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Conference Abstracts

Providing patient-centred care and enabling the principles of value based health care through Teledentistry during COVID-19 pandemic

Authors:

Susan McKee ,

Dental Health Services Victoria, Australia, AU
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Shalika Hegde,

Dental Health Services Victoria, Australia, AU
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Nuno Goncalves

Dental Health Services Victoria, Australia
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Abstract

Introduction: COVID-19 has challenged the public dental system in its ability to continue to provide routine oral health care services. To enable ongoing delivery of public oral health care during COVID-19, Dental Health Services Victoria (DHSV) implemented a Teledentistry platform that adopted the principles of value based health care and supported care based on patient needs.

DHSV’s eligible patient cohort includes disadvantaged population who have greater oral health needs and are at higher risk of poor oral health. To support this patient cohort and needs of patients with low digital literacy, strong emphasis was placed on the simplicity and user friendliness of the Teledentistry platform. Extensive consumer consultation throughout the design and implementation phase allowed appropriate modifications to the use of language and offerings of the digital services.

Objectives and Methods: The objective of the Teledentistry platform is to enable ongoing delivery of public oral healthcare during COVID-19, facilitate remote triaging, and provide patients with timely and remote access to oral healthcare.

A mixed method evaluation was undertaken to understand patients’ perspective of receiving care remotely and clinicians’ perspective of providing care through a digital platform. Patient’s and clinician’s acceptance of teledentistry platform, its enablers and barriers and ability to deliver care using the principles of value based healthcare were explored.

Key Findings: A total of 2492 patients accessed Teledentistry services at DHSV between May 2020 and April 2021. Overall, 84% of patients who self-initiated Teledentistry services attended their appointments. Patient Reported Experience Measures captured from 489 patients showed that patients agreed or strongly agreed that: the care they received met their needs (87%); they received answers to their questions (89%); they left their visit knowing what is next (87%); they felt that they were taken care of during their visit (90%) and felt involved in their treatment (89%).

Approximately, 56% of patients felt that the quality of treatment they received was excellent and 28% felt it was good. Nearly 83% of patients indicated they would recommend the DHSV Teledentistry service to family or friends.

Patients expressed deep appreciation for being able to remotely access clinicians and receive care in the comfort of their own homes, particularly during the pandemic. Common challenges patients experienced included internet connectivity issues, restricted access to face-to-face consultation under COVID-19 restrictions, and long waitlists to receive general and specialist care.

Conclusions: Teledentistry has proven as a viable option to address oral health inequities by increasing access to care for vulnerable and underserved populations and reducing barriers to accessing oral health care. Overwhelmingly positive feedback from patients highlighted the benefits of Teledentistry and its ability to deliver patient-centred care remotely.

Implications for applicability and sustainability: The successful implementation of a sustainable Teledentistry model is a complex and collaborative process, involving numerous factors at individual, infrastructure, funding and organisational levels. While harnessing technological capabilities can improve timely access to patient care, finding sustainable funding to provide ongoing Teledentistry services is often challenging.

 

How to Cite: McKee S, Hegde S, Goncalves N. Providing patient-centred care and enabling the principles of value based health care through Teledentistry during COVID-19 pandemic. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2022;22(S3):212. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/ijic.ICIC22103
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Published on 04 Nov 2022.

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