When looking to find a good teledentistry company, there are several fundamental questions you should be asking. These questions can help you to find a teledentist that offers a high-quality service. Your dental health is not something you want to leave to amateurs, so make sure to ask the following questions to help you find the best company possible:
1. How Does Your Teledental Platform Work?
The first question patients should be asking is how exactly the platform works. It's good to have an idea of what the company does, but frequently the specifics can differ between companies. That's why it's always good to confirm with the business what their process is, whether you're having an online dental consultation or getting support for an in-home orthodontics service.
2. How Long Has Your Teledentistry Company Been Around?
Another significant question to ask is how long the particular company has been in business. Companies that have a longer track record have proven they can meet patients' needs, while a newer company lacks such proof. Knowing how long a company has been in business can go a long way toward helping you decide if you want to do business with them.
While you're at it, now is also an excellent time to ask for any references or investigate feedback the company has received.
3. Who Will I Communicate With While Using Your Teledental Service?
Knowing who precisely you'll be communicating with is another meaningful thing to keep in mind. In many cases, you'll likely not always be talking directly to a dentist. You may be talking to a receptionist or a dental hygienist. You may even be stuck speaking to a customer service representative. It's important to know what the process is for talking to a dental professional, and how long it takes to do so.
4. What Sort of Privacy Practices Does Your Company Follow?
Teledentistry regulations are constantly evolving. Dental information often falls under HIPAA guidelines for privacy, and you should be able to expect a company to follow these requirements. Many teledentistry services will meet the threshold for being a "HIPAA-covered entity" and therefore, must comply with the relevant regulations and laws. Outside of that, you should know about any other privacy policies they have in place.
5. Who Has Access to My Private Data?
You'll want to know who has access to your private information at the company. It's also important to ask as some companies might need to share your information with third parties to perform their duties. It's your right to know who these third parties are, and what type of information they are disclosing.
6. Do You Use any Outside Parties to Perform Your Teledental Services?
You should ask if any specific tasks are outsourced to third parties. Many companies will do this for non-dental related things like billing, but it's essential to know who has your information. You might also want to follow up with these companies to ensure that they, too, are following proper privacy practices.
7. What Safety Policies Do You Have in Place?
Safety measures will vary based on the type of service required, but you want to guarantee that they are performing it safely. All reputable companies should have policies detailing patient safety and how they are working to maintain those policies. Talk with any prospective companies about how they not only work to keep you safe, but also how they minimize issues with incorrect diagnoses.
8. How Much Does Your Online Dental Service Cost?
As with any service, it's imperative to know what you're paying before any services begin. Whether it's a flat rate or an on-going fee, the teledentistry company should be able to tell you what you can expect to pay. Many offer flat-rate fees for standard services, and they should be able to give you exact numbers in those cases.
9. Do You Work With My Dental Insurance?
While many telehealth services are yet to be covered by health insurance, many are. You can also ask about their referral process should they deem it necessary for you to see a dentist in-person. Many teledentistry companies will work with you and your dental insurance to refer to a covered dental professional.
10. What Laws Are You Required to Follow?
Lastly, teledentistry companies must be familiar with the laws surrounding their business. Regulations will vary by state. So depending on your location, the requirements themselves may be different.
Asking the above questions is key to giving you the confidence to find a good teledentistry company. You never want to trust your oral health with an unknown person or company; make sure you do enough research and work with only the best companies that care about their patients.