Teledentistry

Technology for virtual communication and care delivery

While teledentistry is emerging as a care option that allows you to stay connected with your patients during COVID-19, the technology can be used to market your practice, coordinate in care and facilitate patient communications when your practice is treating both emergency and non-emergency cases again. We’ve gathered resources to help you navigate teledentistry and the technology that supports virtual communications and care delivery.

How to leverage teledentistry

Learn from Bryan Laskin, DDS, how teledentistry can help your dental practice get through the COVID-19 crisis. Dr. Laskin offers insight on teledentistry using OperaDDS.

Technology and Methodologies

The need for teledentistry – especially now

To mitigate the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the American Dental Association (ADA) developed guidelines related to emergency and nonemergency dental care. In response to this definition and the desire to continue to support patient care, teledentistry is emerging as a care option during this crisis. According to the ADA, telehealth refers to a broad variety of technologies and tactics to deliver virtual medical, health and education services to enhance care and education delivery. 

Teledentistry refers to the use of telehealth systems and methodologies in dentistry. Teledentistry is the means for a patient to receive services when the patient is in one physical location and the dentist or other oral health or general health care practitioner overseeing the delivery of those services is in another location. There are two primary use cases – care delivery and in-person visits.

Technology types

There are two primary methodologies.

Synchronous (live):
Video, two-way interaction between a person (patient, caregiver, or provider) and a provider using audiovisual telecommunications technology. 

Asynchronous (store-and-forward):
Transmission of recorded health information through a secure electronic communications system to a practitioner, who uses the information to evaluate a patient’s condition or render a service outside of a real-time or live interaction.

 

Patterson technology solutions

OperaDDS Teledentistry

Triage made easy

Triage made easy

Thanks to this patient-first asynchronous technology, you can provide continued care with virtual consultations and evaluations. Send and receive secure paperless forms, emails and digital cases to patients and colleagues effortlessly, the HIPAA-compliant way.

RevenueWell Virtual Office

Stay connected and stay safe

This synchronous solution can help you keep patient connections going and your team productive when you’re working away from the practice. Video conferencing delivers a reliable, safe and secure connection to your patients. Virtual Office seamlessly integrates into your practice workflow and enables quick follow-up consultation or patient triage for those who may require immediate care. 

Care Delivery

Provide care remotely

Teledentistry helps enable communication to provide consultation, evaluation, and next step actions. With the use of this technology patients will feel they have a care outlet and will limit the need to seek care for oral health concerns in health care system emergency rooms.

Did you know? According to the ADA:
  • Every 14 seconds, someone visits a hospital emergency room for dental conditions in the U.S.
  • ER visits cost three times more than a dental visit.
In-Person Visits

Reduce risk of exposure to coronavirus

Teledentistry can be used to capture consent, gain signatures and deliver advice or instructions. The technology can also support social distancing and help dental care professionals take precautionary measures when a patient does need to seek in-office care.

These measures include: 
  • Limiting waiting room time
  • Providing the ability to text or call when ready 
  • Limiting paperwork
  • Shortening visits 
  • Offering COVID-19 screening
Coding and Billing

Documenting and reporting teledentistry visits

When delivering services using telecommunications technology, there are Code on Dental Procedures and Nomenclature (CDT) codes that can be used to document and report the services in the patient’s record and to a third-party payer. When providing services in a teledentistry instance, one of the following codes would be reported in addition to other CDT codes.

Please reference ADA Coding and Billing documents:

  • D9995 teledentistry – synchronous (live real-time encounter)
  • D9996 teledentistry – asynchronous (information stored and forwarded to the dentist for subsequent review)

Regulations and Reimbursement

HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA compliance is one of the most important undertakings for a dental practice. While HIPAA compliance maybe relaxed during COVID-19 this will not last. Select a technology tool that will protect your patients and your practice. With increased scrutiny by regulators and the possibility of penalties for HIPAA violations, you can't afford not to.

State Regulations and Insurance Reimbursement

The ADA advises that all patient encounters using telehealth technology continue to be properly documented in the patient’s record, including the date, time and duration of the encounter, reasons for such encounter and associated clinical notes. Telehealth regulations can vary by state and, in today’s environment, are changing. Please check your state dental boards, governor’s office or department of health for regulations and guidance. Additionally, please check with your third-party payers regarding which administrative codes are reimbursable, as this can vary by payer.