Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the need to find alternative measures for safe dental care have risen. Of course, much dental care still requires in person contact. But as we strive to find measures to find more socially distanced ways of dealing with everyday problems, teledentistry has recently come to the forefront of the industry.
Teledentistry is a type of telemedicine and is another method of delivering health care. With the help of teledentistry, patients can receive virtual health care from their providers, limiting the need for in-person contact. Telemedicine can involve anything from over-the-phone consultations, to live video chats, to electronic communications, and mobile assistance. In other words, it allows people to speak with their dentist without ever leaving the comfort of their own home. And with the Covid-19 pandemic in the forefront of our minds, teledentistry has become more of a necessity than ever.
Of course, teledentistry cannot replace hands-on dentistry but it is a great adjunct to your existing practice. But adding teldentistry to your practice, you can attract new patients and improve the access to care for existing patients. How can you incorporate teledentistry into your practice to improve care and boost revenue?
With patients not being able to visit the dental office like they normally would, or being too afraid to visit, revenue decreases. But with the help of teledentistry, it doesn’t have to. Not only can teledentistry help you to keep your revenue stream going, but it can also help you improve patient care, ensuring that each client gets one on one attention even if it isn’t directly in-office.
So how can you incorporate teledentistry into your practice?
Really getting the hang of teledentistry can take some time, but you can start to incorporate it into your practice in a few easy steps:
- Familiarize yourself with regulations. Like anything else within the dental practice, teledentistry has rules and regulations that need to be followed. With the being said, these rules and regulations can vary from state to state, so be sure to check with your dental governing board to ensure that you are up to date and knowledgeable with the proper procedures.
- Connect with others using teledentistry. Sometimes the best way to gain insight and information is to connect with others who are already doing what you want to do. So don’t be afraid to reach out to friends or colleagues who are already using teledentistry. Ask them what platforms they are using, how they are staying connected, and what tips and tricks they have. You might also want to consider joining groups, webinars, or using other online resources to learn more.
- Find a Platform that works. There’s several different platforms out there that you can use for teledentistry, but not all are made equally. There are lots of platforms out there designed to help connect you with your patients, but that don’t contain dentist specific features. To ensure that both you and your patients get the most out of their service, be sure to choose a platform that is designed specifically for the dentistry industry and that contains dentist specific features.
- Create a Virtual Schedule. It’s unlikely that you will be dedicating all of your time to teledentistry, as you will still have many patients that require in-office care too. But in order to accommodate both, you’ll need to create a teledentistry schedule that works for you. Will you do consultations before and after hours? Will you set aside a certain day just for teledentistry? Or maybe you’ll set aside a few hours a day? Working out a schedule that is specific to your needs can help to ensure that you don’t have any accidental overlap or double bookings.
- Educate your staff. Once you have trained yourself in the art of teledentistry, then it’s time to start educating your staff too.
- Incentivize your patients and attract new patients. Many of your patients may not even realize that you offer teledentistry options, so you may need to promote it yourself. Send out emails, create campaigns, and offer coupons or discounts for selecting teledentistry options. Use social media platforms to promote the teledentistry aspect of your practice.
The sad truth is, Covid-19 has irrevocably impacted our society. We must adapt to this new normal. And with the illness in the forefront of our minds, it’s important that we continue to implement procedures to prevent the spread and keep our clients and staff safe. One way we can do this as dentists is to provide our clients with teledentistry options. Not only can teledentistry help to slow the spread, but it can also improve patient care and boost our revenue.