Dentists Use TeleHealth to improve access to care - and fight a phobia

By Eric Wicklund May 13, 2019 - Dentists are starting to take a closer look at how telehealth and mHealth can improve their care delivery.The possibilities are numerous. Some dentists are using mHealth apps to enable patients – regular and new – to ask questions about oral care, make appointments or schedule emergency visits. Some are using mHealth devices like VR glasses to sooth their jittery patients during cleanings and other routine work.Others are using telemedicine to facilitate virtual visits, and are targeting the roughly $2 billion spent each year on emergency oral care at hospitals and clinics.“We’re the next telehealth specialist,” says Maria Kunstadter, DDS, co-founder of The TeleDentists, who was exhibiting at last month’s American Telemedicine Association conference in New Orleans. “I don’t know anyone (who’s in need of emergency care) who wants to wait six weeks for an appointment with their dentist.”Telehealth companies like The TeleDentists are targeting a pain point – quite literally – in healthcare: negative health outcomes caused by a lack of dental care, often due to the fear of the needle and the drill.“More than seven million people each year need immediate access to help for urgent dental issues,” Kunstadter said in a press release earlier this year. “It’s no wonder, given the fact that tens of millions of people each year neglect maintenance on their mouth and teeth. In fact, the average person in this country – regardless of age or economic profile – has not been to a dentist in three years, making it inevitable that these problems occur.”The telemedicine model for emergency care is simple. Health systems, payers and self-employed businesses partner with a telehealth company to provide on-demand access to dentists. That access is through a virtual visit, with dentists offering care or guiding on-site medical assistants, prescribing medications and scheduling follow-up care.Kunstadter says the connected care platform doesn’t take the place of the local dentist, but facilities emergency care and coordinates the follow-up trip the dentist. It can be especially helpful for those who lack access to a dentist, such as college students, truckers and businessmen.“The best thing we do is put people in dentist’s offices,” she says.The teledentistry industry has been growing fitfully, and is just now appearing on the radar of larger telemedicine and telehealth providers like Philips, which is reportedly developing an mHealth platform for teledentistry in Europe. Others have been testing the platform as a means of pushing oral health video visits into underserved areas like low-income neighborhoods, community health centers and Native American communities.Also advocating for the industry is the American Teledentistry Association, which sprang into being roughly one year ago.“Teledentistry is really in its infancy,” Marc Ackerman, DMD, MBA, FACD, the group’s founder and Director of Orthodontics at Boston Children’s Hospital, told last year. Like other medical specialties, hesays, it needs an advocacy group to guide practitioners, develop best practices and ensure the technology is available for those who want to use it.“The immediate goal of the ATDA is to educate dental professionals and the public about the benefits of teledentistry,” Ackerman said. “Teledentistry has the ability to help patients get access to needed dental care they deserve, both affordably and conveniently. It's our mission to modernize access to care through teledentistry with advocacy for the implementation of innovative teledentistry guidelines and solutions.”In the meanwhile, dental practices across the country are experimenting on their own.In Hopkinton, MA, Hopkinton Square Dental is using virtual reality glasses designed by XRHealth to calm nervous patients during routine procedures. The VR glasses replace regular sunglasses worn by patients to protect their eyes.“It really helps patients disengage – especially the children,” says Cherry Harika, DMD. “They feel like they’re in their own world, and they’re able to relax.”The two-office dental practice has been using VR glasses for only a couple months, but they’re getting rave reviews from patients – and they’re using the glasses as a marketing tool, in hopes of coaxing more people to overcome their fear and visit the office.Harika says the mHealth devices aren’t cumbersome, so she and her colleagues can work without being hindered. And they allow her to focus more on her work and less on trying to keep the patient calm and still.“Sometimes I have to tell them to stop moving their necks,” she says, “but that’s about it.”

The TeleDentists Partners with Resellers, Employers, Health Systems, Urgent Care:  Brings National Dental Teledentistry Solution to Millions of Americans​

