Telemedicine as a supplement in the daily practice of dentistry

In odontology, specialist consultation is of great importance with regard to pathological changes in the oral cavity and bordering regions. To find a new, more efficient and cost-effective approach, a telemedicine network has been developed for the maxillofacial surgery clinics at the Akademiska Sjukhuset in Uppsala and the outpatient dental and medical clinics in Uppsala County. The project is part of the EU HEALTH OPTIMUM project (HEALTHcare delivery OPTIMization throUgh teleMedicine) aimed at exploring how new technology and new processes increase quality of care within medical and odontological specialties.

For patients, this translates to fast and competent handling of their problems at regular clinics. They are able to be absent from their regular routines for shorter periods, while avoiding travel and travel expenses. For the profession, this means that certain issues can be handled through the network with specialist support, which reduces the pressure on specialist clinics and provides more equal access to care.

Our pilot area involved changes of the oral mucosa, either exogenous or endogenous in origin. For instance, skin diseases often manifest in the mouth and patients with internal medicine disease, both benign and malignant, often present with problems in the oral cavity related to underlying disease; similarly, tumors and tumor-like conditions are not uncommon. Changes in the oral mucosa present with a highly variable clinical picture, which requires significant experience for proper management. Many people have mild problems, yet require expert management.

Regular consultations and discussions between primary care/general dentistry and specialists convey substantial amounts of knowledge, which in the long term increases the quality of care and reduces the need for specialist consultation. Our work will continue with an assessment of the broader impact of telemedicine on patient management.

 Live telemedicine round