
Written by: Anita Jupp
© Copyright. ADEI. All rights reserved.
In a 'nutshell' a Treatment Coordinator is someone in the practice who is available to spend time with the patients to answer questions related to treatment and fees. Someone who is responsible to ensure that patients leave well informed, with all their questions answered about treatment options, with alternatives and fees introduced.
Do You Need A Treatment Coordinator?
If you are just doing basic maintenance/restorative dentistry, then you will not utilize a Treatment Coordinator. If you are offering patients not just the maintenance dental care they need, but also introducing more aesthetic and elective dental options, then you could benefit from introducing a Treatment Coordinator into your practice.
Most dental practices today are very busy and often the entire team feel like they need more time to talk to patients about their dental care. Many dental professionals complain that there is no time to follow up with treatment pending and/or incomplete. This of course is so important for case acceptance and patient relations. The duties of a Treatment Coordinator can vary depending on the size of the practice and what duties are delegated to other team members. I would say that 90% of the time this can be considered is a full time position.
What Does A 'Treatment Coordinator' Do
The duties would include:
- New Patient interviews/patient relations.
- Educating and discussing the dentist's treatment plan, after the dentist has diagnosed and reviewed the treatment with a patient.
- Discussing dental benefits when applicable. Sending pre-estimates and following up with patients.
- Presenting fees and giving estimates of treatment.
- Documenting financial arrangements/commitments to pay.
- Implementing financial policies.
- Educating patients about veneers, implants, crowns, bridges, Ortho, Perio and any other treatment that was diagnosed by the dentist.
- Tracking and calling patients with treatment incomplete.
- Sending follow-up letters.
- Utilizing technology in the office, e.g. digital photos, intra oral camera photos when educating patients and discussing treatment.
- Dealing with difficult patients and doing public relation calls to patients
- Monitoring treatment plans and case acceptance.
- Monitoring production and collections
These duties do of course vary with each practice. It is important that this person must be a team player, possess excellent organizational skills, advanced communication skills, clinical knowledge and be confident when presenting treatment. The dentist must trust this person to give patients correct information, in an enthusiastic way.
Does A Treatment Coordinator Work At The Front Desk?
The ideal situation is for the Treatment Coordinator to have access to an office where the fees and treatment can be discussed in private without interruption; taking as much time as is needed to answer all patient questions. The Treatment Coordinator will need a computer, a phone, fax, e-mail and visual tools such as models, power point presentations and photos from the patients' data base of before and after treatments etc... You can be very creative and make this an amazing opportunity for the right person.
1. You will find that patients will refer more new patients to your practice as a result, because they will enjoy the attention they receive and will leave well informed.
2. There will be less stress when the entire team knows that there is someone who they can direct their patients to for an estimate and to discuss fees.
3. Your case acceptance will also increase when patients, learn more about the advantages of the treatment.
4. Your schedule will be more productive and less stressed. Case acceptance will also improve when there are longer appointments scheduled.
Causes Of Lost Revenue
- When dental practices are understaffed there is no time to educate patients; the result is lost revenue.
- When there is no time to answer patients' questions, they will likely not accept the treatment; which results in lost revenue.
- When there is no time to document fees, then collecting them becomes difficult; which results in lost revenue.
- When no one has the time to follow up with estimates and incomplete treatment; the result is lost revenue.
If you are planning on taking your practice to the next level of success, can you really afford not to have a Treatment Coordinator?