Traditionally, healthcare has focused on face-to-face consultations, and as other sectors have embraced working and holding meetings remotely, healthcare and dentistry has fallen behind. It’s believed that the slow adoption of AI-based healthcare has been due to patients being more comfortable with human consultations, and even though 80% of people are likely to use technology to access healthcare this year, only 20% trust AI generated advice.
One solution that combines both new technology and face-to-face care is remote consulting. Not only is using mobile technology to see patients part of WHO’s COVID-19 response strategy, it’s a solution that can improve quality of care for marginalized communities, those who struggle to access care and those with long-term health issues.
As an industry, we were beginning to make steps towards building vital patient trust and facilitating more virtual journeys with customers before COVID-19 hit – and now the virus has had a significant impact on healthcare, and specifically dentistry. We’re all wondering what the future is going to look like, and there’s fear that dentistry could be devastated by future waves of the virus – though it is not without hope.
As lockdown begins to ease, the furlough scheme scales down, and we adapt to a new normal, the future of dentistry remains unclear. The use of aerosols has defined dentistry as high-risk, and vaccine production is still far in the future. With patient numbers facing a significant reduction, as much as 30 to 8 a day in some practices, dentists need to ensure that they can drive income so that they can cover overheads, remunerate staff and ease worry. For many, it’s difficult to know how to do that without creating unnecessary risk for themselves, staff and patients.
We believe that the change dentists need to embrace right now is the virtual patient journey, bringing as many patients as possible online for their consultations to ensure the safety of the practice and the patient, provide vital income during COVID-19 and ensure that dentistry is set for the future. That’s why we’ve created Chairsyde, an end-to-end virtual patient journey that can allow you to practice safely during the pandemic and adopt technology that will benefit your practice long into the future.
What are the benefits?
Safety for everyone involved
Safety is key, given the threat of a second peak of the virus, and something that needs immediate consideration is how we survive the pandemic economically, while maintaining safety that prevents the spread of the virus. Bringing your practice online gives you the opportunity to consult with patients without putting anyone at risk. This means that your patients can maintain their relationship with your practice, and you can keep your clinic safe and reduce worry.
A better use of time and increased income
We finally have more time. We can utilise this as time well spent listening to our patients, understanding their needs and educating them on their condition and treatment options, which ultimately leads to better oral health outcomes. Teledentistry allows you to consult with patients during clean-down times and fallow periods – meaning that you can optimise time that wouldn’t otherwise generate income. As patient numbers have declined, this is a vital compromise that can help you to bring revenue in and work more effectively.
Higher treatment acceptance
A virtual patient journey can also give you the chance to share treatment plans with your patients in a way that’s much easier for them to understand – by using animations and follow up emails that clearly lay out the next steps. It allows you to build relationships with your patients and educate them to ensure better oral hygiene. It also protects you from litigious claims by tracking your consultation’s steps, validating the consent process and so protecting you in the future.
Keeping your data safe
One of the biggest fears about embracing new technology is the security of data, which has only been intensified by over 500,000 passwords being stolen from video-consultation mogul, Zoom, at the start of April. Chairsyde has been built especially for dentists, and so we’ve ensured you have the security you need when making video calls, managing data and taking payments.
Chairsyde offers more than a remote call. It’s also the chance to bring your entire practice online – giving your patients the chance to select a date and time for their consultation, the dentist they would like to speak to – and even to pay for their appointment. This stops you from having to move between systems and payment methods, so that your practice can work more efficiently.
Moving your patient journey online is more than a quick-fix solution for the pandemic – it’s a future facing move that will ensure that dentistry can continue to sustain itself as our society becomes more technology focused.
Times are changing, and it’s time for dentistry to change and adapt too. To find out how you can take the first steps towards a virtual patient journey, get in touch today.