With the right skills and attributes, a treatment coordinator (TCO) will convert new patients, boost treatment uptake and increase patient retention. Who doesn’t want that for their practice? So, what are the main roles of a TCO and how can they be successfully added into your team?
Michael Bentley has been a TCO for more than seven years and is currently hosting part of The Perfect Patient Journey run by The Business of Dentistry Events, along with Sheila Scott. His afternoon session addresses many of the questions practices face when looking to introduce the role. Michael feels passionate about the subject: ‘Having done the job, I have seen how powerful it is to build relationships with patients and how this “one appointment” sets up the right experience for every appointment thereafter.’
A treatment coordinator’s role
A successful treatment coordinator (TCO) should:
- Have the skills to welcome patients to the practice
- Have clinical knowledge that can be translated into everyday language for patients
- Have communication and sales skills to help increase treatment uptake
- Have the ability to communicate between the staff and patients so everyone is up-to-date with proceedings
- Have built up a relationship with the patient allowing the TCO to understand the patient’s needs and issues regarding treatment.
Having a TCO can add so much value to a practice. This one role provides many key customer service functions.
- They welcome in potential patients. This can be over the phone, at the front desk or in a pre-arranged meeting. However it happens, the TCO will have the dedicated time and customer service skills to provide them with the best experience possible. This increases the number of enquiries converted into patients
- Excellent communication and sales skills will lead to increased treatment uptake. It is important that the TCO also has clinical knowledge to help explain things to the patient throughout the process
- They will coordinate with the whole team and communicate back to the patient to ensure that they are happy and that all members of the practice team know what is happening. This will reduce the number of issues that may arise throughout and ensure a happy, satisfied patient
- A treatment coordinator will also build up long-lasting relationships with the patient, making it easier to understand their needs, resolve issues and increase patient retention.
Choosing the right person
It is important to choose the right person for the role. They need to be confident, organised and have excellent communication skills with clinical knowledge. Very often there is already a person within the practice that has all these skills and is looking for a new challenge.
Promoting someone from within is a great way to integrate the role into your practice as they already have knowledge of the processes, relationships within the practice team and in some cases, existing relationships with patients.
Implementing a treatment coordinator
Introducing a TCO into your practice can be easy if you have the right person who will enrich the experience of your patients. This in turn will increase the profitability of your practice.
Let Michael Bentley and Sheila Scott guide your practice through the transition with practical advice on how to introduce a TCO into your practice.
The Perfect Patient Journey event is being held in Heathrow, Southamptom, Nottingham and Exeter throughout March 2014. Tickets are available from the Practice Plan events team on 01691 684135 or visit www.practiceplan.co.uk/events. Don’t forget to claim your multi-booking discount.