September 21, 2014
Today’s dental patients are much more sophisticated about how much they know about dentistry and how they make decisions about their dental health. With dental offices popping up practically on every corner, it’s not the billboards, bells and whistles that will attract and retain patients, it’s making a human connection and developing a long term relationship.
Most dentists have heard this message before and know it to be true, but successful dental offices get busy and it can be difficult to be performing a molar endo while 3 hygienists are waiting for checks and you have just had an emergency patient arrive. Dentists can’t be ubiquitous.
Practices that have a dedicated Treatment Coordinator are experiencing 25 – 50% more case acceptance, which results in higher profitability and reduced stress. The role of a Treatment Coordinator will help to increase the case acceptance and bottom line profits while the doctor is doing what he/she does best, perform dentistry.
Patients make decisions based on emotion and then justify them with logic.
Studies have shown that 85% of case acceptance is based on emotional decisions of the experience at your office and how it makes the patients feel.
The role of a Treatment Coordinator is significant in demonstrating value to patients. True value is a combination of real value that relates to the treatment and the patient’s perceived value that is based on emotion. Many dental problems are asymptomatic, so the patients don’t feel symptoms and therefore don’t feel a sense of urgency to have anything done. The Treatment Coordinator can take the time to translate the clinical terms they didn’t understand into lay terms and connect the treatment plan to their life. She can then review the benefits of the treatment as well as the risks and consequences of not having the treatment completed. Most importantly, she can make the financial arrangements at the time of booking the treatment and follow-up with the patients’ insurance companies to speed up the process.
The process of sending out a predetermination and waiting for a response from an insurance company is an intentional tactic to slow down the claim and allow the patients ttime o change their mind about completing treatment. Insurance companies depend on this so that more profits stay at the insurance companies and the claims experience remains low. That is why insurance companies intentionally take 4 – 6 weeks to send their ‘approval’ to the patient. It is critically important for the Treatment Coordinator to stay in touch with the patient during that time period to help the patient understand that the treatment is for the patients’ health and that your office cares about them as a person. It is recommended that she contacts the patient two weeks after sending out a predetermination and stays in touch to help circumvent the obstacles that insurance companies will use to discourage the patients.
Don’t let treatment acceptance walk out the door via a 3-5 minute exit when they could have been escorted to a consult room with a Treatment Coordinator who has the dedicated time to discuss, answer and overcome objections to the treatment and make arrangements for the treatment to be affordable.
Patients need to see the value of the services and to be able to make that emotionally based decision, while maximizing their insurance benefits and have access to financial arrangements that fit with their budget. That’s where a dedicated Treatment Coordinator can help. She will pay for her own salary many times over by making the connection and ‘closing the sale’.
If you wish to receive a sample job description for a Treatment Coordinator, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “TC Job Description”.