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A growing practice generally has one primary marketing focus: making sure it capitalizes on all patient conversion opportunities. To facilitate this, there must be mechanisms in place for capturing all viable cosmetic inquiries while still making the best use of physician time and abilities. As a practice develops and expands, it may reach a point at which conversion opportunities inadvertently begin falling by the wayside. This could indicate the necessity for creating a dedicated position for managing these inquiries. This article outlines several situations that could indicate that a practice may benefit from adding a patient care coordinator (PCC) to its team.


The following situations and circumstances indicate that it may be an appropriate time for a practice to consider adding a PCC to help in converting more inquiries to consults and, ultimately, treatments.

You have a lot of “Oh, by the way” cosmetic inquiries, but fail to turn them into treatments. A PCC might be right for your practice if you are routinely fielding cosmetic questions during clinical appointments, but are not turning the opportunity into an actual treatment. As growing practices concentrate more on cross promotion, patients will begin to respond to the marketing stimuli put before them. This will create an environment where patient-initiated “Oh, by the way” discussions are likely to occur. This is great, but too often physicians will quickly address the patient's question without a call to action. The result is a missed opportunity to turn these inquiries into treatments. A PCC can help complete the transaction by answering these questions and scheduling a consult or treatment.

Your schedule is tight. It is important to strike while the iron is hot when you have patients interested in additional services. Frequently, however, your schedule does not allow for a thorough consultation in the time frame blocked for the existing appointment. Yet, running late could negatively impact the experience of subsequent patients. As such, it is important to manage a tight schedule to avoid extended wait times. A PCC can help ensure you stay on schedule by meeting with patients to answer questions they may have about your recommendations, i.e., explain procedures, present before and after pictures, discuss side effects, etc.

Your patient's awareness of cosmetic offerings varies by provider. Your practice likely has a unique mix of cosmetic and clinically focused providers who have different approaches to cosmetic inquiries. Although you provide standard marketing resources, how these tools are used will vary from one provider to the next. Additionally, your inquiry-to-appointment conversion rate may vary significantly due to differing degrees of willingness by providers to discuss cosmetic offerings— perhaps because they may not be willing or qualified to do the treatment themselves. As such, you need to make it easy for your non-cosmetic providers to refer these opportunities to other practice providers. A PCC can be the perfect conduit for the patient's extended journey in your practice. Ideally, your physician will credential the PCC and refer the patient to the PCC for a preliminary consultation. This will ensure that the patient's questions are addressed and that the patient can be scheduled with the appropriate provider. Additionally, it removes any angst the originating physician might have in engaging in preliminary cosmetic inquiry discussions because they do not perform the procedure themselves.

Some of your physicians say, “I'm not a sales person.” Some providers in your practice may be reluctant to have “sales” discussions with patients. This is a common professional sentiment and often the biggest point of contention is the pricing component of the discussion. However, providers must remember that patients want to know what options are available to them and it is their responsibility to educate patients on all viable options. A PCC can help remove the price element from the provider's part of the engagement. Additionally, a PCC can seize the opportunity to credential the practice's providers, services, and products.

You want to increase your retail sales. Your practice needs to be part of a growing trend that has proactive practices diversifying their revenue streams to generate dollars when the physician is out of the office. Retail sales are one of the best opportunities for growing passive income. Industry standards suggest that a practice should generate an average of six percent of total practice revenue in retail sales. You want to be in on that action. Additionally, industry standards state that patients will purchase a retail product at neighboring retail outlet or department store within 24-48 hours of leaving a practice upon learning that they should use some sort of product on their skin. You do not want those passive dollars to leave your office, if possible. A PCC can show patients your line of retail products to ensure patients are fully educated on what products work best, not only on the skin, but in combination with one another. The goal is to be a one-stop shop for the patient. This ultimately will yield better outcomes, produce higher patient satisfaction, and boost your bottom line.

You want to further define treatment plans for your patients. Although you may have intake forms where cosmetic interest is gathered, there may not be a process for utilizing this information in a systematic way. It is critical that you have well-defined process for how patients flow through your practice. This will help with the formal development of comprehensive patient treatment plans. A PCC can help streamline the process and encourage compliance with treatment plans by following up with lapsed patients. Additionally, a PCC can identify opportunities to target market to patients who have indicated interest in additional treatments outside of their reason for the initial visit.

You have a current staff member who fits this role perfectly. It may be time for a PCC if you find that busy providers are asking a specific medical assistant to show the patient before and after pictures, explain procedures, and answer additional questions. However, it is likely there is no consistency to this process and there may be times when the MA is unavailable to fill this role. Creating a PCC position would more clearly define roles and responsibilities, ensuring accountability, and securing more consistent results.


Adding a patient care coordinator might not be right for you, but failing to consider this option could impact your ability to grow. Regardless of whether or not you choose to add this position to your practice, it is important to explore every way possible to capture as many cosmetic inquires as possible. Every patient represents a revenue-add opportunity. The question is whether you will be the practice that presents a solution to those needs and captures that revenue.

Beatriz Bailey is a management consultant with the Allergan Practice Consulting Group of Allergan, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company based in Irvine, California. Mrs. Bailey consults with dermatology and plastic surgery practices in the areas of financial analysis, practice valuations, human resource issues, internal and external marketing, leadership training and team building, sales training, compensation, and cosmetic practice development. She has more than 10 years of consulting, sales, and training experience in the research, automotive, and health care industries. Prior to joining the Allergan Practice Consulting Group, Mrs. Bailey served in a variety of business development roles. She acted as a senior business development manager in Allergan's Facial Aesthetics Division for four years, where she worked closely with customers to grow their practices.

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