Workflows. Yes, it’s a buzzword these days in dentistry. But you might be missing the substance, especially related to mobile dentistry and teledentistry use if you count it out.
Let’s add some depth to the whole workflow conversation as it applies to virtual dental care. Prepare to discover (or be reminded) that a teledentistry workflow is way more than video conferencing and messaging.
First, some history
Teledentistry has been around for over 10 years. The COVID-19 pandemic increased its relevance…and here we are today.
The early days of teledentistry use focused most on reaching underserved patients in rural and some urban areas. The virtual workflows were somewhat simple:
- Treatment plan
Keeping those fundamental applications, teledentistry has evolved as a substantial platform for a variety of services. It’s also gained the trust of the American Dental Association (ADA), dental insurance providers, and countless dentists, specialists, and ultimately patients - who value its security and convenience.
What about teledentistry workflows?
Your patient scheduling workflow
Your practice probably has a handle on how to prioritize your patient appointments. You’re also accustomed to working with schedule blocks and you might even go so far as to have a template for doing so.
You give up some scheduling “real-estate” to high priority appointments (approximately 75%). And you reserve some space for low priority appointments (25% on average).
You also reserve some schedule margin for dental emergencies.
Patient care triage is scheduling territory for your teledentistry platform. Keep in mind by using the term “platform” we have in mind a much more robust application of the service than mere video communication.
With the platform perspective in mind here’s what you should expect from a teledentistry and mobile dentistry scheduling workflow.
Teledentistry software that’s equipped for all aspects of efficient appointment scheduling.
The following apply to you (the provider) and your patients.
- Appointment notifications
- Advanced communication between you and your patient (e.g. relevant images from the patient, health history, etc)
- Simple and easy teledentistry platform launch process
Patient-facing communication portal within the teledentistry platform
Online scheduling and secure information sharing capability helps maintain in-office efficiency and a good patient experience. The optimum teledentistry solution will be capable of facilitating online registration and allow attachment of necessary appointment related forms.
- Customizable patient forms
- A designated patient portal for forms and secure information sharing
- Ongoing, secure access for your patient to update their information (e.g. health history, etc) as necessary.
Patient referrals and provider to specialist collaboration workflows
Synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (stored content) teledentistry gives access to all involved in a patient’s care. A fully equipped teledentistry platform has benefit to the key relationships that care involves.
- Dental hygienists (in-house or in the field via mobile dentistry)
- Oral surgeons
- Medical providers
- Emergency personnel
You and your patients can benefit from a seamless and time-saving introduction to any of the above and more. As teledentistry innovation evolves you will want to be equipped with a platform that understands these essential care-based relationships.
Record sharing, case review and case presentations, treatment planning, scheduling, etc. can be shared via a secure, dedicated teledentistry platform.
An additional layer of collaboration could also include study clubs and other social media-like environments. Each can reside within a teledentistry platform that has those features built-in.
Case presentation and case acceptance workflows
Moving patients through their appointments or procedures requires new levels of efficiency. Time required for case presentations and gaining patient buy-in (though vital) can eat into your time margins.
The process cannot be rushed. But it also shouldn’t hold valuable time blocks hostage.
Teledentistry technology helps reduce time inefficiencies caused by case presentations. The virtual environment provides unique opportunities to maximize your schedule and lead to better case acceptance.
- Case related information can be shared synchronously (real-time) or asynchronously (stored/non-real-time). Patients can interact personally with you, a hygienist, or other clinical team member. Or they can review the relevant (asynchronous) information on their time ahead of a live/virtual or in-person consultation.
- Images, health history information, previous appointment data, etc can be securely shared and viewed virtually by your patient.
- A treatment plan and all case related forms can be delivered via your teledentistry platform. Patients can review, ask questions, and electronically sign all required paperwork - ahead of their in-office appointment.
Effective workflows like this one and the other’s mentioned can be supported by an adequately equipped teledentistry platform. Again, the word “platform” implies a full-featured virtual environment that scales beyond mere video and messaging features.
Check out these resources for an overview of teledentistry workflows and practical case usage:
Scalable workflows on a dedicated teledentistry platform
Teledentix is an innovative, turn-key teledentistry solution created by Virtual Dental Care. The all-in-one platform will enable you to adapt teledentistry to your patient care and extend your services beyond the walls of your dental practice…and improve your patient care in the process.
- Teledentix provides an easy-to-use video conferencing tool that’s secure, HIPAA compliant, and specific to dentistry.
- Teledentix Basic is a perfect starting point. Begin with a free trial and then transition to a very low monthly fee. You and your patients can join unlimited video conferences including screen-share, file-share, video-share, and real-time chat communications.
LEARN MORE about the Teledentix platform.