The Rise of Telehealth in the COVID-19 Pandemic

Federal and state legislation as well as the medical and dental professions have embraced telehealth. Here is how you can too…

From the LifeMinute.TV Team

April 30, 2020

Telehealth has never been more important. We caught up with Nashville-based Dr. Jeffrey Sulitzer, dentist and Chief Clinical Officer of SmileDirectClub, the oral care company that created the first direct-to-consumer telehealth platform for teeth straightening, for the latest.

“Telehealth usage is increasing,” says the doctor. “While we’re unable to see our patients in-person, we can still maintain care at a distance for non-emergency situations. Consumers should know that they have access to trained medical professionals to address their health concerns, and overall well-being by simply using their smart phones or computers.”

Sulitzer says he communicates with his clients regularly via video chat, text message and email, “my patients can send me images of their teeth with detailed instructions from me so that I can address what concerns they may be talking about. Aside from potential issues and concerns, telehealth should regularly be used as an education tool. For example, dentists can create instructional videos on proper brushing and flossing to encourage regular care of oral health. Simple things like this go a long way for people’s overall health in the long-term.”

Dr. Sulitzer says he and SmileDirectClub have taken it one step further, opening their proprietary teledentistry platform to any licensed dentist or orthodontist in the United States. 

“As the American Dental Association and state dental boards and associations mandated the postponement of all non-essential dentist appointments and procedures amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the opening of the SmileDirectClub teledentistry platform allows dentists and orthodontists to communicate with and treat their patients remotely,” he says. “We are also distributing complementary medical-grade 3D printed face shields so that providers have the personal protective equipment (PPE) needed for emergency in-office care.”

 Sulitzer says telemedicine usage is up 335% and FaceTime is up 458%. “As we see increases in the use of telehealth, more insurance payers are updating policies to account for improved access and support of the solution,” he says.

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