The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more important than ever to focus on revenue generation and profit preservation. Many DSOs are leaving no stone unturned when it comes to evaluating their overall operations and clinical workflows in order to adapt them to the new normal of potential cycles of re-closures and re-openings. In other words, how to make the most of the times when their offices are open for full-service dentistry
One of the simplest and quickest ways to optimize billable treatment and boost the bottom line is already within reach – the intraoral camera. There has been much written about the advantages of using an intraoral camera on every patient, during every appointment. Today this best practice advice should be implemented as standard operating procedure. Here are six ways intraoral cameras can help boost your DSO’s bottom line:
- New Patient Baseline: Radiographs may already part of your new patient examination protocol, but intraoral photos will provide another visual dimension of oral health documentation, especially when it comes to the condition of the patient’s gums and oral tissue.
- Patient Education: You can also differentiate your DSO by using the intraoral camera to give your new patient a “tour” of their oral cavity. They may not understand your diagnosis and recommendations unless they can visualize what you are explaining. Once they point to an area of concern and ask a question, you’ll know they are fully engaged.
- Case Presentation: Radiographs and intraoral photos can have a strong impact and motivate the patient to take control of their oral health. They are also more likely to trust the dentist’s recommendations. The overall result, an increase in approved treatment plans throughout your organization.
- Annual Updates: Instead of asking the patient if they’ve noticed any changes since their last visit, you can show them changes they may not have been aware of such as calculus on the lingual surface of their teeth, gum inflammation, a loose filling, etc. Once again, increased case acceptance combined with the opportunity to help the patient improve their home care and take responsibility for preventing future oral disease. This is especially important for those who are medically compromised.
- Increased Insurance Reimbursement: Patient approval for treatment is only half of the equation, insurance reimbursement is the other half. When full visual documentation is submitted with the insurance claim in the form of radiographs and intraoral images, the claim is less likely to be rejected such as that for surface decay that doesn’t appear on a radiograph. Another example is submitting claims under the so-called “Gingival Codes” D445 and D446.
The above recommendations are supported by a recent survey co-sponsored by Dental Economics and MouthWatch. Here are some of the more significant findings regarding intraoral camera usage:
- More than 92% of practitioners with intraoral cameras use them regularly
- 37% said they use their intraoral camera on virtually every patient
- Another 33% use the camera to show patients the pathology of their oral health conditions
- 28% of practices that have intraoral cameras, have MouthWatch cameras — more
than any other camera brand by a large margin.
The bottom-line findings of the survey are also worth noting:
- Over 29% of respondents provided an estimate of incremental monthly revenue, attributable to the use of intraoral cameras
- Among respondents who provided an estimate, the average incremental revenue was more than $7,300.00 per month
Although the majority of the respondents of this survey were independent practice dentists, it’s not too difficult to recognize the revenue-generating value of intraoral cameras throughout an entire dental group or DSO when there’s a camera in every operatory and used on every patient.
About the Author: James (Jay) Martorelli is the Director of Sales for MouthWatch, LLC, a leader in innovative teledentistry solutions, digital case presentation tools and intraoral imaging devices He is responsible for developing key public health and private sector accounts as well as forging strategic alliances with DSOs and group practices throughout the United States. Jay is a dental industry sales veteran with 25 years of experience with dental manufacturing and media companies. You can contact him at [email protected].
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