ADA 2015: Telehealth moves ahead to play major role in future

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A panel on telehealth at the American Dental Association’s annual meeting in Washington DC featured Dr. Michael Helgeson, Apple Tree CEO, Dr. Paul Glassman, Director of the Center for Special Care at University of the Pacific, and Dr. Barbara Smith, Apple Tree co-founder. Panelists emphasized that available and evolving telehealth technologies allow the dental team to remove barriers and improve care as demonstrated by Apple Tree’s “Community Collaborative Practice” model and University of the Pacific’s “Virtual Dental Home”. Dr. Helgeson highlighted Apple Tree’s successful Head Start teledentistry pilot project in the early 2000’s as well as telehealth innovations within its on-site care programs. Read the full Dr. Bicuspid story here.
Minnesota’s 2015 legislature also recognized the potential of telehealth to improve access. Legislation passed will require coverage of a variety of telehealth services including dental examinations, x-rays, and consultations. The Department of Human services is developing guidelines which will go into effect on January 1, 2016. This policy change will benefit rural and urban programs alike by linking on-site oral health teams with remote dentists and specialists.

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