Amid the COVID-19 health emergency that has swept over the world, dentists have been navigating the previously unchartered territory of teledentistry at a breakneck pace. Leveraging this technology, dentists are actively helping their patients get the necessary care.
From triaging their patients who need emergency care to preventing disruptions in the orthodontic treatment flow, teledentistry is turning out to be highly advantageous to the dentists and their patients.
Though the technology has received positive feedback from all quarters, the important question to answer here is – what lies in store for the teledentistry technology once the world is free from the shadows of the pandemic?
COVID-19 and dentistry: looking at the impact
The present healthcare crisis has led to a wider adoption of teledentistry. It has let patients discuss their dental concerns or problems safely with the dentists from the comfort of their home. Amidst the global lockdowns, teledentistry has ensured that patient care never suffers.
Moreover, relaxation of regulations regarding teledentistry has made most insurance carriers acknowledge the advantages that come with the use of this technology and support claim settlement for such integrated care models that were not standard in the past.
Thus, loads of dentists have used teledentistry to offer virtual care in the pandemic, and they are completely happy with the result. But what comes next when the pandemic is over?
Teledentistry: The next phase of dentistry and dental care
Most of the dental care professionals who have used teledentistry will proclaim without hesitation that this technology is the next phase of innovation in dentistry. They believe in the outstanding potential of the technology in upgrading dental treatments in future.
Now, the pandemic is not going to bid goodbye anytime soon. The in-office check-ups are going to get sparse. At this stage, the potential for the teledentistry technology is pretty evident.
In fact, now is the time to formulate and innovate a new model for oral healthcare – something that is impartial, affordable, and efficient for everyone. The industry has been witnessing how telehealth application and adoption is rapidly getting instrumental for the dentists trying to offer care based on whole-person condition and disease prevention.
Going by the estimates of tab32, with the industry starting to go for value-based healthcare, teledentistry can offer added revenue and improve the access to dental care for existing and new patients. Also, the trend can mitigate costs by offering access to primary and preventive care. It keeps patients of non-emergency cases away from the ED.
Progressive organizations need to search for newer solutions and technologies that can streamline the workflow and make caregiving more effective. For instance, including high-end dental software in the teledentistry platform might make data management a lot easier than before.
Policy changes for a brighter future of teledentistry
With teledentistry models expanding consistently, long-term policy chances are required for a wider adoption of teledentistry-based care coordination and preventive services.
Oral healthcare providers and state lawmakers need to act without missing a beat to ensure that the policies formulated here onward permit the dental professionals to offer telehealth services and update reimbursement policies. The aim is to let both public and private insurance carriers cover remote patient-provider interactions through store-and-forward or conventional ways.
The final note
As teledentistry is being leveraged as one of the limited-time solutions amidst the pandemic, it is also necessary to ensure that it’s durable enough to become a crucial part of the entire dental ecosystem in future. Dentists need to be actively on the lookout to innovate and adopt telehealth practices. So, it is important to take the required steps, and the time to take those steps is now!