Maybe you have joined the Patient Treatment Coordinator Association (PTCA) or as a surgeon you are starting to hear about the association more and more, but don’t currently have someone in the implant or treatment coordinator role in your practice. If you don’t already have a coordinator in your practice, creating and interviewing for that role can be intimidating. It’s also daunting for the new coordinator as the practice creates the job description and starts to implement it.
I have been asked both personally and through the PTCA many times, “Where do I look to find the right person for my implant coordinator position?” from surgeons, practice managers and administrators, and dental implant company colleagues. Working with oral surgery and perio practices from all over the country, we see that the implant and treatment coordinators have all different types of backgrounds and training. There is no hard and fast rule, but there are definitely some trends for what has been successful. Let’s explore some of those and talk about some of the potential roles of an implant or treatment coordinator in a surgical practice.
The implant and treatment coordinator job description varies from practice to practice but usually involves some combination of:
- Being part of the treatment consultations
- Referral communication
- Inventory management
- Team education in their own practice
- Study clubs
- Appointment coordination
- Referral education and lunch n learns
- Treatment plan presentation
Sometimes the coordinator is also assisting in surgery or managing the practice. I’ve been asked on more occasions than I can count, “I have an implant coordinator but I’m not seeing the growth I need or thought I would?” We then stop and look at the role in its current form and compare it to what others are doing and have done to be successful. When a surgical practice decides to implement the implant or treatment coordinator position, they usually pull someone from within the practice to take over the new role. PTCA advocates for a full time implant or treatment coordinator when the practice is placing 100+ implants a year, and this team member is responsible for all of the above roles.
It is very difficult when for example, a coordinator is assisting in surgery and then as the implant coordinator is seeing patients with the doctor for consults to also be able to be out in the field working with referrals and marketing. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. This can be a difficult transition in the practice sometimes because the doctor is creating a new full time position and often moving the surgical assistant to that role which opens up a new surgical assistant position too.
The ROI has been measured time and again in successful surgical practices with a full time implant or treatment coordinator.
- Increases referrals to the practice by having a highly skilled communicator interacting both with the patients and the referrals.
- Increases the productivity of the practices by having a dedicated team member tracking cases, coordinating appointments, and working with their own team to create systems for efficiency.
- Having a dedicated implant coordinator also polishes the image of your practice, and helps create a hub for education and excellence for your practice.
The implant or treatment coordinator is knowledgeable about the services your practice offers and specific case presentation, and is often available to take calls and answer questions when the doctor is in surgery.
There are definite and reproducible systems that go into the creation and implementation of the surgical implant and treatment coordinator role in a practice.
- Is the doctor creating a work environment that empowers his team members to be colleagues and not just employees?
- Is the implant or treatment coordinator the right person for the role who is willing and able to be the colleague or the business partner that surgeon needs to grow his practice?
Some implant or treatment coordinators come from within the practice as we’ve discussed. There can be many benefits like knowing the practice, the systems, and the doctor and his/her practice goals. A successful implant coordinator has to have great people skills, be organized, an excellent communicator, and willing to be a dental partner in the practice.
Sometimes you have to look outside the practice to find the right person for this role. We’ve seen implant coordinators come from sales and/or marketing backgrounds, the hospitality industry, hygienists, former teachers, non-practicing dentists, and former assistants and practice managers. There are also successful implant coordinators that didn’t have any dental or sales background but had the right entrepreneur personality and learned through on the job training. When looking to develop and interview for an implant or treatment coordinator position, create the position as a “career opportunity” and not just an 8-5 job. Recruiters, our dental reps, word of mouth, and ads for a sales and marketing position have all worked well for practices when hiring for this role. The PTCA is fortunate to work with many oral surgery and perio practices, coordinators, and practice managers who have successfully hired and trained implant coordinators. Networking and practice sharing among our members might just give you that pearl you haven’t thought of as you implement and hire for the implant and/or treatment coordinator role in your practice.
The 3rd annual PTCA conference is coming up at the LondonHouse Chicago hotel August 25-26, 2017, in Chicago. Just announced on the speaker lineup so far this year is Dr. Cyndi Nguyen, an OMS from Louisiana, who turns the delicate conversation about medical complications into a heartfelt discussion on patient care and team training.
PTCA is also excited to bring in Katherine Eitel Belt of Lioness Learning, “the creator of a unique leadership communication tool called The Lioness Principle™ and the founder of her revolutionary company, LionSpeak, which helps professionals communicate with greater clarity and inspiration in a powerful, non-scripted, and authentic way.” We will also hear from Dr. Josh Packard, a sociologist, professor, and researcher who promises to take us outside of dentistry to learn tips that we can bring back in to our practices to better understand our patients and the environment in which we live and work. This just scratches the surfaces of our informative 2 day conference which will also include a surgeon and implant coordinator panel to practice, share and take questions from the group. This will be our second year to include the panel which was one of the highlights of the second conference. The PTCA conference is open to implant and treatment coordinators, their surgeons, their surgical team members and the restorative treatment coordinator partners. See you in Chicago!
- Heather Collins, PTCA President and Chairman of the Board