Telehealth for oral healthcare has countless benefits. Telehealth allows you to reach more patients, improves communication between professionals and patients, and provides better patient outcomes. Telehealth can also not only save your practice money, but it can be a source of revenue for your practice. Oral telehealth, specifically, can empower rural and remote patients with access to quality oral healthcare, while allowing you to see more patients.
Rural & Remote Patient Outreach
Patients who are located remotely face barriers such as long commute times and being isolated from major cities, where specialists and major hospitals are often located. Oral telehealth will allow your practice to reach remotely located patients for triaging, specialist connection, monitoring of lesions or oral manifestations of diseases, and post-operative monitoring. Oral telehealth connectivity also allows you to track patient progress for head and neck patients or for patients with recurrent or ongoing oral conditions or infections.
Provider & Clinic Benefits
Oral telehealth connectivity will ultimately allow you and your clinic to serve more patients. You can serve patients outside of your geographical scope, as telehealth allows the patient to connect to you from anywhere. Furthermore, since the patient will not have to come into the clinic, you can save time on preparing the clinic and cleaning up the clinic between patient visits.
A telehealth consultation can also take less time than an in-person consultation, and can save you time from patients that present in-person unnecessarily. The National Library of Medicine (US) determined that the average consultation time fell from 23 minutes to 10 minutes when consulting a patient via telehealth. This means that your practice can provide consultations to over double the amount of patients within the same amount of time when using an oral telehealth tool such as TelScope Telehealth System.
The TelScope allows the patient to examine inside of their own mouths, and then easily and efficiently capture a medical-grade quality image or video inside the mouth. Video sessions “involving patient, GP and hospital consultant have speeded up assessment and reduced the need for referrals.” A faster assessment means you can see more patients, and immediate connectivity and communication with a specialist eliminates unnecessary referrals as well as time spent on back-and-forth communication. Duke University Hospital is onselling TelScope Telehealth System to patients to allow for oral telehealth connectivity. “Using the TelScope in our practice has helped to streamline patient visits, facilitate communication with other specialists, and put patients at ease from their own homes. The TelScope allows us to do more and increase reimbursement without having to work harder. Plus, patients actually prefer the option. It’s a win-win situation for us,” says Duke University Hospital head and neck surgeon Dr. Ben Hechler, MD, DDS.
TelScope Telehealth System also provides a way to follow up with your patients virtually during the insurance global period, which typically lasts 90 days after a patient’s surgery. “This is why telehealth for post-operative monitoring can be so beneficial, because physicians don’t get paid for this anyway, so why waste your time with in-office visit and patient travel when a telehealth visit and oral check with the TelScope can do?” noted Hechler.
If a provider shows up to the clinic in the morning and finds that some patients have cancelled, it is quite a task to get those slots filled with in-house patient visits. However, if inhouse patients are provided with a TelScope Telehealth System, then patients who have a new issue could easily make a request that day. Therefore, as patients cancel or do a no-show, those telehealth request patients can easily pop online for a telehealth visit, even if it is last minute, since no travel or schedule rearrangement is required.
In addition to saving time and seeing more patients with the TelScope Telehealth System, oral telehealth will also reduce exposure, which we know is especially important in a post-COVID world. Allowing patients to stay at home instead of presenting in-person for a consultation or a follow-up means less risk of spreading disease. Telehealth connectivity will save your clinic time on cleaning and sanitizing between each patient and will reduce PPE costs. Telehealth keeps you, your colleagues, and your patients safe.
Finally, TelScope Telehealth System improves communication between provider and specialist, encourages dental-medical integration, and provides a solution for multi-provider consultations, second opinions, and store-and-forward transmission of patient images, videos, and information. In addition to capturing intraoral images & videos, TelScope Telehealth System connects those images & videos securely via encrypted, password-protected folder. Instantly share patient files to another provider for a second opinion or onto a specialist for patient referral. Store patient images & videos into your electronic medical record (EMR) system, and securely forward those files onto other providers and specialists via the HIPAA-compliant TelScope software in the TelScope app.
Telehealth has endless patient benefits, especially in regards to oral healthcare. At its most basic level, the TelScope Telehealth System can instantly connect a superior quality image/video of a sore throat or a sore tooth from a patient to a professional. Instant connectivity saves the patient time in organizing an appointment, commuting to the doctor’s office or dental clinic, and wait times between specialist referrals. The patient will also not need to worry about external factors and barriers that may often limit them from seeing a doctor, such as getting time off of work, organizing childcare, pulling a child out of school, or “rounding up the children into the car” as TelScope inventor Jennifer Holland was jaded by when she got the idea to invent TelScope.
Instant connectivity takes out the stress for patients and gives patients ease of mind. No more stress building up to an appointment or while waiting to see a specialist. A less stressed patient is a happier patient, and happy patients will keep coming back to your clinic when they have an issue.
TelScope Telehealth System is a gamechanger in enabling homebound patients with oral healthcare. Patients immobilized by condition or elderly age can stay home while still receiving quality oral healthcare virtually. Patients in nursing homes or long-term medical facilities can access oral healthcare without having to leave their facility.
Patient outcomes can be improved when a patient does not need to wait for their appointment or to be connected with a specialist. Further, follow-ups following hospital discharge or surgery have been shown to have a higher compliance and patient satisfaction when available virtually, and for oral and oropharyngeal conditions, the TelScope can enhance this service.
Consultations via TelScope Telehealth System will eliminate unnecessary clinic visits, as well. The World Health Organization stated that 15 million Americans visit a medical clinic with a sore throat every year, and only one-third of them require antibiotics. An initial telehealth consultation can prohibit issues from progressing by assigning the patient the care that they need immediately. A teledentistry consult for a sore tooth or any dental issue can keep the patient from getting more severe issues down the road, or even spare them from ending up in the emergency room. The American Dental Association determined that a patient visits the emergency department every 15 seconds with an oral health concern – that means that 2.2 million Americans are visiting the ED every year due to oral health concerns. These unnecessary emergency visits could be avoided with initial oral telehealth or teledentistry consultations.
Finally, expedited and convenient triaging and consultations allowed for by TelScope can promote early detection and intervention to a patient before an oral issue progresses. Early detection is key in preventing the progression of deadly head and neck cancers, such as oral cancer and HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer. By using a TelScope Telehealth System, patients can instantly connect any lesions or lumps to a primary care physician, oral surgeon, or a head and neck doctor, who can then determine if the patient needs to be brought in for further analysis. You can learn how to screen patients for the early signs of head and neck cancer for free here.
The Solution: TelScope Telehealth System
TelScope Telehealth System enables practices and their patients with access to virtual oral healthcare. Examine your patient, capture a superior quality image or video, and securely connect those files from patient to provider, provider to provider or EMR system, and provider to specialist.
Read about use cases with TelScope Telehealth System by Dr. Ben Hechler, MD, DDS from Duke University Hospital.
Learn more about TelScope Telehealth System and schedule a free, live demo here.
Dr. Ben Hechler, MD, DDS
Head & Neck Surgeon, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon, Surgical Oncologist
Duke University Hospital
Dr. Richard Simpson, DDS
Children and Teen Dental, Tuscaloosa, AL