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During the COVID-19 shutdowns of 2020, many dental offices adopted teledentia in order to be able to offer their patients consultation and diagnostic services. Even after the practices reopened, tele-dentistry continued to facilitate safe interactions and communication between dentists and their patients.

Teledentia has proven to be a powerful catalyst for patient acquisition and retention in a COVID-19 world. Today, more and more practitioners are adopting this hybrid service model which can also support in-office catering services.

Here’s how teledentia can expand your patient base and increase patient retention rates during the pandemic.

What is teledentia?

Teledenty is the application of information and telecommunications technologies to facilitate interactions between dentists and their patients. These engagements occur virtually through two-way audio, video or text exchanges, enabling the sharing of digital information such as diagnostic images and x-rays, and patient records. During the coronavirus pandemic, the use of this technology has minimized the risk of infection for dentists and their patients.

Teledentia as a catalyst for patient acquisition

Telentics can help you attract more patients and grow your business. Virtual technology requires no in-person engagement, allowing you to serve more patients, including beyond your local geographic location. This makes your practice a viable option for dental patients who would otherwise have to visit a local clinic that does not necessarily meet their expectations.

Virtual dental services are an idea whose time has come a long time ago simply because they are a part of the way of life of many Americans. For example, millions of home workers are already using video conferencing.

In addition, studies suggest that being able to offer virtual dental services is a differentiator in the market. More and more patients expect their dentists to be able to help them remotely whenever possible. However, the demand for virtual sharing, communication and diagnostics in dental care is not limited to underserved communities. Even in urban areas, dentists can take advantage of this technology to serve more patients and grow their practice.

Virtual treatment planning as a driver of patient acceptance

Most patients, including those in dental care, will not easily accept a medical solution or therapy without understanding it first. To boost patient acceptance in dentistry, practitioners have long been explaining their treatment plans using digital visual aids, including pictures, in their physical dental clinics.

Today, thanks to tele-dentistry, the planning of visual treatments has become virtual. Dentists use it to safely explain their solutions to patients from the comfort of their homes. In some virtual configurations, a patient can remotely capture images of their mouth or teeth using smartphone cameras and imaging apps. They can then send these images to their dentist to include them in their dental exam and develop a treatment plan.

Telentics also makes it easy to share a patient’s visual treatment plan remotely with multiple stakeholders, including internal caregivers and external providers. As a dental practitioner, virtual treatment plans allow you to:

  • Collaborate on a virtual treatment plan with all relevant caregivers who live in the same household as the patient and were not available in previous stages of the consultation
  • Share a treatment plan, including digital visuals, with the patient’s spouse, parent or relative responsible for the patient’s health care choices
  • Take advantage of convenient communication technology to deliver more effective presentations
  • Safely interact with your patients when it’s most convenient for them
  • Communicate via secure video
  • Collaborate in patient care with outpatient dental specialists or healthcare providers

In a nutshell, leveraging virtual treatment planning allows you to increase patient acceptance and improve standards of dental care. It is also directly linked to patient satisfaction.

Teledentics increases patient satisfaction and retention rates

In the era of COVID-19, teledentia has become the go-to model for providing diagnostics, consultations, communication and collaboration without compromising the safety of patients and dental staff. The model has a high approval rate among patients who have experienced it, based on some studies, which is why most of them will come back easily.

A recent poll found that 97% of patients had a pleasant experience with virtual dental technology in five broad categories. Most respondents reported an overwhelmingly positive response when asked about key issues such as satisfaction and the usefulness / relevance of teledentia to them.

Likewise, most patients indicated that they found the teledentic systems easy to use and reliable. Another popular category was access to clinical services.

When your patients have a secure, virtual and remote way to make an appointment with you and receive your dental services, most of them are happy to come back for reasons such as:

  • The possibility of sharing images during consultations (planning of visual treatment)
  • Be able to interact live, hear and speak with you in a virtual date
  • Since patients don’t have to come to your physical clinic, they are happy to be able to save time, travel and parking costs.
  • With teledentia, patients can more easily plan their work and parenting responsibilities.

In 2020, the increased use of teledentia began out of necessity due to COVID-19 closures and movement restrictions. This has allowed patients and their dentists to interact and communicate more securely. However, virtual dental care is now a practical business model and is essential to patient acquisition, satisfaction and retention.

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Ajay Prasad

Ajay Prasad is the Founder and Chairman of GMR Web Team, a leading digital marketing agency in the healthcare industry. He guides small and mid-sized healthcare practices / businesses in customizing their online marketing strategy, focused on building a loyal patient base and improving patient acquisition. Ajay believes in a better patient experience as the key to a successful healthcare business, which can be accomplished with the right marketing plan in place.

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