How to Implement Translation Into Your Teledentistry

by Ofer Tirosh, CEO of Tomedes

Teledentistry is defined as the application of telecommunications, and so, it exchanges information between dentists and patients through interactive audio, text, and video.

PubMed Central reported that many dentists find it difficult to continue their practice due to the pandemic. Even though teledentistry wouldn’t entirely replace physical dentistry services, it alleviates this current dilemma.

Teledentistry has come a long way since its humble beginnings as dentistry services via phone call. However, like with other healthcare services, does the Limited English Proficiency (LEPs) in your community have access to them?

Most often, teledentistry isn’t multilingual, which is an obstacle for LEPs seeking remote dentistry services. If you want to learn more about how you can implement translation services to have teledentistry services available in almost any language, then keep on reading!

Teledentistry for more accessibility
Forbes has stated several benefits from teledentistry, including greater convenience as patients can receive dental care from their homes. Patients who have immediate access to emergency dental care can get diagnosed right away. Meanwhile, dentists can serve more people compared to conventional dental services.

The pandemic has accelerated the need for teledentistry. Telehealth, a healthcare distributor, has stated that 83% of patients said they would still want to do teledentistry and telehealth-related activities even after the pandemic.

As early as 2006, the University of Alberta published an article wherein over 14,000 dental practitioners participated in their survey to determine Canadian dentist practitioners regarding digital and electronic technologies. About 70% strongly believed that digital and electronic technologies would be helpful with consultations. The main concerns from dental practitioners were the costs, lack of experience with utilizing these technologies, and privacy data.

More than a decade later, due to the pandemic, teledentistry has become essential in ensuring that dental care is still available despite lockdown restrictions. However, will it remain relevant post-pandemic?

As of now, the pandemic isn’t showing any signs of ending soon. But teledentistry could further innovate and develop technology, providing additional revenue for the dental industry. The benefits of this would provide more comprehensive access to patients.

Another benefit of teledentistry is to provide better dental care services for the rural areas in Canada. For several years, oral care has been primarily concentrated in the cities, leaving rural areas underserved due to less population and underdevelopment. Accessibility of oral care through teledentistry will be a lot cheaper compared to commuting to acquire dental care.

Accessibility to oral care is essential in ensuring treatment of oral diseases, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Several research papers have pointed out that poor oral health leads to an increased chance of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Having poor access to dental care can affect a person’s self-image and income.

Translation Services for Teledentistry
Canada’s government website stated that immigrant patients had a low satisfaction rate with healthcare services they received due to language barriers. This is problematic because consent and confidentiality are the cornerstones of medical care. Access to translators and interpreters helped overcome these barriers, and the survey saw an increase in patient satisfaction.

The Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages reported that 11.9% of Canada’s population only spoke French, and about 1.9% spoke neither French nor English. So translating your teledentistry is essential in a multilingual and multiculturally diverse country like Canada.

Other dental care practitioners have already started implementing translation into their dentistry practices in Canada and the US.

A children’s dentistry clinic in Atlanta in a predominantly Spanish-speaking community wanted to increase their clientele. However, they experienced two significant problems: language barriers and the immigrant family’s lack of understanding towards proper dental care.

Not only that, but often, they weren’t aware that they could access Medicaid and other subsidized dental care services. Their website received significant traffic because they integrated these services, and they got around 200 new phone calls a month.

They offered translated information on the ways they can get subsidized dental care and also advised immigrant parents on how they can help their children with oral healthcare and hygiene.
And this is not a trend. More and more companies seek this type of service to better interact with their respective local communities and target audience.

Slator, a language industry and news provider, stated that the language industry’s resilience amidst the pandemic is because businesses have realized that the expansion of their business relies on translation services to promote and market their brand, products, and services.

What to consider when translating teledentistry
Now, if you’re planning to translate your teledentistry service, we’ve listed some things you have to consider, as follows:

  • Look into translation services with the tools and expertise to implement several languages on different platforms, from video conferences to websites.
  • If you have a website, take advantage of your translation provider’s services by making it multilingual and providing crucial information such as oral health care practices, frequently asked questions (FAQs) pages, and subsidized medical care.
  • Utilize local SEO to attract the immigrant demographic to your website.
  • When conducting a video conference with patients, you can seek out real-time translation subtitling for your patients to better understand your consultation.
  • You can also create videos on dental healthcare and hygiene practices and have translated subtitles or have a translated voice-over.

To Wrap-Up
Teledentistry has become essential due to the pandemic. However, because of language barriers and lack of knowledge towards subsidizing health programs, many LEPs don’t get sufficient oral health care. But implementing translation services to teledentistry could mitigate this prevalent health issue in immigrant communities.

About the Author

Ofer Tirosh is the CEO of Tomedes, a translation services company specializing in dentistry services in over 120 languages and 950+ language pairs. He primarily writes about science and technology, business and finance, and the language and translation industry.

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