Guide to a Teledentistry Consultation Network

02.12.2021
| 4 min read

As with any new industry, teledentistry is struggling with definitions and the role clarity of new emerging players. Perhaps the biggest role-clarity confusion is seen when discussing a teledentistry consultation network.

There are networks of dentists who offer live video conferencing. There are networks of dentists that review uploaded photos. Almost none use their own software. Yet, they often portray that they do. Hence, they are often misperceived as software technology companies although develop little or no software.

There are software technology companies who claim their customers comprise a network, but they offer no traditional network capabilities. Again though, the industry sees them as a network company.

The confusion has caused otherwise sophisticated buyers to enter into agreements with entities who cannot meet their expectations.

For any potential customer of a teledentistry consultation network, e.g., payer, employer group, etc., below is a guide to assess the network management capabilities and software infrastructure capabilities of a best-in-class teledentistry software consultation network. 

Consultationnetworkmanagement

Consultation network management

  • Recruit, contract, and train providers
  • Adequate geographic coverage with licensed and credentialled providers
    • Supported with ongoing metrics and controls
  • Adequate capacity to handle your capacity
    • Supported with ongoing metrics and controls
  • Ongoing provider support and training
  • Quality controls
  • Maintenance of all provider credentialling
  • Bill insurances and patients on behalf of provider
  • Reporting

    SoftwareFunctionality

Software functionality required to support a successful teledentistry consultation network

For workflow management

  • Waiting room queue management
    • Supervisor console to view all waiting patients
    • Patient wait time management
      • Alerts to supervisor if waiting thresh holds are exceeded
    • Ability for CSR to chat, etc. if needed
  • Automatically notify appropriate dentists when patient enters waiting room
    • By state licensure, by payer credential
  • Make patient unavailable to others after a dentist initiates contact
  • Appointment schedule management for scheduled appointments
    • Supervisor admin view
    • Dentist assignment
    • Alerts and reminders to dentists and patients
      • Alert to supervisor if dentist misses appointment
    • Claim submission
    • Eligibility

For the consulting dentist

  • Secure login to provider portal
  • Electronic dental record (EDR) that can be securely shared
    • Automatically notes all communications history: video, video recordings, text, chat, email
    • Treatment data and progress notes formatted for integration with other applications
    • ePrescriptions
    • Patient educational materials
  • Provider specific reports

Referrals to in-network (preferred) dentists and non-network dentists (if patient requests)

  • Ability to create a network group of all or some subset of payer’s credentialled providers
    • Search by zip, city, etc.
    • GPS mapping
  • Share records, forms, etc. related to the video consultation
    • Unless patient requests that records be shared with a non-network dentist
      • At the end of the video conference, patient is asked to choose a dentist with whom to share records. Choices come from payer-provided group.
      • Referral is made. Dentist is informed via email which contains a link to the secure patient record.
      • Dentist can communicate with referring dentist, if desired, by video, chat, etc.
    • If OON provider is requested, the dentist is invited to join a separate OON group, and records are shared the same as above.

For the patient

  • Online registration
  • Web version and mobile apps
  • Support for responsible party, e.g., parent
  • Customizable forms with e-sign ability
  • Ability for patients to upload images, etc.
  • Ability to collect payment prior to appointment
  • Secure patient portal for all types of communication to patient
  • Enter virtual waiting room immediately or schedule a future appointment
  • Offer multiple appointment types, e.g., emergency consultation, 2nd opinion, etc.
  • Secure access to patient records
  • Patient satisfaction survey

For reporting

  • Reporting capabilities should be flexible to meet individual client needs, but minimally
    • # appointments
    • Average wait time
    • Reasons for service
      • Toothache
      • Infection
      • Gums
      • Broken Tooth
      • Wisdom Teeth
      • All Other
    • Disposition (Resolution)
      • See DDS during normal hours
      • Antibiotic Script
      • OTC Product
      • Other Scripts
      • Emergency Dental Referral
    • Average session length
    • Patient satisfaction rating

 

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