A few questions always come up from both doctors and team members when discussing an implant coordinator.
- Why do I need an implant coordinator?
- How do I use an implant coordinator in my practice? What would it look like?
- How do I convince my doctor/practice that we need an implant coordinator?
The answer is simple yet not finite. As the intricacies of practice to practice are great, the philosophy behind adding this position is the same.
The new patient exam is just one of many great ways to utilize your implant coordinator but one of the easiest to commence.
In a slower economy where every penny is closely examined and overhead looms like a stormy cloud, you might ask why you should have a treatment coordinator and can you afford another position in your practice?
The question should be why have you not hired a treatment coordinator? As a practitioner/specialist, revenue is generated when your hands are in the mouth and treatment is being completed. Consultations are a necessity of the practice but can take precious minutes or hours out of your day that could be used for productivity. A treatment coordinator that is well versed in dentistry and the procedures you perform and works well with people, can be of great value to the practice and take this lost time out of your hands and put it into theirs.
A treatment coordinator should act as a liaison for the patient as well as a liaison with referring doctors and practices. They should be the first introduction to your practice. Even as early as when the referral takes place, the general dentist can give the implant coordinators name, so when they have an initial visit at your office, the torch has been passed not only to the practice but directly to an individual who is completely prepared to care for them alongside the doctor. A treatment coordinator can go over the referral and walk them through why they are coming to see you. If the referral is for a specific procedure or set of procedures, the implant coordinator can introduce those procedures or build on what they have learned from their dentist before coming in. In either case, the first 20-30 minutes of a patient's visit can be spent with the treatment coordinator getting diagnostic information such as radiographs and photographs, reviewing the medical history, discussing chief concerns, and educating them on the office. This is all very important information that can be acquired by the treatment coordinator while the doctor continues to generate revenue in adjacent operatories.
When the doctor is ready to see the patient, the treatment coordinator can quickly brief them about their discussions, allowing the doctor to walk in the room better prepared to see the patient. The education, for the most part, will have already been completed and the doctor can confirm findings and establish a personal connection with the patient. The patient should already have an understanding of what will occur during their time in your office. Once a treatment plan is established, the treatment coordinator can finish any further discussion with the patient while the doctor can return to a more productive role in treatment. Finances, instructions and scheduling can all be completed by the treatment coordinator depending on the dynamics of the office. We find that when large treatment plans are presented by the team member who the patient already has a connection with, instead of being handed off to the “financial coordinator” or the “insurance coordinator,” has a significantly higher success rate. While this protocol will not work in every office or every situation, it has been a huge success. The implant coordinator can introduce these other team members once the treatment plan is understood and accepted.
To put it in dollars and sense, and using only an average of times (as these may vary from practice to practice) will give an idea of how the addition of an implant/treatment coordinator would create more production through scheduling.
A consultation that used to take the doctor one hour should only now take 20-30 minutes as described in the previous paragraph. If you saw 3-4 new patients a day and cut the time in half, you created 2 additional hours of production time daily. When you look closely at what your chair time is worth hourly, the money spent on this position is well worth its weight in gold.
While this is only one way that a treatment or implant coordinator can help your practice, there is a multitude of ways that he or she can advance production and success including referral maintenance, continuing education, study club organization and more.