Teledentistry Knowledge and Attitudes: Perspectives on the role of dental hygienists

Jane A. Weintraub, Leiana R. Edwards, Jennifer L. Brame, Lewis Lampris, B. Alex White, Reuben Adatorwovor, N. Shaun Matthews

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose. The first statewide teledentistry (TD) Summit in North Carolina (NC) was convened by the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill in 2018. The purpose of this analysis is to compare Summit participants’ understanding of TD, its benefits, challenges, solutions and the role of dental hygienists, pre-and post-Summit. Methods. Summit invitees included leaders in related policy, education, advocacy, legislation, technology and UNC dental hygiene and dental students. Descriptive analyses and exact McNemar’s matched pair tests compared proportions of participants’ responses to pre-and post-Summit surveys. Results. Response rates were pre-Summit 75.3% (n= 58) and post-Summit 70.1% (n= 47); matched pre-post survey pairs (n=42). Pre-Summit respondents reported their primary role in administration (48.0%), teaching and mentoring (21.0%), patient care (12.0%) or as a student (19.0%). Among respondents, overall self-reported TD knowledge increased from 38.1% to 92.9%, p< 0.001. Their reported extent TD should be developed in NC increased from 78.6% to 95.2%, p = 0.07; the extent hygienists should have a role in TD services increased from 83.3% to 88.1%, p = 0.73. The most frequently mentioned challenge was state practice acts requiring direct supervision of dental hygienists, limiting their TD use in community settings, which increased in the pre-to post-surveys from 33.3% to 59.5% respectively, p = 0.01. Conclusion. Among attendees at the statewide TD Summit, self-reported knowledge was high and attitudes favorable for moving forward with TD in NC. However, state dental practice act barriers restricting dental hygienist participation in TD was the first challenge respondents thought needed to be addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-21
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dental Hygiene
Volume94
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, American Dental Hygienists Association. All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • access to care
  • dental hygiene
  • health policy
  • health services
  • teledentistry
  • telehealth
  • telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dental Hygiene

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