Essential tips for new treatment coordinators

This month, Tracie Barnett shares her six top tips for mastering the role of the treatment coordinator.

Congratulations on your new role as a treatment coordinator (TCO)! And what an amazing role it is!

Over seven years ago, I became a TCO, after twenty-three years of dental nursing and feeling that I needed a change. I was honoured to be given the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for dentistry with my patients. I was excited to run my own clinics and be the point of contact for patients throughout their treatment journey. This was a responsibility that I was ready to take with both hands!

As you embark on your own journey, it’s essential to equip yourself with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in this vital position. Here, I share my six indispensable tips that will guide you towards success and ensure optimal patient care.

1. The power of comprehensive training

I cannot stress enough the vital importance of thorough training for professionals like yourself. You are the linchpin between your patients and the dental team, and your role is pivotal in ensuring the seamless functioning of your practice. A well-trained treatment coordinator possesses the knowledge and skills to handle a myriad of responsibilities.

Investing in your comprehensive training yields numerous benefits for your practice. Firstly, it equips you with the expertise needed to navigate the complexities of your role efficiently, ensuring that operations run smoothly, and your patients receive exceptional care.

Secondly, it empowers you to address patient concerns, provide accurate information, and guide them through treatment decisions with confidence, thus enhancing patient satisfaction.

Lastly, it contributes to better oral health outcomes by facilitating seamless coordination between your patients and the dental team, ultimately leading to improved treatment adherence and outcomes.

2. Effective communication: the foundation of patient care

Communication lies at the core of your role as a TCO. Patients rely on you to guide them through their treatment journey, answer their questions, and address any concerns they may have.

Effective communication entails more than just conveying information, it involves active listening, empathy, and the ability to tailor your communication style to meet the needs of each patient. Take the time to hone your communication skills, practice clear and concise explanations of treatment plans, and always strive to create a supportive and reassuring environment for patients.

3. Dive deep into dental procedures and terminology

A thorough understanding of dental procedures and terminology is indispensable for any treatment coordinator. Patients trust you to provide them with accurate information and guidance regarding their treatment options.

Take the initiative to educate yourself about common dental procedures, such as general treatment, as well as more complex treatments like dental implants and orthodontic procedures. Familiarise yourself with dental terminology to effectively communicate with both patients and dental professionals, building confidence and trust among all stakeholders.

4. Harness the power of technology

In today’s digital age, technology plays a pivotal role in the efficient operation of dental practices. As a TCO, you’ll be responsible for managing appointments, maintaining patient records, and processing payments, all of which can be streamlined with the right technology.

Take the time to familiarise yourself with the technology available in your practice. Digital communication tools are a great way to build value and to educate patients during consultations. Embracing technology not only enhances your productivity but also improves the overall patient experience by facilitating seamless communication and coordination.

5. Cultivate empathy and patient-centric care

Empathy is the cornerstone of patient-centred care, and as a treatment coordinator, it’s essential to cultivate this quality in your interactions with patients. Many patients experience anxiety or fear when visiting the dentist, and they rely on you to provide them with reassurance and support.

Practice active listening, acknowledge patients’ concerns, and demonstrate genuine empathy in your interactions. By placing the patient’s needs and well-being at the forefront of your practice, you’ll foster trust, loyalty, and satisfaction among patients.

6. Excel in organisation and attention to detail

As a TCO, you’ll juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities on a daily basis. From scheduling appointments and coordinating treatment plans to processing payments. Organisation and attention to detail are essential for success in this role.

Develop efficient systems and workflows to stay organised, prioritise tasks effectively, and ensure accuracy in all administrative processes. By mastering organisation and attention to detail, you’ll not only enhance your own productivity but also contribute to the overall efficiency and success of your dental practice.

Stepping into the role of a treatment coordinator is both a privilege and a responsibility. By mastering effective communication, deepening your knowledge of dental procedures, harnessing the power of technology, cultivating empathy, and excelling in organisation, you’ll not only thrive in your role but also make a meaningful difference in the lives of your patients.

With dedication, perseverance, and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement, you’ll become an invaluable asset to your dental practice and a trusted advocate for patient care. How exciting!

Read more Tricks and Tips from a TCO:

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