Northland DHB Introduces Teledentistry

Courtesy eHealthNews - Apr 2019

Northland District Health Board is trialling an oral telehealth service for children and adolescents with plans to expand it to adult services over time.

The DHB is piloting the use of Zoom video conferencing technology and a specialised intraoral camera to allow dentists at Whangarei Hospital to do examinations and consultations on children at remote locations.

The first trial involved an oral health therapist operating the camera at Kaitaia District Hospital. The therapist sees the images live so is able to adjust the camera as needed and on instructions from the dentist.

Previously, the dentist would have travelled to Kaitaia and seen the patients in person.

Oral health therapist Kirstie Culpan says that by having teledentists, children can have their consults on time. If needed, they can also be placed on the general anaesthetic waitlist as soon as possible.

Northland DHB telehealth and mobility programme manager Roy Davidson says that “the live clinical quality imaging provided by the specialised intraoral camera is the key technical component that makes these clinics possible”.

He says the telehealth setup has at times proven to be a positive distraction in the clinic as children are generally interested in the technology.

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