What separates practices that see a small bump in sales from those that see significant, sustained revenue growth? It’s the creation of a patient coordinator position, according to Ed Syring III, Vice President of Miami-based healthcare marketing and consulting company Yellow Telescope.
Patient Coordinator: The Ringer
“This needs to be a truly separate position. Most practices should have it,” he recommended to attendees at the 2017 ASCRS·ASOA Annual Meeting. How does the position work? One of the main jobs of the patient coordinator is to handle all sales calls, i.e. incoming calls from patients or prospective patients who have inquiries about procedures, notes Syring. During a sales call, the patient coordinator “gathers the right information from patients, educates them on the nature of the procedure that they’re interested in and/or that the physician has recommended, discusses costs and level of improvement, and presents treatment options,” he continues.
Eyes Open: While patient coordinators explain possible treatment options and help patients schedule exams, they should be careful to never make medical recommendations or give medical advice.
The Consultation: How It Works
When patients come in for their exam, prior to seeing the physician, they will see the patient coordinator in person:
- The coordinator will review patients’ goals, mention the procedures that the physician may recommend for them, and go over pricing.
- The patient coordinator is the next person the patient sees after being examined. At this point, the patient should have a physician’s recommendation for a certain procedure.
- The patient coordinator reiterates some of the initial phone call’s discussion during this live consult. This includes what the procedure will involve, the physician’s experience, and the level of improvement the patient can expect.
The live consult is also the time during which the patient coordinator schedules the procedure and discusses the nitty-gritty of a topic that many eye care practitioners dread: cost. Patient coordinators know how to overcome patients’ financial objections, handle those sometimes-emotional money conversations, and schedule procedures. This gives the rest of your staff time and energy to focus on their own duties and responsibilities. Patient coordinators know how to “act like a duck on water. They’re calm and smooth on the outside, with patients, even though tons of other things are happening. Patients will be calm if you’re calm.” says Syring.