By Roger P. Levin, DDS
When I recommend that orthodontists spend 98% of their time chairside caring for patients, I sometimes encounter resistance from doctors who want to know: who is going to do everything else, and will they do it right? These leaders need to recognize the power of delegation. It may seem obvious, but the reason most team members get hired is to handle all of the non-clinical tasks required to run a successful ortho practice.
I understand that it can be difficult to let go of control. But with a team of capable and dependable people, jobs can be delegated with confidence. The Treatment Coordinator (TC), for example, can handle the entire new patient process, including entry into the practice, follow-up, case presentation, financial matters, scheduling appointments and patient education. In other words, the TC becomes the new patient’s main resource within the practice. In no way does the patient-TC connection detract from the doctor-patient relationship. In fact, when a TC does her job well, the doctor’s relationship with patients gets strengthened. Here’s how:
- The TC can talk about the orthodontist’s excellent capabilities and create a transfer of trust to the doctor in a way that the doctor cannot.
- The TC can increase the case acceptance rate because of the focused time she spends with parents and patients, answering vital questions and building confidence in the practice.
- The TC uses a minute-by-minute schedule during case presentations to create value for treatment, emphasize benefits, increase understanding of orthodontics and instill excitement prior to the doctor entering the consult room.
No matter how energetic and productive orthodontists are, they can only be in one place at one time. If doctors aren’t spending most of the time treating patients, then the practice isn’t reaching its full production potential. TCs play a critical role in providing a foundation for the doctor-patient bond so that doctors can focus on what they do best―practicing orthodontics.
Attend Dr. Levin’s one-day ortho seminar, Are You Moving Forward or Backward?, December 4, 2014, in Berkeley, California, tuition-free with an Educational Grant. Ask your Ortho2 Systems Consultant how to receive one.