Teledentistry and Virtual Consultations Are Going Mainstream
Did you know telehealth visits increased 154%… This text opens a new tab to the CDC website… in the first week of the pandemic?
Sorry, we know everybody’s so tired of hearing the “P” word.
That’s a huge increase worth talking about.
COVID-19 caused a tremendous spike in our world’s use of virtual meeting platforms. Even healthcare providers hopped on board to offer telemedicine.
If you’ve been considering incorporating telehealth visits into your dental practice – don’t go anywhere!
In this blog, we’ll discuss:
Let’s jump right in.
What is teledentistry?
As you may have guessed, teledentistry is remote dental care.
Teledentistry allows patients to meet with you from the comfort of their homes via their smartphone, tablet, or computer.
You may remotely assess your patients’ oral health through a video chat and/or ask them to provide photos and videos.
It may either be:
- Synchronous, in which you meet face-to-face over a video call
- Asynchronous, which entails you sending your patients recommendations virtually
Of course, there must be compliance with HIPAA regulations – regardless of the chosen method.
Teledentistry appointments are a great way to meet with current patients and new patients!
These appointments allow you to easily:
- Discuss concerns
- Share your opinion
- Monitor your patients’ progress with treatment
- Fill a new prescription
…All with a tap of a button!
This option could be extremely helpful if a patient is:
- Feeling under the weather
- If they’re in pain and want to receive care without having to leave their couch
Also, some patients have dental anxiety. Teledentistry would enable them to:
- Get to know you before scheduling an in-person visit
- Receive recommendations without dealing with the sights, smells, and sounds of an in-office appointment
Can teledentistry be valuable for my practice?
Absolutely! We believe it’s important now more than ever to offer teledentistry.
Research shows that the number of telehealth visits remained elevated throughout 2020, and nearly a third… This text opens a new tab to the CDC website… of all healthcare visits were conducted virtually.
Deidre Keeves, director of Connected Health at UCLA Health… This text opens a new tab to the UCLA Health website… said patients now expect teledentistry solutions.
She strongly believes it’s here to stay.
What are the benefits of teledentistry?
Teledentistry will help you:
- Provide greater access to care
- Reduce the risk for transmitting COVID
- Conserve PPE and other medical supplies
- Support the continuity of care
- Maintain your relationships with patients
Provide greater access to care
Teledentistry is an effective, convenient means for obtaining care for everyone.
According to the American Telemedicine Association, it especially benefits the 20% of Americans… This text opens a new tab to the American Telemedicine Association website… living in rural locations who don’t have easy access to dentists and medical services.
Telehealth visits are a window of opportunity for your practice to welcome new patients into your dental home – without geographical restrictions.
By providing this option, your patients will also save on time and travel costs.
Reduce the risk for transmitting COVID
Despite the ongoing preventative efforts, there’s still a risk of transmitting the virus.
For example, someone could be asymptomatic, or they may have unknowingly come into contact with someone who was exposed to COVID.
Plus, scientists continue to find new variants of the virus that could cause more severe symptoms than the original strain.
A report from the CDC… This text opens a new tab to the CDC website… said some variants of COVID seem to spread more quickly and are much more contagious than other variants, which may lead to more cases.
The viral loads in the Delta variant were approximately 1,000 times higher… This text opens a new tab to the Virological website… than those in earlier strain infections during the initial wave in 2020.
So, in short:
Offering teledentistry will help protect everyone in your office from potential exposure.
Conserve medical supplies
Critical medical supplies like masks, gloves, and sterilization products have been in high demand ever since the pandemic started.
The Food and Drug Administration… This text opens a new tab to the FDA website… has documented continuous shortages of PPE, and it expects that this will last throughout the public health crisis.
By incorporating teledentistry solutions into your dental practice, you’ll help conserve the amount of single-use PPE and other resources your practice would need to use during an in-person appointment.
Support the continuity of care
Many patients are still hesitant about returning to life as we knew it pre-pandemic.
With restrictions starting to loosen in different areas and a rise in cases with the new variants, your patients may feel apprehensive about scheduling in-person appointments.
A survey… This text opens a new tab to the Dentistry Today website… from September 2020 showed that 58% of patients were afraid of getting infected with COVID at the dentist.
There was significant concern about dental practices:
- Maintaining proper hygiene
- Properly disinfecting before and after working with each patient
When asked if dentists should switch to online consultations during epidemics and pandemics, 97% of the survey participants said yes to some degree.
Teledentistry visits will bring your current and potential patients peace of mind, knowing they can receive a second opinion in their own environment.
All the same, offering teledentistry visits will bring you and your team some relief. Everyone has different comfort levels, and taking additional precautions will help increase a sense of safety.
Plus, telemedicine in dentistry has been proven to be equally effective… This text opens a new tab to an article from Old Dominion University’s Public Commons… as in-person initial consultations at diagnosing cavities and assessing treatment plans!
Maintain your relationships with patients
You already know how important it is to have an excellent relationship with your patients.
Two things that matter most are:
- How you interact with your patients
- What value you provide for them
Teledentistry will increase patients’ appreciation for your practice because it’ll show that you’re trying to:
- Keep them and their loved ones safe
- Make their lives easier
Who doesn’t want that? 😄
What are acceptable teledentistry solutions?
You have a few options to choose from!
Several dental practices have been using Zoom… This text opens a new tab to the Zoom website… since the platform gained worldwide popularity last year.
Because it’s more user-friendly and offers higher quality calls than its competitors, Zoom’s customer growth rose 458%… This text opens a new tab to a BBC Business News article… in 2020, compared with the same period in 2019.
The American Dental Association… This text opens a new tab to the ADA website… stated that you may NOT use public-facing platforms, such as:
- Facebook Live
But your practice may use any of the following:
- FaceTime… This text opens a new tab to the Apple App Page…
- Facebook Messenger video chat… This text opens a new tab to Messenger.com…
- Google Hangouts video
- Skype… This text opens a new tab to Skype.com…
There are also a few platforms specifically made for hosting teledentistry visits, such as:
- NexHealth… This text opens a new tab to NexHealth.com…
- Doxy.me… This text opens a new tab to the doxy.me website…
- RevenueWell Virtual Visits… This text opens a new tab to the revenuewell.com…
- Smile Virtual… This text opens a new tab to smilevirtual.com…
And our team at Roadside offers another option:
We create virtual consultation web pages that allow you to conveniently interact with your patients in a HIPAA-compliant manner.
The pages are designed with a form so you can easily receive your patients’ information.
You can use platforms like Zoom to conduct the videos.
Your friends at Roadside care about you!
The world changes every day, and we all continue to face new challenges.
But our team is always here for you!
If you ever need any help or have any questions, please reach out to our friendly team. We’d be happy to assist you. ❤️
Your Roadside Family