Patient Triage and Emergency Care Are Much Different When Teledentistry is Integrated

08.01.2021
| 8 min read

Among health oriented services, care and healing are the ultimate combination. That’s what makes teledentistry part of that powerful duo for patient triage and emergency care.

Dental emergencies for non-traumatic dental pain rank high among emergency room (ER) visits in many areas. Could some of those time and cost intensive ER trips have been eliminated?

DentistryERTreatmentStats

Dentistry via the ER

A dental related ER visit will often fall outside the trained confidence of a medical professional. Their training in oral health averages eight hours or less. [1]

Keep in mind that care costs for hospitals are much higher than those for dental offices. It follows that receiving dental care in an ER costs more for the patient.

”The ER is a more expensive option to care for dental pain, with 90% of patients not receiving the oral care needed. That means the patient is more likely to return to the ER.” [2]

The “math” reveals other cost related factors.

  • A dental emergency that’s diagnosed in an ER and that requires admission to the hospital could total (on average) approximately $46 thousand for a Medicaid patient. [3]
  • The ADA (American Dental Association) states that approximately 2 million ER visits each year in the United States are associated with dental pain. [4]
  • Cost estimations total $400 to $1500 per ER visit (compared with lower costs at a private dental practice). [5]

But what if an ER physician could collaborate with a dentist in real-time? Teledentistry makes that possible!

The triage factor

For example remote consultations with a dentist for Medicaid patients (in 2018) who “did not delay treatment or experience more serious emergency problems,” incurred less care costs. [6]

Also Medicaid patients who had treatment and utilized teledentistry experienced 10% less costs than those who were treated in-person (in 2018). [7]

The notable benefits of teledentistry for patient triage include:

  • Cost savings for reducing or eliminating unnecessary in-person examinations, diagnostic consults, and related procedures.
  • Patient screening that enables you to prioritize a patient’s condition and need for care.

The integration factor

Integrating dentistry with medical care has common ground in ER settings. Teledentistry collaboration in urgent care/ER facilities is a benefit to patients and providers.

  • Time efficiency is improved around real-time health record sharing between you (the dentist) and a medical provider.
  • Lab work can be requested and obtained in a more timely way.
  • Same day treatment confirmed via a virtual visit can be expedited saving patient’s time and costs (due to delayed and potentially worsening dental or health condition).
  • Virtual collaboration leading to dental treatment outside of the ER could help reduce prescriptions for antibiotics or pain medication.

It’s essential that preventive and routine dental care be followed by patients of all ages. Dental visits to the ER can be triaged with effective integration of teledentistry in the dental and medical settings.

Discover more about dental and medical interface around mobile and teledentistry capabilities in the following resources:

Referrals and Peer-To-Peer Collaboration Using Teledentistry

Improve Continuity of Care and Care Coordination Using Teledentistry

How Teledentistry Creates the Perfect Environment for Shared Decision-Making

It relies on a dedicated virtual platform designed for teledentistry collaboration

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.

 

[1]                ED physicians not confident treating dental trauma to further justify teledentistry? https://www.drbicuspid.com/index.aspx?sec=nws&sub=rad&pag=dis&ItemID=323064/ citing: Cully M, Cully, J, Nietert, PaJ.; Titus, M. Physician Confidence in Dental Trauma Treatment and the Introduction of a Dental Trauma Decision-Making Pathway for the Pediatric Emergency Department. Pediatric Emergency Care. 201935(11):745-748.

[2]                Patel NA, Yun JK, Afshar S. Relieving Emergency Department Burden During COVID-19: Section 1135 Waivers for Dental Case Diversion. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2020;78(12):2110-2111. doi:10.1016/j.joms.2020.07.015

[3]                http://www.telemedmag.com/making-the-case-for-teledentistry-in-the-emergency-room/

[4]                Reduce health care costs and improve patient care by treating dental disease in the dental practice instead of the ER. American Dental Association. Updated August 2013. http://www.ada.org/

[5]                Reduce health care costs and improve patient care by treating dental disease in the dental practice instead of the ER. American Dental Association. Updated August 2013. http://www.ada.org/

[6]                https://www.drbicuspid.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=pmt&pag=dis&ItemID=328643

[7]                https://www.drbicuspid.com/index.aspx?sec=sup&sub=pmt&pag=dis&ItemID=328643

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