Charles Banh discusses how to increase implant potential with an implant treatment coordinator
You’ve heard it before: The implant part of your practice operates as a separate, smaller entity within your overall business. It’s a practice within your practice. As that implant practice grows in volume, the responsibilities and work increase exponentially, not linearly. Additionally, that work is highly specialized and often operates totally separate from the other tasks in the office.
I have been very lucky to work with surgeons who are talented both with their hands and also in their business sense. Many of these surgeons place 1,000s of implants a year both in a solo practice and group practice setting. While there are many variables that separate these extremely successful surgeons, they all have one thing in common: They have an extremely competent implant treatment coordinator (ITC) whose sole job is to grow and manage the implant practice.
I have isolated three elements that make these implant treatment coordinators superstars. These are the skills that separate.
- They are experts in implants.
Superstar ITCs know which implants are used in a particular situation and why. They have memorized all the available sizes of that system and are masters of your implant inventory. An exceptional ITC is up-to-date on current surgical literature and procedures such as immediate anterior implants, hybrid procedures, and surgical planning. They should have a close relationship with your implant sales representatives and stay current on all products.
How to accomplish this: Invest in your implant treatment coordinator. Take him/her to conventions and CE. This staff member should have a surgical rotation with you where you can tutor him/her on technique, instrumentation, and reasoning.
- They have a foundation of prosthetic knowledge and are a resource to your referrals.
Your ITC should be such an expert on prosthetic procedures and parts that your referrals would rather call your ITC instead of the implant sales representative or even you! This is an absolute critical skill. For example, ITCs should know open- and closed-tray impression technique and which parts are used in which situations (single units versus bridges). Superstar ITCs can go chairside to your referral’s office to walk him/her through an implant impression; elite ITCs go chairside for implant crown seatings when necessary to help troubleshoot any potential problems. Your ITC should have your main lab technician’s cell phone and have a working relationship with him/her. Why is this so important? Having your referrals contact your ITC with these questions saves you time to focus on production-creating activities; your ITC becomes a rep for your office at the disposal of your referrals, which creates value.
Here’s something your restorative doctor may not tell you: “I don’t like when you use this particular implant system because I don’t like working with the company/rep.” Restorative doctors usually won’t tell you until you notice their referral pattern slipping. By that time, it may be too late.
If your ITC is a prosthetic master, then you are no longer a slave to situations that are out of your control (like your favorite rep switching companies, which forces you to look for another system).
How to accomplish this: Again, invest in your ITC with continuing education. Also, pick your favorite, most experienced referral, and have your ITC spend a few days shadowing that person doing implant restorative procedures.
- Amazing implant treatment coordinators have a consultative sales mentality.
This boils down to a few abilities. First of which, your ITC should not blink when presenting a $60,000 double-arch hybrid treatment plan because he/she fully understands and believes in the treatment he/she is presenting.
Your ITC should be carrying out 90% of the implant consultation and cover the following:
- medical history
- alternative options to an implant
- timeline for a single- or two-stage implant
- restorative timeline
- common questions about bone grafts
- fielding any other questions
At this time, you should be able to come into the room, make a quick diagnosis, finalize the treatment option, and then leave the ITC to carry out financial arrangements. Maximizing implant production means decentralizing your command of the office and allowing your staff to absorb tasks.
How to accomplish this: Create a script for your implant consultation. Your ITC should shadow your consultation style and memorize keywords and phrases that you like to use. You should role-play consultations with your ITC, and last, observe his/her initial consults to ensure he/she follows your script.
These three skills take time and require your investment. The upfront cost and effort it takes to get an individual in your office to this level will pay dividends. The unseen benefit is the increased implant potential that your office can realize with an amazing implant treatment coordinator as the captain of your implant practice.