Content Dam Diq Online Articles 2016 03 Patient Coordinator 1

Don’t have a dental treatment coordinator? Here’s how it’s hurting your practice

March 28, 2016
Dental treatment coordinators can play a major role in your practice. Helping explain treatment in a calm atmosphere, in language patients can understand, will make a huge difference in your case acceptance rate.

Getting patients to say yes to treatment is no easy task. Not only do you have to earn their trust, you have to make them see why they need the treatment in the first place, and the possible consequences of ignoring problems in their mouth. Sure, you and your team members do the best you can, but if case acceptance rates are down, whatever you’re doing is probably not enough.

If you want to improve case acceptance in your practice, I suggest hiring a treatment coordinator. This team member will help get you to that 85% case acceptance industry benchmark while growing your production numbers and revenues.

Are you still not convinced you need a treatment coordinator? Here are three ways not having someone in this position is keeping your patients from saying yes to treatment and ultimately hurting your practice.

Patients might not feel comfortable accepting treatment—You’re pretty busy during the day and typically don’t have enough time to thoroughly go over treatment recommendations with your patients. You finish up a case presentation in 10 minutes flat, ask the patient if he or she has any questions, and then rush on to the next patient to do the same.

While this might seem like enough to you, it really isn’t. Patients can tell you’re in a hurry, so rather than waste your time asking what they think are silly questions, they pretend to understand everything you say. You might even get the impression they’re ready to move forward with treatment. But they’ll leave without scheduling and never return to your practice again.

This isn’t a problem when you have a treatment coordinator on your team. This team member’s job is to sit down and go over every aspect of treatment with patients, from why it’s necessary, to how long they’ll need to be off work, to how much it will cost. The presentation takes place in a comfortable, private environment where the patient is encouraged to ask questions or discuss any concerns.

Trust me, this type of conversation will put patients at ease and help them feel more connected to the practice. They’ll leave your office more educated about their condition and the services you provide, making them much more likely to say yes to the treatment you recommend.

Your messaging isn’t consistent—If all the producers in your practice perform their own case presentations, there’s a pretty good chance the messages patients receive are inconsistent. This can lead to confused patients who are hesitant to go forward with treatment.

Treatment coordinators help ensure consistency in the sales process, and they should handle presentations for all practice producers. Conflicting messages will no longer be a problem, which makes patients more comfortable entrusting you with their dental care.

No one follows up—As nice as it would be, most patients don’t decide to go forward with treatment right away. They typically want to think about their options and talk everything over with their spouse. That’s understandable, but chances are they’re not going to call your office to schedule on their own.

That’s why it’s so important to make follow-up calls two days after the initial presentation, a task that should fall to your treatment coordinator. Even better, train the treatment coordinator to schedule follow-up calls with patients before they leave. When it’s time for the call, the coordinator should be armed with all the information needed to get that patient on the schedule, whether that means addressing perceived barriers to care or finding ways to ease any lingering concerns. The coordinator should also have a well-thought-out script for these calls. Trust me, this will all go a long way in boosting your case acceptance rate and bottom line.

The truth is, educated patients are more likely to go forward with treatment. You don’t always have time to provide all the education needed, but a treatment coordinator does. This team member ensures messaging is consistent and that every patient understands exactly why you’re recommending treatment. Taking the time to answer their questions and explain treatment will help patients feel more connected to the practice. They’ll see that you really care, and they’ll feel more comfortable scheduling that appointment.

Want more advice on how to improve case acceptance in you practice? Consider taking my one day treatment presentation training. As always, I’m here to help.

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Sally McKenzie is CEO of McKenzie Management, a full-service, nationwide dental practice management company. Contact her at (877) 777-6151 or [email protected].