The pandemic is speeding up the need and use of TeleMedicine and TeleDentistry. In some countries this technology is still on its infancy, but the current situation is accelerating the need for the service. While, countries national health services the system is limited on the private sector has been moving slowly. However, as health services get overwhelmed and the need to follow up on patients is pushing the development of Tele appointments faster than never before.
The current pandemic has forced us to check on certain cases over the phone or video conference, this has contributed for patients to ask for advice for other pathologies too, and dentistry is certainly one of those fileds. Reducing the physical contact and the need for travel. As there is no need to be physically present at the clinic for some of the appointments. Over the last few weeks, we have seen huge increase in the development of this technology and it is here to stay. In the future we won’t say teledoctor or teledentist as something new, it will be normal for us to pick up the phone and talk to our doctor or dentist. This is so evident in dentistry. There are so many questions and issues that can be dealt with over a video conference. It is true that you would need to come to the clinic for the treatment but initial consultations, denture repairs, advice on specific topics or follow up questions from current treatments.
National Health Services from European countries have been slow to put up a plan with a clear strategy for the general public to access digital appointments and the current pandemic has demonstrated that. In Great Britain the NHS set up two years ago NHS Direct with video consults, in Spain there only starting now but the budget is small and limited to regions of the country. In Madrid some hospitals already have the service in place for some time and they are the ones that have been better prepare now to accommodate the higher volume of patients. It gives hospital more flexibility, more options and offers patients shorter waiting time and faster access to treatment and this is not only for covid-19 patients but also for all the other patients that have ongoing treatments as well as new ones.
There is also a data base that would select patients that don’t need to go to the actual clinic or hospital for appointments like results, patients are able to see the results on line and can talk to the specialist on a video call where a discussion can be have and adjustments on medication can be done if needed.
The pandemic has also exposed that access to primary care where the appointment is not urgent can also be improved, as well as looking after cronic patients. Visits can be managed more effectively reducing the volume of physical appointments and waiting lists. This will also help people who need carers to attend the clinic, people who have mobility issues or people who just depend on others to bring them to and from the clinic. Not forgetting all of those who live in remote areas of the country and the nearest clinic is miles away. In regions where clinics have closed due to low density population can have now access to top clinicians from the comfort of atheir own home.
On the private sector the current crisis has pushed the development of medical platforms, in Spain the App MyDoctor that has now a base of 500 doctors has seen an increase of 30 times the number of visits over the last few weeks.
There is a platform that offers their service to schools, hotels, companies, airlines given quick and easy access to medical care, as the new technology moves forward doctors can also auscultate remotely in real time.
Sanitas a private health provider that introduced the service back in 2016 reports to be making more than 5000 video consults a day, wheras before Covid-19 it would be around 300. Prompting the need to increase the number of clinical staff to cover the huge demand.
TeleDentistry is here to stay and we are very proud here at Dental Tech Group to be able to offer this service that allow us to look after you faster and more efficiently.