Search Dental Tribune

Redefining the patient experience with teledentistry

E-Newsletter

The latest news in dentistry free of charge.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Teledentistry means greater efficiency in care, according to oral health provider Advantage Dental. (Photo: MouthWatch)
Dental Tribune USA

By Dental Tribune USA

Wed. 30 March 2022

save

Oral health provider Advantage Dental recently exceeded its 2021 goal of shifting 5 percent of appointments to teledentistry encounters. For 2022, Advantage is increasing its goal to shifting 7 percent of all appointments to teledentistry encounters.

Advantage Dental is comprised of 70-plus practices, more than 200 providers and more than 800 support employees throughout six states. Its network of practices provides care to more than a quarter of a million patients annually. A key driver of a virtual-first care transformation is the patient experience.

Meeting patient needs for convenience and care

According to Advantage Dental:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 patients (86 percent) said they were satisfied with their overall teledentistry experience.
  • 86 percent said they would use teledentistry again.
  • 95 percent said they were “able to speak freely with the dentist and ask questions” when they used teledentistry.
  • 93 percent reported being able “to easily understand what the dentist told me about my concern.”
  • 86 percent said they would recommend teledentistry to another person.

In-office procedures effectively prepped by teledentistry

The most common procedures for the first post-teledentistry, in-person dental encounter during the 2021 rollout of teledentistry services at Advantage were:

  • Periodic or comprehensive examinations: 56 percent.
  • Extractions: 9 percent.
  • Restorations: 6 percent.
  • Sealants: 3 percent.
  • Other: 26 percent.

Teledentistry also means greater efficiency in care

Reducing patient travel needs while also reducing in-office visit costs with lower overhead teledentistry appointments makes sense for both group practices and patients they serve.

Here is more data about patient experiences during the teledentistry rollout at Advantage:

  • Seven in 10 patients had an in-person dental visit within a week of their teledentistry visit.
  • 69 percent reported that their concern was taken care of during the teledentistry visit.
  • Nearly one-third (31 percent) reported they didn’t need in-office care following their teledentistry appointment.

After the initial pilot phase, the program was expanded to include providers and office staff for a broad range of appointments, including preventative care, post-operative care, treatment plan presentation, specialist referrals and more.

The cost of treating patients with teledentistry as part of their care was 11 percent lower annually than that of dental patients seen exclusively in person.

TeleDent is the teledentistry platform currently used in all virtual synchronous video patient encounters across more than 70 Advantage Dental locations with 350 care providers and support staff and more than 5,000 registered patients.

Learning more

Teledentistry creates opportunities for efficiency, convenience and better outcomes by allowing providers and patients to communicate remotely across every step of a dental health journey. Communication and data sharing can be between providers, for instance in the case of a specialist referral or a medical-dental referral. Or the communication can be between patient and provider, for instance, a patient reaching out with a concern via telehealth or the provider sending a digital treatment plan for review.

In either case, provider-provider or patient-provider, teledentistry happens in two modes, recognized by official CDT codes.

Live video conferencing and/or a livestream of data such as an intraoral camera feed connects providers and patients. Examples include:

  • A live video consultation with image capture of patient’s area of concern from their smartphone.
  • A patient-provider consultation for a post-op follow up.
  • A specialist and GP combined consultation with a patient while patient is in GP’s chair.

Examples of asynchronous teledentistry include:

  • An on-site provider, such as a hygienist at a community outreach touchpoint, captures patient and exam data that can be batched and triaged by a remote dentist.
  • A dentist sends a digital treatment plan and recommendations to a remote patient.
  • A patient securely messages images and a description of the concerns to their dentist.

Teledentistry codes are combined with the procedure codes where applicable for reimbursements. Depending on state regulations, those can include D0140, D0171, D0350, D0703, D1330 and others.

The positive impacts teledentistry can provide go beyond reimbursement. Practitioners can schedule a brief call with the teledentistry specialists at MouthWatch to hear about how teledentistry is creating digital transformation for groups such as Advantage Dental by going to www.mouthwatch.com/talk.

(Source: Advantage Dental)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

-