During COVID-19, telemedicine has allowed many people to access the healthcare they need. As patients are recognizing the versatility of telemedicine, many also want the same convenience from their dentists.
Teledentistry will change the business model of dental practices and allow you to improve the patient experience while reaching more people and increasing your revenue.
Why Incorporate Teledentisry Into Your Dental Practice Now
During the COVID-19 lockdown, teledentistry can be your “practice keeper” in the short run as revenue decreases while you’re still incurring fixed costs. To mitigate losses and generate revenues, you can use teledentistry (which is covered by most dental insurance plans) to maintain patient relationships, stay top of mind, and create goodwill.
If your office is partially open, you can use teledentistry to screen patients before their visits to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19. This also allows non-clinical staff to manage their work from home and reduce exposure.
In addition, use virtual consultation to line up patients so you can hit the ground running once you reopen. You can also cultivate trust with patients by proactively scheduling calls to reduce their anxiety about virus exposure during their visits.
In the long-term, teledentistry can become a “practice builder.” Besides emergency situations, you can offer consultations on Invisalign, sleep apnea, cosmetic dentistry, and more. You can also meet with potential patients who are nervous about seeing a new dentist so you can address their concerns and alleviate their fears prior to their appointments.
Virtual consultations can help reactivate inactive patients (which can make up 40% of your patient database!) or provide services to secondary markets. It’s also a cost-effective way to increase patient acquisition (e.g., a 10-minute video call could earn you a $7k Invisalign patient without an office visit!)
Not to mention, the younger generations prefer to use video conferencing technologies so teledentistry is a great way to help you acquire these new patients.
Teledentistry is here to stay. The question for many dental practices is, how to innovate and adapt so you can leverage this new trend and the latest technologies to make up for the lost revenue and increase your future profitability?
How To Implement and Optimize Teledentistry
Here are a few things to consider when adding teledentistry to your practice:
Optimize Your Workflow
Use a dental practice management software with a dedicated teledentistry module to orchestrate the various components, such as pre-payment, billing, and online booking.
Set aside time slots for emergency consults while incorporating your big picture vision into the strategy -- for example, by using teledentistry for cosmetic dentistry or Invisalign consultations to build your practice and attract new patients cost-efficiently.
Stay Top of Mind
Teledentistry can help you stay on your patients’ radar during COVID-19. It gives you the opportunity to check in with them and stay connected.
You can alleviate patients’ concerns if they’re worried about their dental health and show that you’re committed to their wellbeing. This can also help you build loyalty and line up appointments when you reopen.
Expand Your Market
Teledentistry is particularly suitable for patients with mobility challenges, such as nursing home residents -- a highly vulnerable population that may not have the ability to travel to a dental office.
You can partner with mobile dental hygienists, who’d travel to facilities such as nursing homes to take care of geriatric patients. They’ll then refer patients to you for procedures they can’t perform and you can provide consultation via a teledensity platform.
Support Teledentistry With the Right Technology
Using cloud dental software with a teledentistry module is the key to delivering the best virtual care. Look for one that supports video chat on any device and is 100% HIPAA compliant. It should also allow patients to securely add notes to their booking for you to review prior to the appointment.
Learn more about tab32’s Teledent module and see how it can help you communicate with existing patients, qualify new patients, and streamline your workflows.
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