There’s no doubt that dental support organizations and group practices are experiencing tremendous growth. In fact, according to the latest numbers released by the American Dental Association’s Health Resources Institute, DSOs have an annualized growth rate of 13 percent to 14 percent, while solo private practices are shrinking at seven percent per year.
To put DSO growth in another perspective, the global banking and investment management firm William Blair estimates that DSOs currently own or control approximately 16 percent of total practices in the United States and that this number may reach 30 percent by 2021 – that’s only a few years from now!
However, this type of rapid growth is not without risk for the group practice owner. Some of the pitfalls of aggressive build-outs, retirement transitions and mergers and acquisitions include:
• Inadequate onboarding of new associates
• Inconsistent quality control
• Unpredictable ROI for New Technology Investments
• Insufficient utilization of rotating specialists
• Erratic HIPAA Compliance
Although far from a silver bullet solution, teledentistry technology can help group practice owners manage growth, help them improve financial efficiency and also maintain the highest level of patient care.
According to MouthWatch founder and CEO Brant Herman, “Our TeleDent platform is a perfect digital technology cornerstone for rapidly-growing group practices.”
At the hub of TeleDent platform is a scalable and secure cloud-based software that enables both real-time streaming and “store and forward” clinical data collection including diagnostic images, videos, clinical notes, treatment plans and more, thus enabling the clinician to remotely conduct an evaluation and recommend next steps.
Teledentistry applications such as TeleDent aggregate and integrate several components of digital dentistry including digital clinical imaging, electronic health records, and telecommunications technology, while using an internet connection to link dental clinicians and their patients or dental clinicians with their colleagues.
“This ‘virtual workflow’ simplifies clinician-to-clinician connectivity and collaboration and can provide group practices with a scalable means to expand into new areas and treat more patients,” says Herman.
The following are just a few benefits of TeleDent that address the common challenges of scaling a dental group practice:
• Increased Patient Convenience: Teledentistry helps compress time and distance to improve the patient experience. Virtual consultations help eliminate drive time to better accommodate busy patient schedules. It’s also more likely that patients will be on time for their virtual consultations when you eliminate traffic and weather-related travel delays. This helps the DSO or group practice office manager maintain a tighter schedule.
• Optimal Use of Rotating Specialists: This is another example of teledentistry compressing time and distance. In many group practice settings, specialists such as periodontists rotate among several locations. But sometimes a patient comes in for a routine hygiene appointment and may actually require a specialist’s opinion on treating severe periodontitis, the need for an extraction and implant, etc. With TeleDent™, the specialist can be conferenced in real-time to consult with the patient or to review the patient’s information at a convenient time. In any event, the patient does not need to make a separate appointment and the specialist is involved in the treatment plan much sooner, which increases patient acceptance of the treatment plan.
• Improved Onboarding: Teledentistry can help experienced clinicians or practice owners supervise and coach new associates that join the group practice. This ability can also be instrumental in helping to merge a newly-acquired practice team into the acquiring group’s culture and standard operating procedures – which is one of the biggest challenges of practice acquisition.
• Enhanced Quality Control: Central monitoring of radiographs, photos and case files ensure that standard protocols are followed in each location to provide a consistent level of quality care throughout the group. Standardizing an optimal patient experience is key to developing a positive brand image.
• Quicker ROI for New Technology: This remote training capability can come in helpful whenever the group invests in new technology and needs to roll it out in a standardized fashion across all locations. Teledentistry can effectively supplement and reinforce live training, which will not only help shorten the learning curve but also reduce the time needed to achieve ROI on the newly-purchased and implemented technology.
• Stricter HIPAA Compliance: The fines and penalties for non-compliance with HIPAA regulations are steep. Every group practice needs to take adequate measures to avoid the financial risk and reputation damage caused by a HIPAA violation or data breach.
TeleDent is secure, HIPAA compliant and takes the hassle and worry out of sharing patient records within the office dental team, rotating specialists and outside clinical collaborators. “With TeleDent, there is absolutely no reason to risk HIPAA-compliance and data security by sending patient records via unencrypted fax or email,” says Herman.
Herman predicts that group practices may become the fastest-growing adopter of teledentistry technology. “MouthWatch is ready to serve group practices and assist with managing and enhancing their exponential growth with TeleDent,” says Herman. “We welcome inquiries about our advanced technology, superior support and multiple location pricing. We can also schedule an online demo at your earliest convenience.”
Be sure to visit MouthWatch’s company listing in the DSO Resource Guide HERE
View the TeleDent All-InOne Teledentistry Platform HERE
460 Main Street, Ste B
Metuchen, NJ 08840
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