Implementing Teledentistry into Practice

You have probably heard how Teledentistry can help you provide quality dental care for your patients and improve your dental practice long-term through a virtual platform. Although Teledentistry has many known benefits such as decreasing overhead costs, increasing revenue, and overcoming geographical barriers, a common problem remains that many Dental Professionals are unsure of how patients will respond to Teledentistry. According to a similar study on Telehealth, 83% of patients said they expect and are receptive to using telehealth even after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides (Kitchen, 2020). Knowing that patients are receptive, willing, and interested in using Telehealth, implementation into practice is not as difficult as one may think. Now that Teledentistry is of interest to you, you may be wondering about the next steps, how to implement it into practice, and how to approach your patients with this new option.

Research and Familiarize Yourself with Teledentistry Regulations

Before reaching out to patients, you will want to conduct research and familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations created by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO). You need to ensure you understand the ways Teledentistry can be provided (i.e. through live video call, secure electronic communication system, remote patient monitoring, mobile health), when it can be used, and the requirements needed for using Teledentistry. You may also find it helpful to speak with other Dental Professionals you know are providing Teledentistry services already.

It is also important to understand the suggested charge to the patient for Teledentistry calls. The Ontario Dental Association has suggested that dentists charge $76.00 for a 15-minute call (code: 05201).

Finding a Platform that Works: CONNECT2D TELEDENTISTRY

The next step is to find a platform that works for you and your dental office. The problem with many existing virtual platforms is that they were not built for Teledentistry services and simply act as a communication device for the Dentist and Patient. An App that was built by Dental Professionals such as CONNECT2D TELEDENTISTRY contains many dentist specific features that will positively impact your experience. This platform allows dentists to maintain their current patient base by increasing accessibility and availability and increasing new patient booking by accepting emergency requests from potential patients nearby.

CONNECT2D TELEDENTISTRY is a PHIPA and PIPEDA compliant platform, meaning that it is compliant with federal and provincial privacy compliance laws as well as RCDSO’s rules and regulations. The platform not only allows you to initiate Teledentistry calls but allows you to store patient’s chart, write clinical notes, prescribe medications, and schedule in-office appointments on a secure cloud. A 3D virtual teeth model and access to the patient’s flashlight is also available at your convenience to provide education and a more comprehensive call.

A dentist on the app will also get paid to accept new Patient requests for bookings. This is a great opportunity to increase your patient pool as approximately 80% of emergency appointments will require an in-office appointment, with an average production earning of $650.00 per new patient treatment. Regardless of what platform you choose, it is essential to find one that provides the best dental care and experience for your patients, and also satisfies your specific needs.

Creating a Virtual Schedule

Once you have chosen a virtual platform, you will need to create and organize a virtual schedule for your patients. As you will likely be attending to in-office dental appointments during the day, you may want to schedule online Teledentistry consultations and follow-up appointments before or after office hours. Creating specific hours to be available for patients makes it easy to prevent double bookings/overlap and ensure that all your patients will be seen. Creating and keeping track of a virtual schedule can easily be done through the CONNECT2D TELEDENTISTRY App under the Appointments tab.

Making your First Teledentistry Call

When you make your first call, it is a good idea to have a trusted patient schedule a test appointment to work out any problems you may experience. Once all is good, it is time to start educating and promoting Teledentistry to current patients in your practice.

Educate Your Patients and Promote Teledentistry in Practice

As a dentist, it is extremely important to know your patients personally and understand their limitations and/or restrictions. After creating a virtual schedule, you will want to begin educating your patients on your new services and make clear the benefits of Teledentistry that they will experience. For example, if you have patients that live in residential homes, have a chronic disease, or lack access to reliable transportation, explaining that Teledentistry can save them the inconvenience of travel is important. This will prevent avoidable visits to the dental office and save trips only for necessary dental procedures. Making yourself available to patients for consultations, post-operative follow-up appointments, and dental emergencies outside of office hours creates more loyal patients and a better patient experience for them.

CONNECT2D TELEDENTISTRY has made this step incredibly simple for dentists onboard the app. Dentists can easily educate patients and promote Teledentistry in practice through promo codes, voicemail, email, and social media templates created by CONNECT2D TELEDENTISTRY. You can provide your current patients with a promo code that gives them free access to the platform, send out our provided email explaining how to connect virtually, as well as adding the logo or App link to the App store on your website to direct patients into scheduling Teledentistry appointments. Overall, our goal is to ensure that connecting with your patients is simple while increasing communication, patient retention, and the productivity of your time.

Concluding Thoughts

Implementing Teledentistry into your practice is a decision you will not regret. Not only will it benefit your practice as it decreases overhead costs and opens up chair time, but it will also benefit your patients and their overall experience with your practice.

References

Kitchen, E. (2020, June 15). Telemedicine adoption and preferences during COVID-19 and beyond. Doctor.Com. https://www.doctor.com/blog/telemedicine-today-patient-adoption

 

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