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J Telemed Telecare. 2018 Apr;24(3):147-156. doi: 10.1177/1357633X16689433. Epub 2017 Jan 24.

A systematic review of the research evidence for the benefits of teledentistry.

Author information

1
1 International Research Collaborative-Oral Health and Equity: School of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, University of Western Australia, Australia.
2
2 Australian e-Health Research Centre, CSIRO, Australia.

Abstract

Objective This review is designed to inform future decisions about the benefits of integrating teledentistry into routine health services, by presenting an overview of the evidence for the effectiveness and economic impact of teledentistry. Methods Two reviewers searched PubMed, EMBASE and CINAHL databases through November 2016 to identify published peer-reviewed studies in English. Teledentistry studies were included if they were; (a) controlled (randomised or non-randomised) assessment studies; and (b) compared outcomes of a teledentistry intervention in terms of clinical or economic evaluation with the outcomes of traditional clinical alternatives. The quality of the studies was evaluated using a quality appraisal tool that considered study performance and design. Results This review identified 385 publications, of which 217 full-text articles were retrieved for further inspection. Of these, only 11 articles met the inclusion criteria. Nine of the included articles showed some clinical outcomes; the other two were primarily economic analyses. The balance of these studies assesed the efficacy of teledentistry interventions rather than their effectiveness. Four studies (36%) achieved higher quality scores and have greater potential to influence health-care decision-making. To date, the most convincing published evidence regarding the efficacy of teledentistry was provided by studies on paediatric dentistry, orthodontics and oral medicine. The economic analysis referred only to cost-minimisation, suggesting that the use of teleconsultation in dentistry can be cost-saving when compared to a conventional consultation. However, high-quality economic studies on teledentistry are rare. Conclusion There is emerging evidence supporting the efficacy of teledentistry. However, there is not yet enough conclusive evidence, particularly for its effectiveness, cost-effectiveness and long-term use, to make evidence-based policy decisions on teledentistry.

KEYWORDS:

Teledentistry; cost; effectiveness; efficacy; future decisions; oral health

PMID:
28118778
DOI:
10.1177/1357633X16689433
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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