With an increasing number of healthcare professionals across the globe implementing telehealth and teledentistry, it’s vital to examine the opportunities these platforms can create for patients and providers alike. During an interview on the Savvy Dentist podcast hosted by Dr. Jesse Green, MouthWatch Founder, and CEO Brant Herman discussed the opportunities teledentistry creates and what MouthWatch’s teledentistry platform, TeleDent, is all about.
Connecting Patients and Providers
Brant recognized the need for a platform that helps practices connect and communicate visual information with their patients long before the pandemic prompted dental providers to seek innovative solutions. Before the birth and development of teledentistry, patients rarely communicated with their dentists outside of in-office appointments. In addition to this limit on provider-patient communication, Brant also saw the opportunity for improved efficiency of in-office initial consultations, evaluations, and post-operative check-ins, or appointments in general which didn’t require performing procedures.
As he outlines in the interview, MouthWatch’s teledentistry platform, TeleDent, was born from a vision of lowering costs, maximizing in-office production, and providing more convenient and accessible care options for both patients and dentists. Today, as Brant describes to Dr. Green, TeleDent enables practices to engage with patients and other providers conveniently and securely throughout the entire patient journey.
Efficiency for All
Brant and Dr. Jesse Green went on to discuss how, in addition to offering more capacity, TeleDent enables dental professionals to improve their practice’s efficiency—while at the same time creating convenience for their patients.
As Brant noted in a recent interview about deploying teledentistry, “you’re creating efficiency that today’s patients are craving.” Instead of patients taking two hours off from work for a limited evaluation or post-op appointment, they can speak with their provider from their work desk for 10 minutes and get the same quality of care as an in-office appointment.
This convenience draws today’s patients to dental professionals who have offerings like teledentistry that make patients’ busy lives easier and less stressful.
Providing Dental Homes
With an increasing number of patients on Medicaid and a decreasing number of providers and dentists accepting it, getting patients into dental homes is as challenging as ever. Teledentistry helps “increase access to care, enabling providers to bring more patients into dental homes without physically bringing them into the office,” Brant explained. Providers and dentists who offer virtual screenings and consultations can bring new patients into dental homes and coordinate treatment plans at a much earlier point in the disease process, leading to better patient outcomes.
Teledentistry also helps dental professionals reduce new patient lag time and build trusting provider-patient relationships, where patients feel comfortable with their new provider and confident in treatment recommendations. With new appointments being booked weeks or even months in advance, establishing an initial touchpoint with prospective patients is often very difficult. This lag time can prolong access to evaluation and treatment, leading to worse patient outcomes that could have been prevented if they had been seen at an earlier point.
In addition to better health outcomes, patients are also much more likely to follow through with an appointment booked a few weeks out because they’ve had an initial touchpoint using teledentistry and built enough trust to feel comfortable with their new provider. Depending on your state’s practice act, the first meeting doesn’t even have to be with the dentist. Any representative of the practice could offer patients the information they need to feel comfortable and confident going into their first in-office visit.
Teledentistry continues to be adopted by dental professionals and organizations looking for an innovative, convenient, and efficient way to connect with their patients throughout the entire patient journey. Providing both prospective and existing patients with an easy-to-access virtual touchpoint makes accessing care faster and easier for patients, and in turn, allows their provider to treat the issue at an earlier point in the disease process, leading to better health outcomes. Learn more about how teledentistry can make patients’ busy lives easier and less stressful, and dentists’ practices more efficient in the full Savvy Dentist podcast.