The Rise of Telemedicine
Telemedicine isn’t new, but the COVID-19 pandemic has put the technology front and center. In the beginning of the pandemic when most offices were forced to close due to state government stay-at-home orders, telemedicine was the only way to still see patients. Even with regulations loosening up, some patients are continuing to opt for virtual appointments. Here are some ways that telemedicine will continue to affect dentistry.
Patients are the backbone of your business. If they prefer to have an appointment virtually, they will be more satisfied with their visit and your practice. Continuing to offer telemedicine services can lead to happier patients which could also mean more great reviews and referrals.
Conducting exams via the Internet will leave chairs open for people who are in for specific procedures or annual cleanings. This allows you to optimize your office’s schedule, leading to saving time and even money.
The overhead expense of intaking a patient online is far less than a traditional visit due to not needing the same equipment, staff, and utilities. You will be able to take in more patients without seeing an increase in expenses.
Individuals who don’t typically go to a traditional dentist’s office will find teledentistry easier to access. If your practice services rural areas, you may have patients driving up to an hour to see you. If they don’t have enough time to leave their home or work for their appointment, they will likely opt to not visit at all. Approximately 20 percent of Americans live in rural areas where they do not have easy access to dentists. When you utilize telemedicine, you can reach those people and provide care all while increasing your patient list.
Not to mention telemedicine will help tackle dental anxiety, or dental fear. According to one survey conducted on the market research platform DentaVox and taken by 18,000 people worldwide, 61 percent of the respondents said they’re suffering from dental fear. If you can get one of these patients to communicate from the comfort of their own home, they will be more at ease and possibly even feel confident enough to come into the office.
Unlike other healthcare practices, there is hands-on preventative work that needs to be done. This is a very obvious limiting factor as you can only use telemedicine for conducting basic exams or answering any questions and concerns. In the end, the patient is still going to have to come in for work to be done.
Nowadays, patients have a strong desire for fast and convenient services. To keep up with this demand, telemedicine is going to have to adjust to fit the needs of patients. As any technology, new features will come out making it, even more, user-friendly and efficient.
The bottom line is that telemedicine is here to stay, will continue to evolve, and is an excellent opportunity for your practice. There’s never been a better time for you to explore telemedicine and what it can do for the growth of your business.