The Rise of Real-Time Patient Consultation Teledentistry
“Teledentistry is the use of information technology and telecommunications for dental care, consultation, education, and public awareness.” That’s the Wikipedia definition. But the revolution in Teledentistry taking place in the United States far outpaces the simplicity of a one line definition. The field of Teledentistry spans a multitude of communication modes. From a video feed from one dental office to another in working on a patient, to a simple chat forum that allows a patient, from the comfort to their home, to ask a dentist questions, the possible applications of Teledentistry in expanding access, education, oral health, and marketing options for dental practices are vast.
The simplest mode
The most simple mode of Teledentistry, and the one that can provide the most impact on a wider audience, is “real-time patient consultation” Teledentistry. The chat room has become a staple mode of communication for Millennials (and the rest of us to a lesser degree). Millennials carry a long list of nicknames, but the one of importance to a dental practice is “the Anxious Generation.” According to a Men’s Health article citing a 2017 survey, 65% of Millennials “don’t feel confident in face-to-face social interactions.” Four out of five “reported feeling more comfortable having a conversation via text message or online.”
Worse, a Fortune Magazine article details a health care industry that is fully unprepared to handle Millennial’s need for information via modes other than a phone call or a sit down with a doctor. As Millennials reject those traditional modes of seeking answers to their healthcare and dental questions, the dental profession is ripe for undertaking a new method of communicating with them.
Dental messaging / Local Dentist and Patient online Dental Consultation - We’re already there
Dentalchat.com has been an innovator in the real-time patient consultation Teledentistry space since 2008. No other service has made connecting with a patient easier, and such forms of communication need to be easy for millennials. The Fortune Magazine article stated that “this generation is less likely to trust physicians and far more inclined to consult online experts.”
Dentalchat.com makes that happen. By simply entering their name, e-mail, and location, at no cost or further obligation, (using our website or the Dentalchat app), a patient is ready to ask their dental question. That question is then pushed to the Dentalchat provider (those dentists signed up for the service) closest to them. Simple. From there, a dentist can engage in answering questions, asking for further clarification, and encouraging the patient to visit their practice for treatment. Stats are pretty clear. A person who feels any sort of connection to a health care provider is more likely to visit that provider in person.
This form of Teledentistry provides a unique opportunity for dental providers to actively engage in what is essentially specific marketing to this highly valued target audience.
Why Telemedicine is important, more than ever
The Fortune survey also indicated that “just 58% of millennials said they trust their physicians compared with 73% of all others.” Dentalchat.com allows a dentist to build trust, in a safe environment, while alleviating concerns and anxiety.
Additionally, in a SalesForce survey quoted by Becker’s Hospital Review, 60% of Millennials showed interest in telemedicine. As a result, this huge generation some 83 million strong, is changing how medical professionals look at healthcare. The market for remote monitoring and telemedicine is estimated to reach $27.3 billion by the end of this year, twice its size in 2011. But are dentists getting on board that bullet train?
Getting past analysis paralysis
That survey went on to conclude that “Millennials have opinions. We need to listen to them, build on their knowledge, and treat them with respect.” Research also shows that millennials, more than other generation, suffer from Analysis Paralysis, meaning, they have so many options to consider, so many decisions needing to be made, that they often fail to make any decisions.
Real-time patient consultation Teledentistry via Dentalchat.com doesn’t simply automatically garner new patients. But what it does is bridge a gap that allows a well informed dentist or dental assistant to engage in a conversation that helps a prospective patient, alleviates their concerns, and gets them in the door. We are looking to be the Best TeleDentistry / Best TeleDentists platform for patients & local dentists.
In the same way, Millennials, and most people who go into adulthood without a regular dental provider, have difficulty simply choosing a dentist. For Millennials especially, the Fortune Magazine article states the problem with clarity: “…millennials often struggle to make decisions. Paralysis of analysis is a widespread side effect of life in an information age.” Having an app that narrows down those menu choices to the proven providers signed up with DentalChat.com automatically eliminates that paralysis.
A great quote from a Minnesota study done in 2018 addresses another solution that Teledentistry provides: “Teledentistry fights the “silent epidemic” in rural” areas. Though the study also refers to other forms of Teledentistry such as video conferencing, the “Store-and-Forward Method” which involves exchanging of clinical information and images with another dental practitioner (not in real time), it speaks to how a simple real-time “chat” can prompt a trip to the city for dental care by a rural dental pain sufferer. Local TeleDentistry will be growing in the coming years and decades.
Overcoming Anxiety (Speaking to the dentists here)
Telemedicine has made great strides in recent years, but it is still not widely utilized. The American Academy of Family Physicians indicated that only 15% of family physicians utilized any form of telemedicine in the previous 12 months. However, “78% of family physicians agreed or strongly agreed that telehealth improves access to care.” So, why such a low percentage of actual users? “Family physicians reported that lack of training” was a top barrier to the use of telehealth. That lack of training, it seems, may also be related to the anxiety over using such new technology to assist in their engagement and treatment of patients.
In the dental profession, the use of telemedicine is assumed to be even lower. We’re not certain as it was just in May of last year that the American Teledentistry Association (ATDA) was launched. It’s founder admits “Teledentistry is really in its infancy.” Based on that fact, and the fact that medical practitioners are behind the times in telemedicine, it can be confidently assumed that dentists who take the time to educate themselves, and utilize even the simplest forms of Teledentistry (like Dentalchat.com), will be light years ahead of the practice down the street. We are at Dental Chat networking with telemedicine companies & health care businesses. We are looking to be the Best Teledentistry online dentists telemedicine platform. Excellent time for technology companies interested in health care to partner online with us. Dental office and dental patient online free consultation using dental messaging and teledentistry technology is rapidly growing. DentalChat has been leading dental care innovation for over a decade.
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