In today’s world, we are learning that remote workflows are an essential tool to communicate and engage existing or new patients.

Remote Workflows involves a series of aspects, one of these is video consultations.At Aligner Alchemy, we are pioneering Remote Workflows during the COVID-19 disaster to help GDP’s communicate with needs and wants based patients. We see Remote Video Consultations as a MUST moving forward.

Video consultations are a remote provision of dental care, advice or treatment through the medium of information technology, rather than through direct personal contact with any patient(s) involved.

The simplest part of video consultations is using technology to communicate either with a patient seeking advice or education prior to a consultation/examination, or a clinician seeing advice from a fellow clinician remotely, or where a patient mid treatment wants to communicate with the treating clinician.

History- The field of dentistry has always seen extensive technological innovations over the years from digital X-rays to intra-oral cameras to most recently digital scanners.  Advances have also been made in the use of computers, digital diagnostic imaging, and software for analysis and follow-up. Using advanced information technology, dentistry and taken leaps and bounds in progressing to a digital era.  New information technology has not only improved the quality of management of dental patients, but also has made possible management and monitoring of patients remotely without actually seeing them

Video-consultation can take place in either of the following ways –

1.Real-Time Consultation – Videoconference in which dental professionals and their patients, at different locations, may see, hear, and communicate with one another at that particular time.

2.Store and Forward Method-  Exchange of clinical information and static images collected and stored by the dental practitioner, who forwards them for consultation and treatment planning.

3.Remote Monitoring Method- This is where patients are monitored from a distance remotely.

 

Role in oral medicine and diagnosis- Bradley M et al. successfully proved the use of video consultations in oral medicine in a community dental service in Belfast, N. Ireland, using a prototype video consulting system.

Role in oral and maxillofacial surgery- Duka M et al. showed that diagnostic assessment of the clinical diagnosis of impacted or semi-impacted third molars assisted by the video consult approach was equal to the real-time assessment of clinical diagnosis.

Role in endodontics- Zivkovic D et al. demonstrated that  based on the Internet as a telecommunication medium can be successfully utilized in the diagnosis of periapical lesions of the front teeth, reducing the costs associated with distant visits and making urgent help available.

Role in orthodontics -A study by Stephens CD and Cook J shows that a majority of UK orthodontic consultants support the concept of using video consultations to make their advice more accessible to dentists and patients.

A survey by Bradley SM et al. showed that almost half of the general dental practitioners in West Yorkshire, who responded, had a positive attitude towards the benefits of using remote dentistry to obtain advice from orthodontic consultants.

Role in prosthodontics- Ignatius E et al. investigated the use of videoconferencing for diagnosis and treatment planning for patients requiring prosthetic or oral rehabilitation treatment and stated that video-consultation in dentistry has the potential to increase the total number of dental specialist services in sparsely populated areas.

Role in periodontics-The Web-based video consultation system developed for the US Department of Defence dental clinics showed that referrals to oral surgery, prosthodontics and periodontics had the highest number of consults.

With all the technological developments taking place in the field of video conferencing practitioners may eventually link up to virtual dental health clinics and an entirely new era of dentistry can be created.

 

Whilst Remote and Virtual Workflows may be new to the GDP world , we can see that there are already a number of exciting applications , with many more exciting opportunities to embrace Remote Workflows.