The pandemic has profoundly changed the community’s interface with the doctor and the hospital. An American report summarizes these changes:

  • tele-health becomes a standard way of getting medical advice — the number of American patients reporting “virtual” medical visits more than doubled, from 12% to 27%, from late March to mid-May 2020.
  • payment reform escalates — .the pandemic, some say, could mark the pivot rom fee-for-service to value-based care.
  • there is less emphasis on hospital-based care

I would also add reforms to long-term care are also emerging from the pandemic scare.

It is in this context of change, that we read about the dental and hygiene professions making every effort to preserve traditional procedures which emit aerosols and which require expensive PPE and more investment in the dental clinic. And then one only wonders if the dental industry understands that healthcare is gravitating from “high touch” to “low touch”, to predicting medical events rather than scrambling after the fact, to reducing costs and improving outcomes.

One long-term observer of healthcare describes this pivotal moment in time: “When you’re forced to find different ways of doing things and you find out they are easier and more efficient, it’s going to be hard to go back to the old way.”

Is oral healthcare finding different ways of doing things and becoming more efficient?