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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 142-146

Teleconsultation – the pandemic mantra or the new norm?

Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Faculty of Dental Sciences, Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. V Shwetha
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Faculty of Dental Sciences, Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences, New BEL Road, Bengaluru - 560 054, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jhnps.jhnps_4_21

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Background: December 2019 witnessed an outbreak of coronavirus disease. This disease soon intensified its spread as a pandemic engulfing the health and economic status of countries worldwide. The route of transmission of this virus is through droplet spread or contact with secretions or infected surfaces. The health-care professionals were the most vulnerable group for contracting and spreading the infection. The dental professionals who come in close contact with oral secretions during various operative procedures were also at high risk of contracting the infection. Governments across the globe issued a lockdown to curtail the spread of the infection. To render essential and emergency health services, teleconsultation provided a lot of assistance in health management. Methodology: A descriptive cross-sectional study utilizing a validated questionnaire survey was used to assess the perceptions of dental health professionals regarding the utility of teleconsultation during the pandemic. The survey also assessed the drawbacks of teleconsultation and its implications on practice in the near future. 504 dentists answered the questionnaire and descriptive statistical analyses were used to analyze the data. Results: The response rate was 63% (504 out of 800). 90.1% of the dentists felt that teleconsultation was definitely better than traditional care services during the pandemic. Majority (61.15%) of dentists felt that teleconsultation was extremely helpful during the pandemic period to manage patient-related queries and provided the satisfaction of discharging their duties toward the patient. They felt that teleconsultation services could be extended even beyond the pandemic period and could have promising implications in future. Conclusion: Teleconsultation proved to be a feasible alternative to in-person appointments during the pandemic and helped in reducing viral transmission and compliance with social distancing measures. It also holds promise for future implications in routine dental practice. With further improvements in technology and application of artificial intelligence in teleconsultation could improvise remote patient monitoring and diagnosis and treatment planning in the near future and prove us a useful tool.

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