As we proceed to navigate the continued impacts of the COVID-19 public well being emergency and look towards the long run, the long-term advantages of telehealth for each suppliers and sufferers have gotten evident, together with in oral well being care. The worth of teledentistry was mentioned at size within the December 2021 Highlight on Cellular and Teledentistry in Dental Economics.1 Worth issues for teledentistry embrace the flexibility to make use of expertise to enhance affected person entry to dental providers at a price that’s reasonably priced for sufferers and lowers overhead prices for dental practices.
This worth proposition was demonstrated early within the COVID-19 pandemic, when in-person visits had been restricted and plenty of dental suppliers included teledentistry into their practices to make sure they may proceed to assist sufferers entry care, triage their wants, and talk about therapy suggestions. And whereas teledentistry was thought to enhance entry and cut back prices, analysis on it was restricted—particularly on the varieties of follow-up therapies offered after a teledentistry go to.
To deal with this hole, CareQuest Institute for Oral Well being—a number one nationwide nonprofit targeted on making a extra accessible, equitable, and built-in oral well being system—checked out CDT code dental claims knowledge on oral well being outcomes in a pattern of about 60,000 sufferers with in-person or teledentistry visits.
The outcomes of that analysis2 point out that teledentistry can enhance entry to oral well being care and reduce prices, each now and after the pandemic.
1: Teledentistry care is well-suited to triage sufferers and maximize chair time
CareQuest Institute knowledge present that teledentistry was a well-utilized and useful instrument for affected person care throughout the peak of the pandemic and led to well timed in-person
Of the survey pattern, 3,562 (5.9%) sufferers had a teledentistry go to. Of these, 97% had follow-up in-person visits, most of which (60%) occurred inside three weeks after their preliminary digital go to. Observe-up care after a teledentistry go to primarily consisted of diagnostic and restorative providers and fewer typically consisted of preventive care. In line with the info, six out of 10 people who had a teledentistry go to subsequently had a problem-focused analysis at their subsequent in-person go to.
Those that had a teledentistry go to had been extra prone to have restorative care (minor and main), diagnostic providers, prosthodontic care, or an oral surgical procedure or endodontic process at their first in-person go to than those that didn’t have a teledentistry go to (determine 1).
Whereas much less frequent, teledentistry stimulated using preventive care, resembling oral hygiene instruction and dietary counseling, throughout the digital go to and caries threat evaluation throughout follow-up. Offering providers resembling caries threat evaluation, affected person training, or setting self-management targets by teledentistry extra typically and even routinely permits for better utilization of preventive care and empowers sufferers to higher handle their oral well being.
These findings show that suppliers can use teledentistry to efficiently talk with sufferers, triage affected person wants, and plan in-person visits extra effectively. Importantly, triaging care by teledentistry permits strategic use of chair time to offer extra definitive and concerned procedures, resembling oral surgical procedure, endodontic procedures, and restorative care.
2: Teledentistry visits get monetary savings in comparison with in-person visits
Teledentistry additionally permits for price financial savings, a key piece of offering value-based care. The CareQuest Institute examine2 suggests price financial savings of roughly
3: Teledentistry advantages sufferers with much less entry to care
The examine discovered teledentistry allowed people in rural areas to entry dental care extra simply. Slightly than touring lengthy distances for preventive or easy diagnostic providers, sufferers had been in a position to obtain restorative or different definitive therapies once they traveled to the dental workplace for in-person care. In line with the analysis, teledentistry was extra typically utilized by people residing in rural areas (13%) in comparison with these residing in suburban (10%) or city (6%) areas.
4: Dental professionals are prepared to just accept teledentistry
The examine outcomes introduced above come on the heels of a CareQuest Institute report that builds on findings from three surveys of dental workforce members in Oregon and Washington throughout teledentistry implementation.3 These surveys explored how attitudes towards teledentistry modified over the course of six months
Within the surveys, greater than three-quarters of the suppliers believed that using a teledentistry platform elevated entry to look after sufferers.
Roughly half of suppliers agreed that using a teledentistry platform elevated affected person satisfaction and helped shorten affected person wait occasions to get an appointment. Many agreed that utilizing teledentistry can assist in offering correct diagnoses, prescribing medicine, and making referrals. Additional, nearly 85% of suppliers mentioned dental professionals are prepared to just accept teledentistry as a care supply methodology.
The survey outcomes present that dental suppliers are open to teledentistry, and that it could play an important position in rising entry to care and bettering high quality of care.
5: Teledentistry can present long-term advantages to suppliers and sufferers
These new items of analysis point out that dental groups can use teledentistry to help complete, built-in care that improves high quality at a decrease price to the affected person and the supplier. Teledentistry is a superb instance of value-based care, because it has the potential to extend entry to care much less expensively.
Past the pandemic, teledentistry holds nice promise to enhance and enhance entry to dental care. Suppliers can use the modality to allow complete, risk-based, and built-in care that improves high quality at a decrease price.
Editor’s notice: This text appeared within the June 2022 print version of Dental Economics journal. Dentists in North America are eligible for a complimentary print subscription. Sign up here.
- Croley DW. The worth teledentistry visits convey to dentists and their sufferers. Dental Economics. December 9, 2021. Accessed March 7, 2022. https://www.dentaleconomics.com/macro-op-ed/article/14213045/the-value-teledentistry-visits-bring-to-dentists-and-their-patients
- Heaton LJ, Thakkar-Samtani M, McLeod CD, Tranby EP. Teledentistry helps present the appropriate care on the proper time. CareQuest Institute for Oral Well being. February 2022. doi:10.35565/CQI.2022.2001 https://www.carequest.org/resource-library/teledentistry-helps-provide-right-care-right-time
- Crouch B, McLeod CD, Kelly A, Tranby EP. Oral well being professionals are prepared to just accept teledentistry. CareQuest Institute for Oral Well being. September 2021. doi:10.35565/CQI.2021.2042 https://www.carequest.org/resource-library/oral-health-professionals-are-ready-accept-teledentistry