Teledentistry’s Impact on Oral Health Services in Rural Areas
ALBANY, N.Y. (January 18, 2021) – Research conducted by Simona Surdu and Margaret Langelier at the University at Albany's Center for Health Workforce Studies found that children’s utilization of oral health teledentistry services in general dentistry clinics shortened their waiting period for specialty treatment services.
The study included 144 children from rural New York who had live-video teledentistry consultations with pediatric dental specialists at local general dentistry clinics. During the teledentistry visits, pediatric dental specialists provided the children with consultation services, whereas treatment services were provided in-person at the specialty dental clinic at a later date.
The results of the study revealed that most children completed treatment plans at the specialty clinic and also utilized follow-up oral health services at general dentistry clinics after a teledentistry consultation. Children who utilized follow-up oral health services in general dentistry clinics experienced shorter time to specialty treatment initiation and fewer case-management contacts. Children who did not utilize follow-up oral health services experienced longer time to specialty treatment initiation and were required to engage with significantly more case-management contacts. Results also indicated that the severity of the child’s case and their compliance with their treatment regimen were predictors of utilization of oral health services in general dentistry clinics.
This information is useful for providing information on the role of teledentistry in promoting access and utilization of general and specialty oral health services among children and for subsequently encouraging the use of teledentistry services especially for rural and underserved populations.
For more information about CHWS and their research on the health workforce, visit www.chwsny.org.
Established in 1996, CHWS is an academic research organization, based at the School of Public Health, University at Albany, State University of New York (SUNY). The mission of CHWS is to provide timely, accurate data and conduct policy relevant research about the health workforce. The research conducted by CHWS supports and promotes health workforce planning and policymaking at local, regional, state, and national levels. Today, CHWS is a national leader in the field of health workforce studies, and the only HRSA-sponsored center with a unique focus on the oral health workforce.