News stories about telemedicine applications and collaborations have become so common in the past year it could be easy to assume that digitally-enabled remote care became a thing only recently, but that’s not the case. The CDC gave telemedicine top billing in its 2012 Healthy Aging 2.0: The Potential of New Media and Technology report. The CDC publication stated, “The power of telemedicine technologies to harness the capability of existing health care systems can help sustain the overall public health infrastructure.” The CDC report also presented the following succinct definition: “Telemedicine platforms support interactive information sharing between patients and providers.”
We frequently write about telemedicine, including recent articles about telesupport for physical therapy with people who have had hip or knee replacement surgery and physiotherapy specialist consultations with patients sitting in primary care physician’s offices.
MouthWatch‘s TeleDent software platform applies telemedicine concepts to dental care in ways we have not seen in other applications. Teledent combines live streaming teleconferencing, store and forward examination files, and intraoral camera integration with relevant patient medical record information and clinical data. Pulling together the various digital components is impressive, but the unique feature we noticed was the extent to which the platform is open. By “open” we aren’t implying security issues or HIPAA non-compliance, but rather the platform’s availability across the range of healthcare professions and organizations. For example, Teledent use cases include private and group dental practices, dental specialists, general practitioner medical doctors, public health agencies, and home health care organizations. For example, a school in a remote rural setting that accessed Teledent and had one of the group’s intraoral cameras could send images of students’ teeth for review by appropriate dental professionals. Urgent care facilities could connect with eldercare practices or outreach programs, with real-time medical records sharing.
MouthWatch presents Teledent as a dental-first solution that reaches to other health care agents in the interest of enhanced communication and positive patient outcomes. Whether TeleDent eventually becomes a universal standard or a model branded solution is not as important as the concept of a cross-discipline open platform built upon and enhanced by systemic leverage of leading-edge telemedicine technologies.