The Rise of Telehealth: Beyond COVID-19
COVID-19 has impacted dental practices in a range of ways as some closed their doors waiting for restrictions to ease whilst others were navigating the weekly changes or turning to telehealth.
So what is telehealth? We take a closer look at telehealth and its future in the dental industry.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is the means by which people can access health and well-being services irrespective of their location and physical distance from healthcare practitioners and infrastructure, through their phone or via video conferencing.
Why consider telehealth?
Unlike some other healthcare professions, telehealth’s application in dentistry (teledentistry) isn’t as immediately obvious, and whilst it won’t be a broad replacement for in-person consults, there are some really powerful opportunities for dental businesses where physical appointments are hard to obtain, which we’ll explore here.
Protect your practice & patients from COVID-19
Teledentistry offers an opportunity for patients to be assessed by their usual dentist whilst practicing social distancing or isolation. You can then make an in-person booking, prescribe medication or in some instances perform a consult virtually.
Continuity of care for your existing patients
Provide peace of mind for your existing patients and their families that no matter where they are (travelling for example) they can be connected to their usual practice through teledentistry.
Future proof your dental practice
With the possibility of future outbreaks of COVID-19, setting up teledentistry as part of your service offering can help you move swiftly to adapt to future changes in restrictions implemented by the Australian Dental Association (ADA), allowing you to keep your doors open and practice from anywhere at any time. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has issued a telehealth consultations item number along with guidelines for its use that you can read on their website.
Point of difference for your business to attract new patients
Could your practice be the first in its area to offer teledentistry? Imagine an anxious patient who just wants some quick advice over the phone, only to discover they need urgent attention and their usual dentist is closed . It could be part of your patient acquisition strategy with platforms like HealthEngine: identifying practices offering teledentistry, so you’ll be found by patients seeking that service.
Improve oral health of the regional and remote communities
Teledentistry is a great opportunity to help reduce barriers for patients to attend the dentist in rural and remote communities, including for fly-in-fly-out workers. You could help your remote patients minimise their travel and get advice when they need it.
Conduct invisalign appointments
Many dentists we’ve spoken to have agreed that a great application of teledentistry for their patients is invisalign appointments. Whilst COVID-19 has had a negative impact on spending, some consumers are using their extra downtime to do things they’ve wanted to do for a while which presents a good marketing opportunity for dentists.
Find your own niche
People are more technologically savvy thanks to social distancing measures and are integrating virtual technologies more than ever before in their everyday lives. There is a real opportunity for dental practices to consider how they can use teledentistry as part of their service offering to attract new patients, keep caring for current patients and lead innovation in the industry.
Our partners at HealthEngine have a teledentistry solution that is available now. The solution can be used for video or phone consults and includes a free option. Find out more about teledentistry on the HealthEngine website.
No more empty-chair stares when you connect to Australia’s biggest network of patients.
HealthEngine is making it easier and more cost effective for you to fill your chairs every week with new patients and bookings via the HealthEngine Network – Australia’s largest network of patients.This is the place where your current and potential patients are connecting online with all their favourite healthcare providers, at their convenience. Like after dinner, in the moment they get that niggle and realise they really should get that tooth looked at.
Find out how HealthEngine can help your practice grow.