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The Relationship Between Dental Support Organizations (DSOs) and the Evolving Healthcare Delivery Model

Posted: February 6th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: Basics, Dental | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

The significant role of oral health and its contribution to an individual’s well-being has come under scrutiny as of late. In 2014, it was estimated that more than 181 million Americans would not visit a dentist because of several barriers to care, or a self-diagnosis of “my mouth is healthy – I do not need to visit the dentist.” Other reasons noted by individuals not seeing their dentist on a consistent basis were: cost or no insurance, limited dental access in their area or lack of transportation, or they simply did not have the time.

With this data in tow, a more efficient and readily available business model has become increasingly popular within dentistry: Dental Support Organizations.

What is a DSO?

According to the Association of Dental Support Organizations (ADSO), Dental Support Organizations (DSOs) contract with dental practices to provide critical business management and support, including non-clinical operations, and range from small to large size organizations serving dental practices throughout the country.

The business models of DSOs do differ and while the neighborhood family dentist typically treats the general patient population, dental practices supported by DSOs often focus on specific populations. For example, some DSOs are entirely focused on meeting the needs of pediatric patients, while others are focused on more rural populations. This is not to say that DSOs do not serve the general population, as many still do.

The Patient Experience

The true patient benefit of a DSO model lies in the integrated technologies and streamlined processes. DSOs offer patients many time saving benefits including:

    • Online appointment booking systems
    • Online bill pay
    • Flat rate appointments
    • Flexibility to visit dentists between multiple offices
    • Electronic prescription routing

Why Dental Service Organizations Are Here To Stay - an Infographic by Dental Care Alliance
Dental Infographic
by Dental Care Alliance

The Role of Technology Within DSOs

DSOs are at the forefront of technology, both from a clinical and administrative standpoint. They pride themselves on remaining innovative, not only to better treat their patients, but to also have a competitive advantage and to attract and maintain new dentists. From billing software to detailed patient charting to specific treatment mechanisms, technology is embedded in nearly every workflow.

While many DSOs have thrown out their dentists’ paper prescription pads and have adopted electronic prescribing (e-Prescribing) software, there is still plenty of room to grow. e-Prescribing software provides dentists with the ability to send non-controlled and controlled prescriptions electronically directly to the patient’s pharmacy which adds convenience to the patient’s experience.

In addition to the prescription writing feature, e-Prescribing includes high value functionality for the dentist, patient and management teams such as:

  • Insight into a patient’s current medication regimen.
  • Ability to check for drug-to-drug and drug-to-allergy interactions at the point of care to help improve treatment decisions.
  • Reporting capabilities that share what is prescribed and in what quantities to assess for in regards to compliance. This is especially crucial with the current opioid epidemic and having the ability to track prescriptions for controlled substances.
  • Documentation for both the dentist and the patient including dental specific dosing information, as well as medication monographs.

What’s Ahead for DSOs

DSOs are continuing to shake up the dental industry. New DSOs continue to emerge, while existing ones are frequently acquiring new dental practices, therefore expanding and continuing to growing throughout the country. As previously discussed, cost and limited access to care were the most popular barriers, but DSOs offer streamlined solutions for both barriers as they are committed to the improvement of oral health in the United States through the accessibility of high-quality dental care. It is only a matter of time before more and more dentists hop on board.

Sources: American Dental Association; Association of Dental Support Organizations (ADSO); ADSO Whitepaper; National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dental Care Alliance

About DoseSpot

DoseSpot is a Surescripts certified e-Prescribing platform specifically designed to integrate with electronic health record, electronic dental record, practice management and telehealth software. DoseSpot is certified to e-Prescribe controlled substances and has provided simple, affordable and integratable e-Prescribing solutions to healthcare IT companies since 2009. For more information, please visit www.DoseSpot.com.