Doctors are making house calls again. Not exactly a house call as we knew in the past but a digital telemedicine call. Telemedicine is the house call of the digital age.
Tele medicine or tele dentistry is the use of technology to provide medical diagnosis or treatment from afar. That means a patient could sit in his/her living room and see the doctor through a teleconference like Skype or FaceTime. The patient never leaves the house however the doctor doesn’t need to travel either. The Doctor can sit in the clinic and visit patients all over the city. Actually, the doctor can visit patients all over the world.
What makes all this possible is advanced digital technology, internet tele conferencing and digital diagnostic devices that can record vital physiological signs and convey those digitally to the teledoc.
A tremendous opportunity to use this technology in dentistry is the interface of dentistry and oral systemic health. We are doing this now in the rapidly developing are of dental sleep medicine.
Oral sleep apnea devices are very effective. However, the current protocol requires that two or more professionals become involved. A physician must diagnose the disease – sleep apnea – and a dentist must physically take the impression and fit the device. What we are doing is setting up a tele medicine interview in the dental office with the sleep physician.
We gather the vital information, transmit that to the physician who then interviews the patient via tele conference. So far it is working well. It saves the patient tremendous time and it gets the process moving.