As the pandemic continues to affect dentists and their patients, teledentistry will continue to be a method of delivering care. Teledentistry has several clear-cut advantages for dentists working remotely or reopening their offices with health restrictions. It reduces spending on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and is accessible to patients who may have a hard time reaching your office. If you want these benefits for your practice and are looking to utilize teledentistry successfully, here are some tips to get you started:
Determine What Your Services Will Be
What will your virtual visit look like? It is important to make your patient feel like it is just another normal visit to the dentist. Determine what services you will provide based on your team’s capabilities. Do a few virtual test visits with team members before starting with patients. Offer options for your patients to give feedback at the end of the virtual call to identify opportunities for improvement.
Help Patients Understand Teledentistry
Educate your patients on teledentistry and explain how you can offer them the same level of care as you would in your dental office. Send them emails or text messages on how they can use teledentistry for their oral health needs. Offer a list of what services you are conducting virtually and explain how you would deliver treatments.
Setup A Schedule
Dedicate a block of time during the day to conduct virtual visits so that they do not conflict too much with your in-office operations. If you tend to have more patient office visits in the morning, set a time in the afternoon to make virtual calls. To start, offer teledentistry appointments a few days a week. Once you build momentum, extend your hours, or add another day of the week.
Create A Space for Teledentistry Calls
After establishing a schedule, work on a location from which to make these calls. A best practice is to have an exam room dedicated to virtual visits. This way, you can set up the necessary technology and tools you need in one place and set your team up for success. If at home, dedicate a part of your residence where you will be comfortable and have the tools for these calls.
Since these are still visits to your practice, they must be documented — preferably in your practice management software. Set up your documentation process, accounting for any billing or prescription services and be sure to inform your team on how to properly document teledentistry calls. A great way to do this is by having a check out service after the call to ensure all documentation and billing is completed by the patient.
It is important to remember that as you conduct virtual consults, you must follow the same HIPAA rules and regulations as when you are delivering face-to-face care in your dental office. Once successfully integrated into your practice, teledentistry consultations will keep your team and your patients safe and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak. Teledentistry is only part of your office’s COVID-19 safety strategy. Make sure to keep the patients in your office safe with a clean and secure reception area. To learn more about making your waiting area safe, download our FREE reception area protection checklist by clicking the image below.