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Teledentistry burst onto the national healthcare scene in March as people needing dental care turned to online consultations to find out if their problem qualified as urgent dental care or could be postponed.

 

“It’s great to build something that you think will become an industry trend, but you never expect there to be an urgent need for it,” said Brant Herman, founder and CEO of TeleDent, a service provided by MouthWatch.

In this short video with Patient Prism CEO Amol Nirgudkar, Brant explains what teledentistry is and how dentists can quickly implement it in their practices.

 

What is TeleDent

Click here for an overview.

TeleDent provides dentists with a turnkey, HIPAA-compliant solution to conduct a video consultation with current patients of record.

“This allows dentists to better serve their patients and communicate more effectively with them. And that will continue even after COVID-19,” Brant Herman said.

“It allows doctors to consult with their patients on a range of things, from triaging emergencies to providing follow ups, answering any concerns, and potentially avoiding an office visit. And if there is a need for an office visit, the doctor understands it in more detail, so it’s more effective for both the patient and the provider.”

The TeleDent solution also allows live-streaming to occur between two providers so they can consult on a patient’s care, share health histories, radiographs, intraoral images, procedure codes and notes that lead to easy treatment planning.

It has a built-in log of services that have been authorized, by who and when.

TeleDent’s patient portal includes screening forms and data collection and intraoral camera integration.

“You can even ask COVID-19 screening questions,” explained Brant. “You can ask for a patient’s temperature or if they’ve exhibited any symptoms. It’s amazing what you can see with the webcam and you can see if there’s swelling or inflammation or bleeding.”

 

Communicating with Dental Patients During COVID-19

Incorporating teledentistry into the practice gives dentists another way to help reassure their patients during this coronavirus outbreak.

“If I was a practice owner, I would send an email to all of my patients letting them know that we understand this is a frightening time and reminding them that you’re here to take care of them and then give them the TeleDent link so they join the patient portal,” Brant explained.

The dental office receptionist or call center team should also have the link available to give to callers so they can join the portal and set up a teledentistry consultation with the doctor.

Once the virtual dental consultation has occurred and the dentist determined the patient does need to come into the office, the dentist can provide specific instructions regarding COVID-19 precautions. For example, the dentist can let patients know they should call from the parking lot when they arrive, instead of coming into the waiting room.  

 

Teledentistry as a Revenue Stream

“More insurance companies are realizing the value of teledentistry,” said Brant Herman.  The ADA has two codes to use: D9995 is for synchronous teledentistry consultations which are conducted via real-time video-streaming. D9996 is for asynchronous consultations, which means the patient’s information was collected and then forwarded to the dentist for review.

The code is added as a descriptor when the claim is submitted to the carrier. Read more on the ADA's website.

Many dentists also charge a consultation fee directly to the patient.

“I talked to a doctor who did 16 virtual consults yesterday. He reached out to his patients, he set up a link on his website for people to request a consult, and he was off and running. He charges an upfront fee of $75. So he’s sitting at home, he’s under a shelter-in-place order, and he’s able to consult with his patients and figure out how to help them during this difficult time,” said Brant.

 

Resources

To learn more about how TeleDent works, visit https://www.mouthwatch.com/teledent-software/

TeleDent is waiving its set-up fee and the cost of the first month of service during the coronavirus shutdown.

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