Telehealth and teledentistry are quickly growing in popularity. Primary care physicians have been quick to adopt telehealth, with a variety of family physicians and specialists moving online. Some dental practices have made the leap to provide video appointments and telehealth services, while others remain on the fence. With numerous benefits and affordable options for both patients and practitioners, we believe all dentists should embrace the new telehealth movement.
What is remote teledentistry?
According to American Teledentistry, teledentistry is the use of communication technologies such as interactive audio, video, data communications to provide and support dental care. Teledentistry can encompass all areas of dental care, including: diagnosis, consultation, treatment, transfer of dental information and education.
Smartphones and HD cameras have made it possible for dentists to evaluate and diagnose dental diseases via the internet. In cases where physical treatment is required, patients can seamlessly book appointments using telehealth software. For more urgent situations, quick consultations via video-conferencing or phone calls can provide clarity of the situation and help plan out an immediate solution.
The benefits of telehealth and teledentistry are both patient-centered and practitioner-centered. Teledentistry is especially useful for rural or underserved populations, older populations, or any other individuals who have trouble with mobility.
For the patients, teledentistry can provide a wide range of benefits, including:
- Reduce or eliminate travel time and costs
- Improved access to care
- Higher quality of care
- Potential for lower cost of care
Teledentistry appointments have the potential to save patients from making unnecessary trips to the emergency room. A quick virtual dental appointment can allow patients to have peace of mind about their health concerns. On the other hand, teledentistry can also provide patients guidance on how urgent their health concerns are. This is especially useful for individuals who live far from hospitals or have mobility issues. Additionally, some patients simply prefer remote teledentistry and the modern experience that goes along with it.
For healthcare providers, teledentistry offers the following benefits:
- More potential to influence healthcare decision making
- Reduction in overhead costs
- Better patient-physician relationships
Some telehealth platforms like NexHealth also offer marketing tools to grow your practice, retain patients, and modernize the dental experience. Additionally, implementing the right teledentistry software can simplify your operations and save time and stress for your staff. Teledentistry platforms can bring all of your current patient management systems together on one dashboard. This helps simplify billing, reviews, booking, marketing initiatives, and more.
One of the top concerns about telehealth services is confidentiality. In order to provide top-notch healthcare that’s HIPAA-compliant, dentists need a way to discreetly communicate with their patients.
Discreet email messaging is essential for telehealth services, but most patients appreciate the ability to communicate via SMS as well. 98% of text messages are read by patients and prospects, making SMS an efficient and time-saving way to get in touch with patients. To help improve patient communication, dental practices should consider embracing modern ways of communicating with their patients to increase growth and retention.
Telehealth systems combine all of the moving parts of your practice online in a simple dashboard. With the right teledentistry service, you can book online appointments, automatically send patient reminders, and collect online payments — all from one software.
Most appointments are booked outside of office hours, so it’s important to allow potential patients the option to book online at any time. It’s important that your telehealth system bi-directionally syncs with your current practice management software. This allows patients to book 24/7/365 without any scheduling conflicts or manual action from your staff.
Eliminating the constant phone-tag and manual follow-up communication can save your staff time and stress. Automatic reminders can be edited and personalized based on your guidelines and brand image.
A good telehealth system doesn’t just send appointment reminders, but also follows up with no-show patients and allows them to rebook their appointments themselves.
When looking at telehealth and teledentistry systems, you should seriously consider what the online payment process looks like. For example, at NexHealth, patients can pay online without having to log-in or jump through hoops. This is part of the reason why 80% of patients using NexHealth pay within 10 business days.
To save time, payment systems can also be automated. Advanced teledentistry software is capable of reading treatment plans, analyzing how much the patient owes, discreetly messaging the patient their itemized bill, and then updating your ledger when the process is complete.
On top of being easy-to-use for both patients and dentists, telehealth systems need to be HIPAA compliant.
Not all telehealth platforms are created equal. Some systems have more features than others, such as:
- ASAP lists
- Advanced reporting
- Syncing abilities with your current EHR/Practice Management Software
- Build custom features with a healthcare API (NexHealth exclusive)
NexHealth is a complete teledentistry platform
If you’re looking to take your dental practice digital, then NexHealth is your all-in-one solution. NexHealth doesn’t just help you take your practice online, it gives you the tools, like real-time online booking, to grow your dental practice.
As you already know, teledentistry is a supplement to your existing physical practice, not a replacement. A complete telehealth service like NexHealth simply provides you with another means of growth and provides your patients with an alternative way to get specialized care. Just for those reasons alone, all dentists should be embracing (or at least considering) telehealth services for their practice.
Implementing a teledentistry service doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. In fact, it’s quite the opposite! NexHealth is built to integrate with your current practice seamlessly, regardless of what software and procedures you use currently. Are you considering implementing teledentistry in your practice? We want to help.
For a limited time, NexHealth is offering free telehealth services through the Covid-19 pandemic. Learn more.