What Should You Look for When You Hire A Dental Treatment Coordinator?

Dos and Don’ts for Practice Owners

The dental treatment coordinator is an important part of any practice.  Without a highly skilled treatment coordinator, your practice will stagnate.  Good treatment coordinators can get patients in for evaluation, help them understand insurance and funding, explain complex treatment plans, and get them to say ‘Yes!’ to treatment that can improve their health, confidence, and lives.  Unfortunately, many practice owners are unsure how to hire a dental treatment coordinator who’s a good fit for the position.

In a 2010 article in the journal Vitals, British dental consultant Tracy Ruck outlined the hard and soft skills needed by excellent treatment coordinators.  Coordinators need knowledge of dental procedures, conditions, and insurance, but they also need to be likable, understand how to relate to people, and be able to deal with a wide variety of personality types.  So how should you hire a dental treatment coordinator? Here are some Dos and Don’ts to keep in mind as you draw up your job requirements, write your ads, and develop your hiring rubrics.

DO look for someone who is warm and likable.

Your treatment coordinator is going to be dealing with scared people. They’re scared of cost, of lost work, and of pain.  The coordinator’s job is to help them see how the treatment is a good choice and to help them say ‘yes’ from a place of hope and calm.   Your coordinator needs to be able to come across as warm, likable, and on the patient’s side.  Is the person you’re interviewing more likable than you are?  That’s a great sign that they may be someone worth hiring for the position.

DON’T reject prospects based on a lack of clinical know-how.

You may find excellent candidates who’ve previously worked in fields like sales, social work, or education.  Don’t rule them out just because they lack clinical knowledge of dentistry – that’s what continuing education is for! If an otherwise qualified applicant lacks dental experience but has a resume that shows a history of being able to learn new things, bring them in! It’s worth investing in someone who needs to do a bit of reading and education if they’ll be a great fit for your practice and excel at building rapport with your patients.

DO look for self-starters who are great at solving problems on the fly.

Treatment coordinators need to be able to meet patients where they’re at, answer objections, and solve patient problems that prevent barriers to treatment.  That means they need to be confident, creative thinkers.  You need to hire someone who can present the case, cover treatment options, and deal with financial issues without having to stop and ask you for help.   When the treatment coordinator can present cases seamlessly and take patients all the way to yes without stopping to consult you, you’ll see a much higher case acceptance rate.

DON’T hire someone who can’t handle technology or numbers.

A treatment coordinator doesn’t need to know everything about dentistry, but they should be good with computers and math.  Technology is an important part of the case presentation, and if your coordinator is nervous or frequently makes mistakes, it will undermine the patient’s trust in the practice.  Comfort with numbers is also important since the coordinator will be explaining insurance, copays, payment plans, and lifetime savings to your patients.  You need someone who, when asked a question about the math, can whip out a calculator and give an answer as easily as an accountant would.

DO hire someone who can explain difficult concepts in understandable language, while persuading patients that your practice is ready and able to improve their lives.

Your treatment coordinator needs to be a top-notch educator and a bit of a cheerleader.  Dental treatment is often a big unknown for your patients, and when we toss around a lot of technical terms, they get scared and shut down.  A good educator can translate the technical language of dentistry into words and images that make sense to each patient.  By meeting patients where they are, they can help guide patients to a smart decision about their care.

The cheerleading aspect of the coordinator’s job involves how they talk about you, your team, and your services. You want someone who can convince patients that you are an expert in the field, that your team is caring and wants to see patients succeed, and that these particular procedures have life-changing benefits.  You want someone who believes in your practice and what you’re trying to do for patients and understands that the treatment plans they’re presenting represent the patient’s best options for lifelong wellness.

Treatment coordinator is an essential job in any practice, and searching for one can be nerve-wracking.  Take some time now to plan how to hire a great dental treatment coordinator, and you’ll find someone who’s a great fit for your practice and who can build strong bonds with your patients.

 

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