Expand dental practice through telehealth

Dentists interested in learning how to provide telehealth dental care can attend a lecture and workshop presented by Paul Glassman, DDS, MBA, at CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry in San Francisco Sept. 8-10.

The lecture, "Expanding Dental Practices Using Telehealth-Connected Teams and Virtual Dental Homes," which is a prerequisite to attending the workshop, provides an overview of the changing health care environment and new opportunities presented by the ability to work in telehealth-connected teams. In the workshop, "Preliminary Business Planning for Expanding Dental Practice Using Telehealth-Connected Teams and a Virtual Dental Home," Glassman will describe staffing and equipment needs and organizational structures for a virtual dental home system. He will also discuss plans for engaging and partnering with community organizations and address financial arrangements and return on investment for participating in a VDH system.

In a recent interview with CDA, Glassman spoke of the changes occurring in the delivery of oral health care.

"These changes are driving us to think differently about how we provide oral health for populations that are not getting dental care through the traditional system," said Glassman, who is a professor of dental practice, director of Community Oral Health and director of the Pacific Center for Special Care at the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.

"Using telehealth-connected teams is a way to expand dental practices and to reach a lot more people, thereby doing better for both practices and the population," Glassman said, noting that many people are unable to access dental care through the current delivery system.

Signed into law in 2014 through AB 1744, the VDH was authorized in California after a large-scale demonstration project proved successful at safely and effectively using teledentistry to provide diagnostic, preventive and early intervention services in community-based sites (e.g., schools, Head Start sites and nursing homes) by allied dental team members who are connected to a dentist at an office or clinic.

Within the VDH model, a specially trained registered dental assistant in extended function (RDAEF), registered dental hygienist (RDH) or registered dental hygienist in alternative practice (RDHAP) collects electronic dental records, such as radiographs, photographs, charts of dental findings, and dental and medical histories, with portable imaging equipment and an internet-based dental record system. He or she then uploads the information to a secure website that lets a supervising dentist review and establish a diagnosis and treatment plan for the hygienist or assistant to carry out. Patients who need more complex care are referred to the dentist for those services.

During the workshop, attendees will specifically learn how to:

  • Develop a business plan for deploying a telehealth-connected team in a virtual dental home system.
  • Understand ingredients for success in deploying telehealth-connected teams in a virtual dental home system.
  • Describe the opportunity to expand dental practices to populations using telehealth-connected teams.

"The number one thing I hope people take away from the class is an understanding of the changing environment we're in and where the opportunity here is for providers who are willing to rethink how they structure and organize their practices and for groups of providers who want to work together," Glassman said.

Workshop attendees can meet the corresponding lecture requirement if they have already attended the lecture at a previous CDA Presents in Anaheim or San Francisco.

"I'm very convinced this is the wave of the future and we're going to be seeing this model of care all over the country in the next decade or so," Glassman added.

Watch a video of Dr. Glassman discussing his virtual dental home presentation.

For more information about this workshop and lecture plus other presentations at CDA Presents, visit cdapresents.com.

Updated: 08/09/16

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Dental professionals from around the world attend CDA Presents The Art and Science of Dentistry to learn about the latest clinical and technological advances in the industry, earn C.E. and network. In the process, they hear from some of dentistry's most captivating speakers, which will be the case at CDA Presents in San Francisco on Sept. 8-10.

In recent months, several policyholders have called the TDIC Advice line asking about the virtual dental home (VDH) model and the risks associated with participating in one. The following information may be helpful for dentists who are considering practicing in such a model. The term “virtual dental home” describes a dental care model in which a dentist utilizes teledentistry by connecting electronically to specially trained allied dental team members to deliver dental care to underserved populations.