Segmenting the population into “haves” and “have-nots,” Huot said. The “haves” can afford to pay for treatment out of pocket or get Medicaid and Medicare to cover it. Then there are the people who are stuck in between.
“Everything else that you hear is about the middle class in this country, with insurance companies providing less coverage, and some plans even dropping out,” Huot said. “And that was one of the unintended consequences of the ACA. Some plans did drop out.”
Also in the wake of the ACA, integrated electronic health records have dramatically changed dentistry, with great variations. Many older practices still use hard copies of records on paper, some have begun the migration to digital data, and others are all online.
In fact, thanks to partnerships between the major software providers and dental schools, all dental students now are familiar with paperless recordkeeping. Yet the electronic frontier carries its own host of dangers for practice owners and patients alike.
“You’ve got 2 things going,” Huot said. “You’ve got hacker problems, and you’ve got Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) violations.”
Many physicians have launched patient portals where their patients can access their medical information securely and confidentially while satisfying HIPAA regulations. Huot believes that similar systems will emerge in dentistry. Still, many small practices don’t have the firewall muscle to protect these records yet.
“I would venture to guess that there are several practices still working in Windows XP. Microsoft will tell you that they can’t support it, nor is it secure. So all those people are potentially targets for hacking,” Huot said dental implant machine.
It’s a new landscape for dentists who are now looking to retire and sell their practices. Instead of a fresh-faced kid just out of school, it may be a corporation on the other side of the table. Technology may need an expensive overhaul, with an eye on new regulations. And patients themselves may have trouble paying. But Huot is hopeful about the state of oral health in the country scian nebulizer.
“I think as a whole it’s getting better. When you look at older adults, they have retained their teeth for way longer than just a generation ago. On the pediatric side, we are making inroads. We don’t see as much rampant decay as we used to see. Some of it might be better nutrition. Some of it might be less sugary snacks,” Huot said.
“All that is going to increase our health contra angle handpiece. And because of the Medicaid system and because there’s a large population that’s qualified for that, some of them are actually getting the treatment done,” Huot said. “And once you find that patients are done, then it’s not as bad.”