3 ways DSOs are enhancing patient care

Several DSOs have recently launched initiatives to enhance patient care through new services, financing assistance and technology investments. 

Here are three ways DSOs are enhancing patient care:

New offerings

Chicago-based Aspen Dental and Atlanta-based Benevis recently launched new services to help patients pay for treatment.

Aspen Dental began offering membership plans for uninsured patients at select offices in February. The DSO partnered with dental subscription service Membersy to offer a savings plan that will cost $39 for a primary membership and $20 per year for each additional family member. Benefits of the plan include free exams and X-rays, no waiting periods and no exclusions for preexisting conditions.

Benevis added a cost calculator to help patients understand potential payment and financing options for dental and orthodontic care. The tool increases price transparency by providing potential payment plan timelines. The financing options are based on the total cost of treatment, insurance coverage, Flexible Spending Account or Health Spending Account contributions, down payments and length of treatment. 

"Benevis has proudly worked to establish routine dental care, treatment plans, and dental homes for approximately five million children in underserved communities, with 82 percent of our youth patients currently on Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Programs. As part of that process, we're pleased to further our support for families by offering a tool that can assist with their financial budgeting," said Dale Mayfield, DMD, chief dental officer at Benevis. "By helping to create payment term transparency for orthodontic care, we can ensure patients feel confident about their oral healthcare journeys and that unexpected fees will not burden them."

Integrated medical-dental care

DSOs have continued efforts to increase medical-dental integrated care through industry partnerships and new initiatives.

In March, Benevis released its Dental Home Playbook, a guide for healthcare providers to help patients establish routine dental care to promote overall wellbeing. The playbook aims to help primary care providers collaborate with dentists on establishing a dental care foundation for patients. Resources offered in the guide include oral risk assessments, management tools and checklists.

Irvine, Calif.-based Pacific Dental Services and the Workman School of Dental Medicine at High Point (N.C.) University partnered in February to implement the Epic electronic health record system at the university. In addition to exposing students to the technology, the system will also be made available to dental practices affiliated with the university. The move comes after Pacific Dental Services implemented Epic into its more than 900 affiliated practices, which the DSO said has led to improved collaboration between providers and early detection of systemic conditions.

Technology investments

Several DSOs have partnered with artificial intelligence companies to add this technology to their affiliated practices.

Overjet has added its AI technology to several companies. New England Dental Group partnered with Overjet to add AI-powered X-ray analysis to its 10 practices across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Texas. In January, Dallas-based Pearl Street Dental Partners integrated Pearl's AI service at its 34 locations in Texas and Oklahoma.

Alpharetta, Ga.-based Oak Dental Partners added VideaHealth's AI-powered X-ray image analysis tool to its 54 practices. 

"Oak Dental Partners invests heavily in its affiliated dentists so they can focus on delivering exceptional patient care," said Florian Hillen, CEO of VideaHealth. "We’re thrilled that Videa Assist is now a valuable tool in their clinical toolbox so providers can detect diseases more effectively while offering families transparency into their treatment plans, fostering greater trust and improving oral health."

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