This year saw, across so many industries, that working from home continued to be an effective way for businesses to move forward and continue growing. Remote offices, virtual meetings and digital communication have become a part of everyday life for many people, including patients. In the dental industry, we saw practices and programs getting back on track with the incorporation of teledentistry as a permanent facet of their operations and patient experience. It is clear that the convenience teledentistry offers is something that both patients and providers want long-term.
A Look Back at Dentistry
The emergence of COVID taught the world many things, ranging from the importance of taking time with friends and family to the realization that many things can be accomplished in new ways through technology. Corporations and legislative organizations have realized the benefits to overall patient care when teledentistry is incorporated, and have made strides to adopt legislation and embrace the technology. Texas is a great example of a state that recently adopted the verbiage and endorsed teledentistry as part of their Dental Practice Act and introduced legislation defining how it can be used by providers.
The atmosphere of dentistry is ever-changing and more dentists are becoming affiliated with DSOs and Group Practices. According to the ADA, the growing DSO affiliation trend is experiencing rapid growth. Across a range of practice types, there has been increased popularity of “membership” plans, in place of traditional dental insurance, gaining traction in the consumer market.
Dental professionals transitioned to virtual CE in 2020, and 2021 brought in-person and tradeshows tip-toeing back to the market. Between vaccines and health precautions, some of our favorite trade shows have returned and we enjoyed connecting with friends and colleagues once more.
MoutWatch was honored as the recipient of several awards this year including the Cellerant Best In Class Technology Award for TeleDent, the DentalTown Townie Choice Award for our MouthWatch Intraoral Camera, and more. We are grateful for awards like these as they create and raise awareness for companies and technologies that are dedicated to transforming healthcare.
MouthWatch recognizes the dental professionals who continue to move forward through the pandemic with grace and passion. Through the creation of the Mobile Accelerator Award, we recognized 5 well-deserving programs that strived to make a difference in their communities.
We believe teledentistry will be a defining service in the future of dentistry, just as dental and dental hygiene students are the future faces. New in 2021, in conjunction with ADEA, MouthWatch created two scholarship opportunities to award forward thinking students who will undoubtedly care for their communities.
Changing the Game, again
This year, we introduced our game-changing HD intraoral camera, the MouthWatch Plus+. The MouthWatch Plus+ is True1080p HD, capturing 2,073,600 pixels in true anatomical color and streams live video at an industry-leading 60 FPS (frames per second). We have always believed that dental professionals should not have to choose technology that is either high-quality or affordable – with MouthWatch, you can have both.
Teledentistry Paving the Way of Patient Care
TeleDent, our teledentistry solution has continued to evolve and strive for excellence in the market. This past year introduced a wide range of features and enhancements, including an updated patient portal, improved patient intake form, the ability to interact with patients and providers via email and SMS/text message through a secure and encrypted platform to ensure sensitive PHI is protected and more.
Integration with practice management software has been a mission of the TeleDent team in 2021, making teledentistry as seamless with your workflow as possible. The addition of a case feature allows providers across multiple touch points to ensure the patient is visible to all. The integration of medical and dental for whole patient care is an evolving concept that 2021 has continued to bring to the forefront, TeleDent allows for collaboration across both disciplines.
Combined with an enhanced and secure live virtual operatory feature and customized professional services, TeleDent focuses on the provider and patient experience.
An Eye To the Future
As we reflect on the experience of 2021, we are grateful and excited for what the future holds, both for MouthWatch and teledentistry. We believe the profession will continue to evolve to collaborate with medical professionals through the use of technology.
Individual states, legislature, dental boards and insurance carriers are recognizing the benefits teledentistry brings to providers and the general public. The adoption and reimbursement of teledentistry has grown steadily over the past year and MouthWatch anticipates that to continue.
Once again we will be recognizing dental professionals who have incorporated teledentistry in innovative ways for patient care, by recognizing them at the Tellie Awards. Stay tuned in January for the announcement and introduction of the leaders in industry.
Thank you for helping to make 2021 such a great year. We are looking forward to 2022 and all of the exciting things to come!