In March of 2020, Michael Bonanno — CEO of Performance Partners and Virtual Support Solutions — realized that his business could either pivot or perish as a result of COVID-19. He knew dental clinics were struggling to stay open across the country due to practices being limited to emergencies only, and that there was an influx of people visiting the hospital with a dental health crisis. In fact, pre COVID-19 pandemic, the American Dental Association reported that every 14 seconds someone visits the emergency room with a dental need even though emergency rooms are not equipped to handle definitive dental treatment. To help keep people out of the emergency room during these unprecedented times, Bonanno launched US Dental Triage, a 24/7 hotline for people experiencing a dental emergency.
The company has now connected with dental practices across the nation and has over 60 team members on staff to connect callers experiencing urgent dental needs with an office that is open and available to see the patient right away. Once matched with a dentist, the patient then can do a virtual consultation to talk about his or her symptoms and ensure that the issue warrants an emergency visit. And Bonanno is also utilizing his three-year-old Virtual Support Solutions to help add dentists to the US Dental Triage network and offer virtual call rollover at any hour of the day or night, so they don’t miss any emergency calls. Dental practices also can gain referrals through new patients who call in and don’t currently have a dentist.
Noting the service is complimentary for both patient and dentist, Bonanno says the biggest challenge in founding the company was getting the word out fast enough and to enough people, and the company is still looking for available dentists in all 50 states to join the network.
“Our executive team discovered an opportunity to give back, Bonanno says. “By helping keep dental patients out of the emergency room, doctors and nurses are freed up to treat patients experiencing Coronavirus symptoms. Being the leading hotline connecting patients experiencing an urgent dental need with a dentist that is open and able to treat them became our mission. It’s one of the many ways our team is making a difference for people.”
Did you know: Through US Dental Triage, CEO Michael Bonanno is also working to donate face masks and personal protective equipment to first responders across the country. As of mid-June, the company had already delivered more than 1,700 N95 masks.
Photo courtesy of Tony Taafe Photography | Headshot & Portrait Studio