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: info@TheTeleDentists.com