In today’s ever-changing world, access to digital tools and virtual services is more than just a perk – it is an incredibly beneficial service that has the potential to increase patient retention and provide expanded areas of service. From initial meet-and-greet appointments with brand new patients to essential checkups and post-op evaluations, tele-dentistry is a service opportunity that takes patient care in the time of Covid and beyond to an entirely new level.
Tele-dentistry can be used to provide consistent training, to improve overall quality control within your practice, and to serve patients right in their homes. DSOs and dental groups alike can benefit from this technology and the use of other digital practice management tools. No matter where your practice may be located, utilizing third-party vendors to assist with training, ongoing education, patient management, and business development is an excellent way to bolster your practice without spending a fortune (or a ton of time) developing custom solutions.
Consistent Training Opportunities
While much of tele-dentistry revolves around patient management and virtual patient care, there is also the potential for a sizeable ongoing education component that should not be overlooked. Whether you need to gain a certain number of continuing education hours each year or whether you need to keep newer staff members up to date on current best practices, virtual learning opportunities allow you to learn at your own pace while still retaining access to top of the line education materials.
Depending on the software or tools you choose to implement in your practice, you may find that you can access information to help keep you and your staff on the forefront of dental technology and best practices – all from the comfort of your office. While this certainly will not be taking the place of in-person education (at least in the near future), it is nevertheless an incredibly effective tool to have at your disposal.
Not only that, but virtual tools can also provide ongoing evaluation and quality control measures that would otherwise be difficult to track.
Quality Control and Workflow Improvement
The ability to reduce clerical errors and streamline patient data management are just a few of the benefits of tele-dentistry software. If you have ever found yourself frustrated at charting errors or hampered by disjointed communication within your practice, you will find that the quality control and workflow improvements gained by transitioning to a digital management solution are well worth the time and financial investments required to get such a tool up and running. When you operate off of a secure, well-managed virtual system, you will find over time that staff management and clerical errors decline, while your practice’s ability to serve patients increases thanks to less time being spent managing paperwork and tracking data.
Much like project management systems help keep corporations and creative agencies in line, a well-executed tele-dentistry program can have countless positive ramifications on your practice and your patients.
Virtual Patient Services
Even if the above-mentioned benefits were removed, tele-dentistry tools would still be an incredible asset for DSOs, dental groups, and individual dental practices based solely on their ability to help dentists and their teams provide next-level care to their patients, no matter where they may be located or whether or not they can come into the office for an in-person visit. Remote patient monitoring, health screenings, general oral health evaluations, and even follow up visits can all be conducted virtually, allowing patients to receive care from home. This is an efficient way for practices to offer care to the maximum number of patients possible (the transition time between each patient is typically lowered) while not sacrificing the quality of that care. During times when public health and safety practices limit the ability of people to travel to in-person appointments, it also provides a patient care alternative that is safe, effective, and stress-free.
Specific instances in which virtual patient care could be especially beneficial include in-school programs, rural locations, and underserved populations and areas with increased instances of homebound patients (this includes elderly patients and those in long-term care facilities. So long as the patient has access to an Internet connection, the DSO or dental group can easily access patient files and provide care no matter where they are located in relation to the patient.
It is important to note, however, that all staff involved with virtual patient care will need to pay increased attention to HIPPA policies and processes. With so much personal, private information and records available at the click of a button, you will need to make sure that your entire staff is properly trained in regards to the best practices surrounding online patient care.
Top Teledentistry Solutions
RevenueWell is an incredibly robust tele-dentistry solution. Built specifically for dental practices, the software intuitively guides staff through the entire virtual care process, making it easy to create an account, manage patient information, and provide top-tier care without ever leaving the office. This tele-dentistry solution has a unique focus on building long-lasting patient relationships and has many built-in features (like birthday greetings, newsletters, automated follow-ups, ad even texting options) that make it an attractive patient management option for both individual practices and DSOs.
Likewise, SolutionReach offers an incredibly easy-to-use interface and a comprehensive patient management portal to small and large practices alike. For those looking to not just manage data and provide stellar virtual care but also to uncover additional revenue options and identify missed revenue opportunities, this tool is an incredible asset. Patients are afforded substantial control over their communication preferences, and the built-in electronic billing reminders have been proven to reduce collections by up to 23 percent.
No matter where your dental service provider group or standalone dental practice is located, you may benefit from looking into implementing a virtual patient care program. Technology advancements, increased access to high-speed internet, and even growing acceptance of virtual connection options thanks to the recent pandemic have all combined to create an environment that is perfect for making the leap to the digital side of dental care.