Video consultation has been steadily growing in popularity in recent years, but the advent of lockdown and remote/contactless working has transformed it from an added value service for early adopters to a mainstream service for many clinics. But how should you approach video consultation & what tools should you use to manage and deliver it?
The changed circumstances in which we found ourselves saw technology being embraced across a wide range of users and in a range of contexts. Video calls became the norm for many and the technology barriers melted away as necessity drove innovation in users and providers.
For clinics, this has seen many offering a video consultation service to patients as a tool to reduce face to face contact and drive patient engagement and retention, but this can take many forms and there are significant questions around what the real role for video consultation may be for dentists, and what software is required to deliver optimal patient and clinical outcomes.
The role of video consultation has evolved through the Covid crisis but, as this subsides there are some very clear use cases for video based appointments that have emerged.
Patient engagement and pre-care can be very effectively achieved via video. Meeting with your patient to get an initial understanding of the issues that they are facing gives you the opportunity to complete a very quick initial assessment of the potential clinical issues at hand, but also gives the patient (particularly a nervous one) the early opportunity to meet with the clinical team, ask any basic questions and get a clear understanding of what to expect from any likely courses of treatment.
This kind of pre-care drives patient engagement, satisfaction and retention, and can be a powerful tool for any practice in a competitive marketplace.
In a similar vein, video consultations also have a very clear role to play in oral health education. Dentists and dental nurses can easily and effectively provide training on key oral health techniques such as brushing and flossing with patients, and check in with them regularly to monitor compliance and progress.
For post-treatment care, video consultations are being used as a key tool to save time for both clinicians and patients in checking progress and providing a simple visual update. Again this drives both patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes.
The right solution
Whilst video consultation adds simplicity and accessibility to the patient experience, it can present challenges to a practice in terms of security, compliance and ease of use.
Many video consultation solutions are external or additional to core practice management software and sit outside their security, medical notes and customer login protocols. This may allow for a workable solution for bringing video to patients, but is not optimal for the practice.
A video consultation solution that is natively integrated to your practice management software offers the optimal outcome. Video appointments are handled in exactly the same way as in-person appointments for the patient records, notes are input and stored directly on the patient file and recalls and reminders are triggered as with any other appointment.
These usability fixes are important at the day to day user level, but the security benefits of using an integrated solution are even greater. With patients and clinicians both accessing the video facility through their existing User or Patient Portal logins, there is a secure and seamless user experience for both and no external logins, servers or data sharing required at any stage.
Native video consultation solutions are not yet an established feature of many Practice Management software packages. AeronaClinic is one of very few native solutions that is available on the market, offering an innovative solution to the security and usability issues identified above.
Teledentistry is here to stay and getting the correct solution in place early is the first step to really embracing this new direction with confidence and comfort. For advice around video consultation or any other element of digitisation within your practice, please contact our success team.