The more something’s accepted there’s a greater potential for improvement. Perhaps that’s true when considering teledentistry best practices.
Virtual visits have crossed the gauntlet from “why?” to “why not?” Though skeptics exist, teledentistry adoption is more the norm than the exception.
With that in mind it’s vital that your teledentistry protocol and workflow align with power-user’s best practices.
There are more granular uses of teledentistry we could discuss in the best-practice zone. But let’s narrow the service to its basic functions.
Real-time patient communication
Synchronous visits happen on a live video connection between you and your patient. It’s a personal conversation that allows for questions, answers, and diagnostic details (including imaging).
An asynchronous visit maximizes the use of images, digital impressions, health history, and relevant video content. You and/or a referral resource can also view and collaborate on your patient’s condition to provide solutions and diagnosis.
Your patent’s relevant health information can be obtained and reviewed for diagnostic and treatment follow-up.
Best practice protocols will apply to these common and fundamental uses of teledentistry. That said, let’s explore some core virtual dental care benchmarks.
Some core best-practices for teledentistry
Keep in mind that you can use teledentistry for specific patient treatment scenarios. As with most technology innovations, it’s a tool you can leverage in a variety of ways.
However you use teledentistry, the advantages benefit your patients, your team, and your clinical expertise.
Stick with the guidelines
The ADA (American Dental Association) has outlined guidelines for teledentistry. It follows that most state governments and dental boards have also adopted their own set of standards for virtual visits.
For example, Texas passed legislation on teledentistry (June 2021) that opened the door to its broader use statewide.
- Review the ADA guidelines for teledentistry
- Confirm your state’s specific laws that apply to teledentistry
Support HIPAA expectations
Some patients might consider teledentistry to be a risk when it comes to HIPAA compliance. It’s important to safeguard their trust and inform them that their privacy remains a priority in the virtual environment as well.
The protections under HIPAA still apply to virtual visits.
- Patient’s name, address, phone, and email
- Patient’s social security information
- Patient’s test, diagnostic, and treatment results
- Patient’s medication and prescription information
- Patient’s medical and dental history
- Confirm data encryption on your teledentistry platform(s)
- Submit to periodic audits to assure your patient data is protected
Set your practice up for teledentistry success
You probably gave a substantial amount of thought to launching your dental practice. You dotted every “i” and crossed every “t,” right?
The same due diligence applies to setting up your “virtual practice” for teledentistry visits.
The following best practices cover the gamut for successful teledentistry delivery.
- Establish your virtual visit protocols - the services you’ll include, the platform/software you’ll use, how your team is involved, the workflow of your virtual visits, etc.
- Designate schedule blocks to accommodate teledentistry. This includes deciding the days, times, team involvement, and allowed visit duration.
- Create a space for optimum virtual communication. In-practice, remote, or at home it’s essential that sound, lighting, security, and privacy follow excellence standards.
- Align your practice management platform and documentation protocols. Patient notes, billing and insurance, prescriptions, and relevant appointment data should be seamlessly acquired and accessible during your teledentistry appointments.
- Code your teledentistry visits accurately. This assures that insurance is clear on the type of visit (synchronous/D9995 or asynchronous/D9996) that you provided each patient.
- Consistently promote teledentistry to your patients and the public. Provide click-able access to a teledentistry portal on your website, share your teledentistry services on your social media channels, ask for patient reviews and referrals regarding teledentistry visits.
And this is essential and highly recommended…
- Use a dedicated teledentistry software platform. It’s more secure, seamless, and supported than public-facing video communication platforms (e.g. Facebook Live, TikTok, etc). And frankly these do not meet established guidelines as do dedicated virtual dentistry platforms.
Check out the following resources for more best-practice insight into teledentistry:
And speaking of a “dedicated teledentistry software 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.