THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

TCO training – how to improve your clinician productivity by 30%

I’m frequently contacted by people who have products and services of relevance to my clients. For over 20+ years I have maintained a policy that I do not accept introducers fees or commissions – I simply broadcast and comment on good ideas.

I was surprised to discover that less than 10% of practices attending The Practice Plan Workshop Tour employed treatment co-ordinators (TCOs) in either a part-time or full-time capacity.

The evidence is that working with a TCO can considerably improve the patient experience, increase case acceptance and improve productivity by up to 30%, so why is it taking so long for many to catch on?

Here, Rachel Dukesell, from Diana Dental in Stoke, shares with us the training she delivers.

Since 2014, I’ve worked alongside Dentale and Nobel Biocare providing an Introduction to Treatment Coordination Course. The main aims were to help members of the dental team (and some dentists too) to introduce the role of Treatment Coordinator (TCO) into practice. I was confident (and still am) that I could pass on my, at that time, 18 years of experience in the world of dentistry —and now, my 8 years in the TCO role —to others with enthusiasm.

It was a few months into the courses when I realised that many of the delegates I was meeting had faced different struggles trying to implement the role. It was true that I had been extremely fortunate to have the role of TCO full-time, in a lovely consultation room, with the support in place which I needed to succeed. However, many of the people I met were telling me of their struggles with one or more of the above — especially when first implementing this role into practice. It is for this reason that I still keep my courses small and intimate. TCO will mean different things to different practices. It’s important to discuss what each practice wants to achieve, as well as what is realistic, with any constraints and facilities available to them.

Once we’ve identified any issues, we can discuss ways to overcome, to get better. I’ve found that once delegates identify areas of improvement, and realise that these are not impossible obstacles, they can then get excited by the role and the new responsibilities it comes with. This leads to the core aspects of the course:

  1. Setting the scene —dealing with new patient enquiries; how the TCO can help existing patients; setting the scene for an amazing smile assessment appointment; how the TCO can manage the patient journey.

  2. The smile assessment appointment —or whatever you decide to call it! —welcoming the patient; getting that first impression right; smile assessment forms; listening skills; delivering an excellent consultation; following up; compliance.

  3. Talking about patient fees with confidence —looking at the language we use; spelling out the value of the treatment we offer; overcoming objections.

  4. Marketing the appointments —who/where to target

  5. Managing the patient journey —treatment plans and presentation; point of contact; before, during and after treatment care; the end of treatment discussion with the patient.

I really believe that the TCO role means different things to different practices. This is definitely not a one size fits all role, and so it shouldn’t be taught as one. At the end of my course, I can honestly say that delegates have felt more confident in taking on the role and working within the confines of their practice —whatever they might be. I have included some feedback here:

“A really informative course, I now feel like I have lots of ideas to take back to practice and implement”

“We are just looking at bringing the role into practice-this day has really helped me to think about where to start”

So if you’ve implemented the role recently, and are unsure on how to make the role as effective as possible for YOUR practice; or are at the moment ‘sort of’ carrying out small aspects of the role and want advice and knowledge of the skills needed to grow this role; or are having to start off the role whilst nursing, or being on reception, then I’m confident that I can help you and your practice.

For bookings and further enquiries please email me on rachel_euro@outlook.com

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