40 percent of dentists using telehealth/teledentistry

mHealth Intelligence reports…

Some 40 percent of dentists in a recent survey said they’re either using telehealth now to stay in touch with patients or will soon be using telemedicine technology. That survey, conducted by the DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement, saw a significant gap between what dentists felt they should do to treat patients in person during the crisis and what they were confident they can do.

The stats are now great now or promising in the future…

Dentists are among the hardest hit healthcare professions during the COVID-19 crisis because of the potential for virus transmission from the oral cavity, and almost all of those who completed the survey said they expect the industry to see long-term changes as a result. Only 57 percent of those surveyed have remained open for most services during the pandemic, while 31 percent are only offering emergency care and another 8 percent have closed completely.

That’s not good for the bottom line. According to the survey, 90 percent have seen their patient visits drop, with the average decline being 51 percent. Three out of every four dental offices have reduced staff, with one in six reporting having less than 15 days’ of cash on hand, and 86 percent said they’ve seen revenues drop at least 25 percent.

There are plans to help facilitate greater use of telehealth…

“A broad strategy that refocuses dentistry through pathway redesign could maintain and even improve access to care while minimizing transmission risk,” the report concluded. “Embracing telehealth technologies can allow providers to engage in more patient outreach, reinforce healthy behaviors, provide education and explore minimally invasive treatment options, as well as the ability to triage and direct patients to appropriate care. This pathway redesign could render dental providers less vulnerable from unpredictable patient utilization and cash flow, if, as many health experts predict, the nation experiences additional waves of COVID-19.”

Among those recognizing the importance of teledentistry is UnitedHealthcare. Noting that dental care ranks as among the most frequently avoided emergency room visits even during normal times, the Minnesota-based health plan recently unveiled coverage for at-home phone and video consults “for advice and guidance to an appropriate setting for in-person care.”

This entry was posted in Healthcare, Research and tagged by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (blandinonbroadband.org), hosts a radio show on MN music (mostlyminnesota.com), supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota (elimstrongtowershelters.org) and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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