How Teledentistry Can Improve Payer Network Relationships with Providers and Patients

04.30.2021
| 7 min read

A hand-extended-across-the-aisle. That’s a fitting analogy for the evolving relationship between dental insurance companies (payer networks) and teledentistry.

The path between each connects what could amount to thousands of potential relationships. That’s a win if you’re a dental provider and a win if you’re an insurance payer.

Teldentistry

Teledentistry as common-ground

This discussion probably wasn’t on your radar over 5 years ago. Though teledentistry, telehealth, and virtual care platforms have been around awhile COVID-19 awakened its potential.

And now that teledentistry is recognized as an innovative communication platform among providers (and payers) the potential is scaling.

As we speak, many dental insurance providers are rallying around teledentistry’s value to their industry. They’re advancing their services as early adopters of the expanding technology.

  • Improved care access for rural and underserved communities
  • A solution for dental anxiety that promotes use of dental benefits
  • Availability of palliative (supportive) care and urgent care triage

Payer investment potential for teledentistry integration

Most payers understand that not everyone in dentistry has bought into teledentistry. Some are slow to adopt the virtual capabilities. Others prefer the traditional, face-to-face patient experience.

Even so, providers and payer networks are seeing the investment potential of integrating teledentistry into their repertoire.

Indicators include:

  • Customer demand and expectation for the virtual service option via teledentisty
  • Parallel opportunities - medical (telehealth)…why not dental (teledentistry)?
  • Medical-dental collaboration within the virtual environment
  • Perception management - appearing more technically innovative than other competitors
  • Community-based care initiatives that utilize teledentistry as an access point

Generally, payer networks will continue to be drawn to dental providers who are networked around a virtual, teledentistry platform. Payers can now affiliate with those who are on the growing edge of teledentistry-based networks for dental professionals.

That connection will naturally evolve as more and more dental providers recognize the patient-facing value of teledentistry. The more on-board providers, the more profitable opportunity for payers.

PayerPathway

The payer “pathway” for teledentistry integration

The baseline outcome for dental payers is customer-based. Current and potential payer customers will resonate with those who recognize teledentistry’s capabilities and who have integrated it into their network.

Triage networks provide on-demand, 24/7 access to dentists

Payers can link up their website with member access to dentists. Questions, emergency care, and eventual in-office treatment are common benefits members appreciate.

Payers integrating teledentistry surpass the on-demand norm that puts the burden back on the patient to initiate the provider contact.

The teledentistry path solves two triage-based problems.

Continuity of care

Patients might postpone or disregard care simply because a prescribed medication took-the-edge-off. Or new providers lack patient health information and insight that’s essential to an on-demand appointment.

Treatment in (and out) of network

Also payers prefer that patients are treated in-network. Yet without specific guidance an out-of-network provider could enter the mix.

Referrals can be made directly along with record transfer to an in-network provider. Patients can choose from those near them.

A dedicated teledentistry environment can also provide easy access to the payer’s in-network group of providers. Assistance is available that includes provider notification via text and email, secure record sharing, and new provider information is shared with the patient.

Mobile teledentistry connects care providers and payers with community support opportunities

Community-based outreach gives providers another path to potential patients who would otherwise be under-served. Payers are also engaged there with foundations and/or charitable funding opportunities.

These community connections are catalysts for payer-provider relationships. Mobile technology utilizing a teledentistry platform delivers essential on-site care.

  • Preventive care and disease screenings enable diagnostic data to be gathered (x-rays, images, etc).
  • Follow-up review can be conducted by a licensed dentist to determine the need for further treatment and/or a related referral.

Medical-dental integration opens collaboration around general health and dental related emergencies

The collaborative relationship between medical and dental professionals can improve provider networks. Payers have a vested interest in two key areas:

  • The communication process between an in-network dentist and a medical professional regarding the patient’s medical condition. Secure communication on a teledentistry platform allows network members to discuss the case. Payers have communication access too as networked group members on the platform.
  • Capability to manage ER/Urgent Care visits that involve dental care. Linking to confirmed teledentistry providers gives the ER/Urgent Care secure access to diagnostic technology (e.g. intraoral cameras, etc).

Second opinions are another collaboration opportunity. Records can be requested directly on the teledentistry portal. Those connected on a dedicated, networked platform have a sort of “free-range” access per request to records necessary for a second opinion.

The second opinion solution is wide-open to payers. It’s a good time to take advantage of this provider collaboration area.

Overall, payer workflows will benefit from teledentistry savvy provider networks. Like care providers, payers can streamline their workflows - such as claims review - and more.

Virtual care networks far exceed the limited capabilities of one-on-one video tools. Professional relationships, collaboration, and payer-provider connections will continue to evolve when utilizing a teledentistry platform.

The time for collaborative, comprehensive healthcare management is available and evolving as we speak

The payer-provider solutions within a dedicated (and networked) teledentistry platform enables you to fully maximize your collaborative healthcare provider relationships.

The best way to explore the possibilities of the virtual environment from collaboration around triage and emergency care, to community-based mobile dentistry, and medical-dental collaboration (including second opinions)…

  • Get a member account with Teledentix and the Teledentix Healthcare Professional Community
  • Start interacting with others who get the value of a virtual venue

LEARN MORE about the Teledentix platform.

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