St. Louis, MO – April, 2019 –  Thanks to a growing number of industry partnerships, employer relationships and reseller agreements, TeleDentists’ unique teledentistry solution is now available to provide consultations for non-traumatic urgent dental care at any time and from anywhere.-- representing a full spectrum of healthcare delivery in multiple settings  from hospitals and urgent care centers to colleges, universities, company clinics and senior living centers. The solution includes immediate access to a quality dentist who can access the problem, prescribe prescriptions as needed, and schedule a next day in-person appointment with a nearby dentist. “We are rapidly expanding our corporate footprint, bringing to market a low-cost telehealth service provided by a quality dentist to deal with urgent dental issues – like a tooth ache, mouth sores or pain,” says Maria Kunstadter, DDS, co-founder, The TeleDentists. “These partnerships increase our reach, helping people to access care, whether it’s in the middle of the night, a long holiday weekend or while traveling. The size and scope of these partnerships speaks to the need for this first-of-its-kind service, since more than visit the nation’s emergency rooms with dental pain each year.” Recent partnerships include: Competitive Health – A privately-held network and program enhancement company providing technology-based, consumer-driven programs and payment solutions to clients throughout the United States. Kim Darling, says, “Persistent, painful toothaches are surprisingly common, and we look forward to introducing the TeleDentist solution to our clients who always place high value on innovative, healthcare solutions.” Continental Trucking Association Inc. – A membership organization providing a wide range of benefits for owner-operators and fleets including low cost group rated trucking insurance, low cost occupational accident insurance, nationwide lodging, wireless phones and auto-rental discounts and much more. Craig Jensen, CEO, . says, “The Teledentists service is a valuable asset to any driver, away from home, who has an urgent dental problem.” DCCS Consulting – A national healthcare consulting firm providing financial, operational, clinical,  strategic advisory services and helping to implement telemedicine services in behavioral health, emergency and hospitalist medicine and The TeleDentists. OCN Connected Care™ –  with the intention of partnering for Urgent Care patients HealthSapiens – A telehealth company whose vision is the democratization of healthcare, creating freedom for patients to choose their care despite boundaries. HealthSapiens is committed to the ideals of health and wellness for all, through global collaboration and the progression of humankind – one patient at a time. “We are thrilled to develop our relationship with The TeleDentists to market and bundle our services to cater to the underserved market, ‘‘says Karim Babay, CEO, . Independent Dental Collaborative (IDC)  Created on behalf of independent dentists to leverage the members’ collective buying power to drive down the cost of supplies, capital equipment, and much more. This allows private practicing dentists to stay independent and receive all the same benefits of corporate dental groups and DSOs “We are excited to partner with the Teledentists to bring an innovative opportunity to our members”, said Jordan Herbert, , COO and co-founder. “Our partnership will allow our members to have a larger role in the health of the populations they serve as well as drive new patients to their practice.”   ModRn Healthcare  – ModRn provides nurse-led coordinated care, personalized advocacy and network optimization services empowering patients to take action wherever they are. About The TeleDentistsThe TeleDentists is pioneering tele-dentistry with an easily accessible solution to urgent oral and dental problems 24/7/365. A proprietary, national network of Board Licensed dentists use secure online video consults to connect with patients’ smart phones, laptops or tablets. They diagnose problems, start remediation and, when needed, arrange next business day appointments with a conveniently located dentist. The service is available to hospitals, urgent care facilities, retail clinics, self-insured corporations, senior-living centers, universities and telemedicine service providers. Visit​

The TeleDentists Take the Telehealth Market by Storm:THE NEXT WAVE IN TELEHEALTH & VIRTUAL CARE 

New business, partnerships and opportunities abound at the American Telemedicine Association (ATA) annual meeting, New Orleans.​

 ​What is Virtual Dental Care -- and How Does it Fit into Telehealth?

From Wall Street to Main Street, virtual care is the buzz-word describing the new era of professional healthcare delivery.  With this shift toward virtual care and telehealth, the conversation now includes virtual dental care. Like , virtual dental care is a term that’s sometimes used synonymously with telehealth or telemedicine — but they’re not the same thing. Virtual dental care is actually a component of telehealth, which is a broader term encompassing the entirety of remote and/or technology-driven healthcare. Tele-dental health is a very broad category of solutions that service patients at a distance, doing it remotely.  People who do not have a dentist, lack access to a dentist or live far from a dental office can be helped with this level of care – via telephone or videoconferencing capability.  It's the idea that these technologies can be leveraged to improve access to care, gather and exchange information with a licensed dentist. Consumer Demand Driving Adoption While the terms are often confused, demand is growing for a means to avoid the expense, burden and time spent traveling to and from hospitals or urgent care clinics.  This is especially true in rural areas struggling to attract dentists tor their communities. Just a few months ago,  showed that 60 percent of U.S. households with broadband access “are interested in remote care that would take place online or by telephone.” It appears that patients are increasingly drawn to the concept of healthcare services that come to them, rather than vice versa. This translates into a system where it is possible to consult doctors, nurses, dentists or other healthcare professionals from home or office. This is what virtual healthcare is all about. The Teledentists Signal a New Era of Virtual Dental Care    Dentists have been conducting “teledentistry” since the telephone was invented: ”Doc, this tooth is killing me. Help!” Now with the launch of The TeleDentists, it is possible to conduct virtual dental visits for those urgent oral/dental problems 24/7/365 via video consultation -- and have a next day appointment in a dental office when needed. Video consults connect the patient’s laptop, tablet or smart phone to a virtual dentist who diagnoses the patient’s problem and gets them started feeling better quickly, which may include an e-script for an antibiotic and/or non-narcotic pain medication. When follow-on care is needed, next -day appointments are booked with an appropriate dentist, conveniently located near the patient.  So now the question:  Is virtual dental care the same as telehealth, and if not, what’s the difference?Defining Virtual Dental Care  Virtual healthcare refers to the “virtual visits” that take place between patients and clinicians via communications technology — the video and audio connectivity that allows “virtual” meetings to occur in real time, from virtually any location. A virtual dental visit can be a videoconference between a dentist and a patient regarding an urgent dental or oral health problem, and it can also give patients improved access to information about the importance of oral health. With evolving technology, urgent oral or dental issues can be remediated – helping people to avoid expensive, time-consuming visits to the hospital Emergency Room or urgent care clinic by scheduling them at a dental care facility the next day.  Hospitals and Urgent Care Clinics Offering Virtual Dental Care Hospitals and urgent care centers are now installing The TeleDentists’ cloud-based service.  This enables Emergency Rooms and urgent care facilities access to a specialist who can treat these oral care level one problems at a fraction of the cost that would be incurred if treated by the ER doctor. Interested in learning more about The Teledentists? Contact us at:  ​



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