Effective time management for treatment coordinators

This month, Tracie Barnett shares her tips and tricks for managing and optimising time effectively, and explains why this is a pivotal part of being a treatment coordinator.

As a treatment coordinator (TCO), we play a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth operation of the dental practice while providing exceptional care and service to our patients.

One of the first things I realised as a treatment coordinator was that I was suddenly responsible for managing my own diary. As a dental nurse, the dentist usually guides you, although you soon learn exactly when to give them a kick up the bum if needed.

We have an array of tasks and responsibilities vying for our attention, so mastering effective time management is essential for maintaining productivity, minimising stress and delivering the highest level of patient care.

 In this article, we’ll explore practical strategies and tips for treatment coordinators to optimise their time and resources effectively.

Set clear priorities

Arrive at work in good time to be able to plan the day ahead. I am at my desk 30 minutes before my clinic start time to check that I am prepared and organised.

Start by identifying your top priorities and tasks that require immediate attention. Whether it’s seeing patients, scheduling patient appointments, following up on treatment plans or handling administrative duties, having a clear sense of what needs to be accomplished will help you stay focused and organised throughout the day.

Utilise time blocking

Allocate specific blocks of time for different types of tasks to minimise distractions and maintain focus. For example, dedicate mornings to patient consultations and treatment planning, reserve afternoons for administrative tasks such as paperwork and phone calls and set aside time for breaks to recharge and refocus.

Block out time at the end of the day to return any calls that you may have missed while you were in clinic.

Harness the power of technology

Leverage technology tools and software solutions to streamline repetitive tasks, automate appointment reminders, and centralise patient information for easy access.

Implementing shared file access and practice management software can significantly improve efficiency and accuracy in patient care and administrative tasks.

Delegate and collaborate

It’s all about teamwork! Recognise when tasks can be delegated to other members of the dental team or outsourced to external resources.

Delegating routine administrative tasks, such as appointment scheduling or follow up calls, frees up valuable time for treatment coordinators to focus on higher-priority responsibilities and patient interactions.

Practice effective communication

Organisation comes with good, clear communication. Communicate clearly and efficiently with patients, colleagues and vendors to minimise misunderstandings and delays.

Use concise language, active listening, and empathy to ensure that messages are conveyed accurately and effectively, fostering positive relationships and trust with all involved.

Prioritise patient care

Here’s the biggy! While administrative tasks are important, never lose sight of the primary focus: providing exceptional care and service to patients.

Prioritise patient interactions and appointments, ensuring that each patient receives the attention and support they need to feel valued and cared for throughout their treatment journey.

Implement time-saving techniques

Identify time-saving techniques and shortcuts to streamline common tasks and processes. This could include creating standardised templates for emails and documents, utilising keyboard shortcuts for common actions or establishing efficient workflows for recurring tasks.

Honestly, this saves so much time! As an example, I add all my note templates on to patients records in the morning. Quick tip: remember to delete if they fail to attend!

Regularly evaluate and adjust

Like all aspects of the TCO role, some things will work better than others. Continuously assess your time management strategies and identify areas for improvement.

Tweak things where needed until your processes flow better for you and your patients. Solicit feedback from colleagues and patients and be open to trying new approaches and techniques to optimise your productivity and effectiveness as a treatment coordinator.

In conclusion, effective time management is essential for treatment coordinators to fulfil their responsibilities efficiently while delivering exceptional care and service to patients.

By setting clear priorities, utilising technology, delegating tasks, practicing effective communication and prioritising patient care, treatment coordinators can maximise productivity, minimise stress and ultimately contribute to the success and growth of the dental practice.

Read more Tricks and Tips from a TCO:

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