Awareness and use of teledentistry among dental health care professionals at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital (AEFUTH), Abakiliki, Nigeria
Introduction: Teledentistry is an emerging model of practice with immense potential in clinical practice and public health delivery. It is the combination of telecommunications and dentistry, involving the exchange of clinical information and images over a distance for consultation, treatment planning, and treatment purpose.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the awareness and use of teledentistry among dental health professionals at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakiliki (AEFUTHA), Ebonyi State, Nigeria.
Materials and methods: A self-structured 16-item questionnaire designed with four-point Likert scale ideals was duplicated and distributed among 60 dental health care professionals (42 male, 18 female) in the study context. The questionnaire bore relevant domains, which were designed to elicit accurate and honest responses from the professionals, including demographic data, knowledge of teledentistry, the usefulness of teledentistry for the patient, the usefulness of teledentistry in dental practice, and the potential of teledentistry to improve practice and existing concerns about the use of teledentistry.
Results: All the questionnaires distributed were returned (100% response rate). Results indicated that none of the DHCPs surveyed provided services using teledentistry (0.00%). 68.33% have never heard about teledentistry. The awareness of the respondents concerning the usefulness of teledentistry for the patient and dental practice was very low (Mean = 1.9).
Conclusion: Awareness of the use of teledentistry should be intensified among all dental health care professionals to promote optimal uptake of its services to the benefit of oral health consumers.