Many people in this field use the terms Implant Coordinator and Implant Treatment Coordinator, or ITC, interchangeably, assuming that they describe the same position. They actually don’t describe the same position. There is a significant difference.
When the Implant Coordinator position was originally created in 1989, the concept was to have someone in the surgical office that could manage and market the implant part of the practice. Over the years, some consulting groups and implant companies began referring to the Implant Coordinator as an Implant Treatment Coordinator, or ITC.
Using the word “treatment” in the title serves as a limitation to the potential of the position, particularly in terms of the relationship with referring offices. Most dentists perceive a Treatment Coordinator as someone who assists patients with scheduling appointments and coordinating certain aspects of treatment. Sometimes the Treatment Coordinators in general dental offices are involved in patient education, consultations, and fee presentations. Most often, they are not. In fact, in some offices Treatment Coordinators are Dental Assistants, using the title Treatment Coordinator simply because a consultant suggested it.
Therefore, many general dentists perceive an Implant Treatment Coordinator as someone with a position similar to the Treatment Coordinator in their own office. In these cases, it takes longer to establish credibility with the referring dentists as a knowledgeable professional that they can speak to directly about the treatment plan, treatment sequence, components necessary, lab requirements, etc. when the surgeon is not available.
In addition, if your position is viewed as just a Treatment Coordinator, it can be difficult to convince the dentists and their staff that you have much to offer when you try to schedule lunch and learn meetings, or otherwise provide any type of education for the staff. This is particularly important for hygienists, who have extensive training and education in dentistry.
The IDIA views the role the way it was originally intended – someone who manages and markets the implant practice. As such, we believe that the Implant Coordinator should have two distinct areas of responsibility:
1. Creating an Ideal Experience for Implant Patients
Initial phone call with new patients
Pre-consultation coordination with referring office
Consultations and fee presentations
Treatment sequence coordination (appointments, components, etc.)
Correspondence with patients and referring dentists
Patient tracking and follow-up
2. Building and Maintaining Close Relationships with Referring Offices
Referral and patient education protocols
Communication and correspondence with referring offices
Treatment sequence coordination and patient follow-up
Selection and ordering of restorative components
Staff education, including lunch and learn meetings
Organization and promotion of continuing education programs
Implementation of referral co-marketing programs
Both of these aspects of the position contribute to the growth and success of the surgical practice; the first with increased case acceptance and the second with increased referrals. If the Implant Coordinator is to be the Ambassador for the Team Approach, strengthening relationships with referrals and helping them to effectively promote the benefits of the team approach to patients, the role cannot be perceived as simply a Treatment Coordinator.
Some practices have an ITC and a Marketing Coordinator, or PRC. This model can be more effective if the Implant Coordinator becomes an integral part of the referring office team by not only coordinating treatment for patients, but also providing invaluable education and serving as an indispensable resource for their practice. A Marketing Coordinator can develop relationships with staff in referring offices over time, but that role rarely becomes an integral part of the referring office team.
An expanded role for the Implant Coordinator, including referral outreach, can complement what the Marketing Coordinator provides with delivery of treats and gifts, or organization of special events. But a Marketing Coordinator is not a substitute for the benefits an Implant Coordinator provides for referring offices or the surgical practice.
If your position now is referred to as Implant Treatment Coordinator and you are actually responsible for referral outreach as well, we strongly recommend that you change your title to Implant Coordinator. If you would like your role to be expanded to include marketing and referral outreach, we suggest you change your title. Why limit your responsibilities if you want to experience additional professional growth and satisfaction?