Why Patient Care Coordinators Are Crucial for Your Plastic Surgery Practice’s Success
One of the most crucial roles in a plastic surgery practice is that of the Patient Care Coordinator. Most practices know that a PCC’s first function is to be a direct link between the patient and the surgeon, helping to answer a patient’s questions, address their concerns, and book their surgery. Something not everyone acknowledges, however, is that a PCC plays a crucial business development role on behalf of the practice.
Coordinating a surgeon’s complex schedule, developing trust with potential patients, and communicating it all with care and precision is both an art and a science. Here are some of the ways a PCC can impact a practice’s growth and profitability.
Sales and Patient Engagement
A PCC often becomes a patient’s direct connection to a practice throughout the patient’s entire engagement. That’s why we consider the PCC’s role crucial to patient engagement and business development.
When a potential patient reaches out to your practice for a consultation or pre-consultation call, they’ll speak to your PCC. A skilled patient care coordinator will be able to facilitate that conversation in order to help the potential patient:
- Learn about the procedure, and whether or not it’s a good fit for them
- Develop a trust with the practice and the surgeon
- Understand pricing and payment
- Figure out how to fit it into their life and schedule (and the surgeon’s)
- Book the procedure
Like any good salesperson, a great PCC builds a relationship with potential patients. They have strong communication and people skills, but they’re also extremely business savvy. That’s because in addition to working directly with patients, they are responsible for filling the schedule and making sure processes move efficiently.
A plastic surgeon’s schedule is incredibly complex. If a surgeon operates one or two days per week, a patient care coordinator needs to not only fill that schedule with patients, but also optimize it to fit the surgeon’s workflow.
An effective PCC understands the surgeon’s work style, stamina, and knows where to place more complex procedures. It requires a great deal of synergy between the surgeon and patient care coordinators, which is why it’s ideal for practices to retain talented PCCs to work alongside the surgeon for as long as possible.
A great PCC can make the entire practice more efficient. As the point-person for patient engagement, the PCC has a process to move patients from pre-consultation to consultation to scheduling a surgery to post-op care.
Of course, they have to handle this process with empathy, patience, and trust, anticipating each patient’s questions and needs. The better a PCC is at communicating to patients, the more efficient the process becomes. Likewise, the more astute a PCC is at understanding patient needs and scheduling, the less likely they are to need to reschedule later.
The patient care coordinator is the go-to for coordinating payments for patients. They need to help patients understand the cost of a procedure, the payment schedule, and cancellation policies. It’s crucial to have a streamlined process in place for collecting payments. While this may vary from practice to practice, we recommend a few processes to put in place:
- Charge for consultations: This reduces no-show rates and ensures a patient is truly interested. The practice can apply the charge of $100 to $250 toward the surgery.
- Ask for a down payment: It’s typical to ask for a flat rate or 10-15% of the total.
- Receive full payment weeks in advance: We recommend four weeks in advance, while some surgeons prefer to collect it at the pre-op appointment two weeks in advance. With a down payment in place, you’re less likely to have to fill a cancellation at the last minute.
- Have cancellation and rescheduling policies in place: Make sure to communicate these clearly ahead of time.
Ensure your plastic surgery practice’s success with Skytale Group
When we work with plastic surgery practices, our management consulting team often works directly with a practice’s Patient Care Coordinator. Together, we put efficient systems in place to help with patient engagement, financial processes, and more. Reach out to learn how Skytale Group helps plastic surgeons increase the value of their practices.