The new digital platform, developed by a dentist in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, helps patients struggling to find an open practice connect with practices in their local area.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted dental and orthodontic offices, some people are struggling to find care because their usual practice is closed. Dental Cupid, a new online platform, recently launched to serve as a matchmaker of sorts to connect people who need dental care with practices still open in their local area.
Launched in April, the platform has reportedly provided connections for over 5,000 individuals. Over 12,000 dental providers, including orthodontists, nationwide have joined the platform.
Dental Cupid asks for a user’s location and a list of dental professionals handling emergencies in that location is then displayed. As lack of transportation can be an obstacle to care, offices are displayed in relation to distance. The platform also lists insurance information, including whether a practice accepts Medicaid. The practice’s days of operation are also listed. The Dental Cupid user can then contact the practice immediately via phone or web.
The platform can also be used for new patient acquisition.
According to the platform’s developer Abe Abdul, DMD, MBA, a dentist in private practice in the Boston area, Dental Cupid is offered without cost to the dental professional, hospital, or patient. Abdul created the platform after reaching out to a local Boston hospital in early April to ask how the dental profession could help as they struggled to focus on COVID-19 patients. The hospital said it would help to have an updated referral list of dentists in the area to provide a continuum of care.
Due to the risk of transmissions, paper documents were not welcome. Together with two software engineers, Abdul created a digital directory.
“We can basically play matchmaker with people to find a practice that is open in their community and who will see patients with their particular type of insurance,” says Dr Chris Baugh, vice chair of clinical affairs at The Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “And some of these practices are taking all patients, including those without any insurance. And we feel like we’re making a reliable connection.”
Early adopters of the platform included a number of large practices including Pacific Dental, 42 NORTH, and Aspen Dental.
Dental Cupid plans to expand overseas to seven additional countries.