Introduction: Dental emergency (DE) visits to Emergency Departments (EDs) represent about 1.4% to 2% of annual EDs visits. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the majority (79%) of these visits lack urgency and can be diverted to dental offices, with estimated possible cost saving of $1.7 billion annually, which could be used for other cost-effective dental preventive interventions.
Objective: To study the feasibility of establishing a TeleDental approach to manage non-traumatic dental condition (NTDC) visits to the ED within the Marshfield Clinic Health System (MCHS). Our central hypothesis is that: general dental practitioners will cost effectively manage NTDC visits remotely, with improved follow-up and resolution of the underlying dental problem, in comparison to the ED providers.
Methodology: This is a prospective study that will target NTDC visit to MCHS EDs during the study period. The subjects will be interviewed remotely (at the ED, after they have been triaged) by the PI using TeleDental concept, where the PI will assess the subject’s chief complaint (CC) and other key presenting information and will note the preliminary assessment and recommended treatment (this information will not be shared with the subjects). This information will then be compared with the diagnosis and treatment provided by ED provider and MCHS dentist (if applicable) for the study participants, to assess: Feasibility of establishing a TeleDental approach to manage NTDC visits to the ED.
Significance: The result of this pilot study will inform the design of a future clinical interventional study to remotely manage NTDC visits at the EDs with more appropriate triaging to the dental setting. If this approach is validated, the TeleDental outreach could provide regional coverage to several EDs to address NTDC visits.