Teledentistry is to mobile dentistry what peanut butter is to jelly – you don’t really want to have one without the other…
Yes, they can stand alone, but together the two components harmoniously work together to make something that’s good, even better.
Here’s what we know – mobile delivery of healthcare services has been around for decades predominantly in the non-profit and charitable public health niche. In stark contrast, the idea of virtual dental services is brand new and still very much in the newborn stages. But in our technology-driven, fast-paced, gig-economy world, the marriage of this innovative technology to an age-old method of delivering care has set the dental industry on a course that will help improve the experience for both patient and provider alike.
Here are just a few of the many reasons why teledentistry and mobile dentistry are a perfect match:
1. Together, mobile dentistry and teledentistry enhance one another.
The introduction of the CDT teledentistry codes in 2018 was a pivotal moment for dentistry. While our medical colleagues adopted telehealth technology years ago, our industry is notoriously slower to adopt new things. The bottom line is cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant technology, coupled with innovative teledentistry platforms, affordable intraoral cameras, and a shift in patient mindset have all come together at the perfect time to help usher in a new way of thinking. Instead of the age-old theory of having the patient come to a fixed location, it is now economical, affordable, and practical to consider taking services to the patient.
2. Together, they expand patient reach.
As a practice owner, how many times have you brainstormed new ways to reach more patients? As a dental hygienist, how many times have you taken part in practice-wide initiatives meant to bring in more patients? Thanks to teledentistry technology, the traditional dental practice is no longer restrained by the number of ops or square footage of the building; instead, each practice has limitless capabilities to expand care beyond the four fixed walls while still being closely and virtually connected to the mobile care provider. While adding evening and weekend hours to a practice is always great, taking care to the patient addresses other barriers and allows for an easier way to access oral care.
3. Together, they enable new opportunities.
Let’s face it, the repetitive, clinical nature of dentistry can get old, real fast. We see the same patient every six months, in the same tiny op, with the same team members day in and day out. While the routine does provide security, how many of our colleagues are itching to try something new? Adopting mobile dentistry with a telehealth component is a great way to change things up and create new opportunities for growth among a team, perhaps even leading to a boost in overall morale.
Believe it or not, there was a time when peanut butter existed without jelly by its side. And even though the same goes with mobile dentistry, the introduction of teledentistry technology now allows mobile delivery to be easier than ever before.
Together, they are a perfect match.
To learn more about how for-profit and non-profit organizations can implement mobile delivery and teledentistry, be sure to attend the first annual National Mobile Dentistry Conference on February 28-29, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. The first of its kind, this event will bring industry leaders and mobile experts under one roof to help usher in a new movement in dentistry. With over 15 hours of educational courses, attendees will learn about the latest in technology, how to begin providing mobile services, what it takes to scale a mobile organization, and more. To find out more, visit www.nmdconference.com.
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MELISSA TURNER, BASDH, RDH, EFDA, has practiced clinically across the country. She launched I Heart Mobile Dentistry, a Facebook support group for clinicians practicing mobile dentistry, and is co-founder of the National Mobile Dentistry Conference.