Remote clinical consultations in restorative dentistry: a clinical service evaluation study

Abstract

Introduction Specialist consultant services in the UK NHS provide a decision-making support service to other health professionals. There is a drive to deliver this service in a more patient-centred, cost-effective and efficient manner. Remote clinical consultations (RCC), using secure, live, super-fast internet connectivity and high-resolution, multi-channel audio-visual streaming, has the potential for the delivery of this service.

Aim To conduct a clinical service evaluation to assess the viability and efficiency of conducting a RCC for the management of primary care referrals in restorative dentistry, compared to an in-person consultation.

Design A RCC was conducted for every participating patient and immediately followed with a 'verification' in-person consultation.

Materials and method Twenty-three patients of even gender distribution participated in this study across the three specialisms of restorative dentistry. A thematic questionnaire was completed by each member of the study intervention team and the patient after each consultation.

Results In all the cases, the consultant was able to conduct an effective and safe clinical consultation, not inferior to an in-person process, regardless of gender and age. The GDP, the nurse and the patient were able to participate effectively in the process and with each other.

Conclusion This proof-of-concept study suggests that the RCC concept is a feasible way of delivering specialist consultations in restorative dentistry with high levels of patient acceptability and that it can be delivered in a practical and simple manner.

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Correspondence to Nicolas Martin.

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Martin, N., Shahrbaf, S., Towers, A. et al. Remote clinical consultations in restorative dentistry: a clinical service evaluation study. Br Dent J 228, 441–447 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-020-1328-x

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