WHY THE DENTIST IS IN?
Today’s healthcare institutions are being overwhelmed with a flood of patients, especially now that the Affordable Care Act has been implemented. One area of this healthcare strain which has been inappropriately placed on hospital Emergency Rooms, Urgent Care Centers and retail pharmacies is dental emergencies. The American Dental Association study found that, in 2012, ED dental visits cost the U.S. health care system $1.6 billion, with an average cost of $749 per visit.*
“If people are showing up in the ER for dental care, then we’ve got big holes in the delivery of care,” said Shelly Gehshan, director of Pew’s Children’s Dental Campaign. “It’s just like pouring money down a hole.”
Many ED dental visits involve the same patients seeking additional care. That’s because emergency rooms generally are not staffed by dentists. Doctors might offer pain relief and medicine for infected gums but not much more for dental patients. And many patients are unable to find or afford follow-up treatment, so they end up back in the emergency room. “It’s the wrong service, in the wrong setting, at the wrong time,” Gehshan said. And, ED visits are likely to increase in the future, increasing overall healthcare costs. Now more than ever, innovative solutions are needed to improve access and oral health.
We have the solution. The Dentist Is IN is a kiosk based dental consultation and referral system which will provide a virtual dentist where one has always been needed. Our system allows emergency departments, urgent care centers and retail based clinics to have a dentist available 24/7/365 from our online professionals.
Our mission is to relieve the stresses on these healthcare venues by redirecting the patient to appropriate delivery venue. We will provide the access to dental care that is missing at many levels of healthcare, thereby reducing healthcare costs. We will improve the understanding of the importance of oral health as it impacts the entire person and reduce the rebound patients.
*This Research Brief was published by the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute, April 2015