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How Telemedicine is Changing Healthcare & Dentistry

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Telemedicine, or the use of technology to provide medical services remotely, is rapidly transforming the healthcare industry. With the ability to connect patients and medical professionals from different locations, telemedicine is making healthcare more accessible, convenient, and efficient. And the field of oral surgery is no different – teledentistry is improving processes for oral surgeons, other dental specialists, and their patients.

Let’s look at how telemedicine is changing the way healthcare is delivered, the potential benefits and challenges of this technology, and how telemedicine is applied to oral and maxillofacial healthcare:

What is Telemedicine?

Telemedicine is the use of technology that allows patients to access medical care from anywhere and allows doctors to provide care to patients who may be located in remote or hard-to-reach areas. The use of telemedicine dates back to the 1950s, when it was first used to transmit radiological images from one location to another. However, it has only become widely adopted in recent years, thanks to the increasing availability of high-speed internet and the development of more advanced telemedicine technologies.

The COVID-19 pandemic had a major impact on the healthcare industry and has greatly increased the use of telemedicine. With the need to practice social distancing and avoid unnecessary travel, many patients and doctors have turned to telemedicine as a way to continue providing and receiving medical care. In addition, the need to rapidly expand access to medical services to respond to the pandemic has led to the rapid adoption of telemedicine technologies by healthcare organizations. As a result, telemedicine has become an essential tool for providing medical care during the pandemic.

Telemedicine encompasses remote services like:

  • Virtual appointments
  • Online scheduling
  • Online forms
  • Online chats
  • Secure access to health records
  • Educational/informational resources
  • Remote cooperation/coordination between medical specialists

What are the Benefits of Telemedicine?

There are some significant advantages to switching certain parts of the healthcare process to virtual and online platforms. And they benefit patients directly, but also indirectly, as healthcare providers are more easily able to coordinate and communicate about care. The 3 big benefits of telemedicine are:

  1. Telemedicine Makes Healthcare More Accessible

Telemedicine is changing the way healthcare is delivered in several ways. This form of care is making healthcare more accessible, especially for patients who live in remote or underserved areas. With telemedicine, these patients can access medical care from anywhere, without the need to travel long distances to see a doctor.

  1. Remote Healthcare is More Convenient

Telemedicine also makes healthcare more convenient, by allowing patients to access medical services from the comfort of their own homes, without the need to take time off work or arrange transportation. Services like messaging your doctor saves time and money in times where an issue doesn’t really warrant an entire appointment.

  1. Telehealth Increases Efficiency for Patients & Professionals

Telemedicine makes healthcare more efficient, by enabling doctors to see more patients in a shorter amount of time. It also allows for the easy sharing of medical information and resources between different healthcare providers.

How Does an Oral Surgeon Utilize Telemedicine?

In the dental healthcare industry, we refer to the use of technology in our processes as “teledentistry”. At first, you may think – Don’t they need to look inside my mouth? How can you do that remotely? But the answer there is that not everything can be done using teledentistry – you’ll still need to come into the office for some things!

However, there are several circumstances where we can avoid you having to come into the office without sacrificing the quality of your care. In fact, it improves it!

Remote Consultations

For any oral surgery, you’ll have a consultation with our surgeon, Dr. Puckett, before your actual surgery appointment. This is where you’ll go over your diagnosis, scans, treatment plan, and best practices for preparing for your surgery.

By moving these appointments to a virtual platform, you get the same face-to-face time with our oral surgeon, but don’t have to come into the office, as none of these things require an in-person examination, which will have been completed beforehand.

This is also a great way for us to check up on you personally a few days after your procedure, or for you to check in with any minor after-surgery symptoms to determine if you should come back into the office or not.

Viewing Diagnostic Images

Before teledentistry and telemedicine at large, the only way you could view imaging like x-rays and MRIs was to come into the office and see them in person. Now, online platforms let us offer patients a secure way to access their diagnostic scans online, which allows you free access to your health records anywhere, anytime, and it also makes it easy to share these images during online consultations.

This benefit extends to Dr. Puckett, too. Being able to simply share images and charts while communicating remotely with other specialists like your general dentist or ENT streamlines his ability to create the best treatment plan possible and monitor your care.

Scheduling Appointments Online

Yes, even something this simple is part of teledentistry! The majority of new patients, nowadays, expect the ability to schedule appointments online – it makes your life easier, and ours, too! It also frees up phones for more pressing issues. You can request your appointment and put in any details you’d like us to know on our Schedule page.

Virtual Communication

There’s also logistical communication that used to be handled via phone, which is now streamlined with teledentistry. Having trouble filling an antibiotic Rx post-oral surgery? Have a quick question about your first appointment? Conversely, maybe we need to remind you of your upcoming appointment, or send you forms to fill out before your visit.

Teledentistry is now Available at Wilmington Oral Surgery!

Telemedicine is just another example of the adaptability we as humans are capable of. As well, the move to teledentistry improves the ethics of our patient care, as accessibility and education are two main roadblocks to patients receiving quality healthcare across the US – not just in our Cincinnati neighborhoods.

At Wilmington Oral Surgery, we are excited to introduce teledentistry as a service for our patients. Here you can connect with our team from the comfort of your own home. Visit our website to schedule your telehealth appointment!

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