Aim: The primary aim of this research protocol is to secure funding to initiate a teledentistry pilot project in order to improve the oral hygiene conditions of the most vulnerable population of rural Sindh in Pakistan, through hands-on training of 1,000 lady health workers by dentists and community dentistry specialists of other colleges led by Jinnah Medical and Dental College.
Materials and methods: Training courses on digital health consultation would be given to participating healthcare workers. The trainees would be trained on all aspects of dental hygiene including precautions, tooth brushing techniques, and oral care. During the 2-day-long course, lady health workers will be taught various tooth brushing techniques, as well as basic instructions about oral hygiene and how to address queries of people regarding oral health. They will also get guidance about the various multimedia softwares in the phone and how to use them. The study would also include teledentistry consultation as a real-time patient learning tool for patients, healthcare workers, and trainees.
Results: Results will be made available when the trial has been completed in 2021. The program will be evaluated by assessing its usability, acceptability, knowledge, and satisfaction of users.
Conclusion: The protocol is designed to illustrate the underlying concept that a more reliable and robust model can be built through creating interactive communities of practice for consumers of telehealth in dental education. The Telehealth Skills Coaching and Delivery Initiative would incorporate and test a technically oriented paradigm of Internet-based medical education for vertically incorporated, community-based learning environments.
Clinical significance: Teledentistry has the ability to expand access to oral health care, increase the provision of oral health care, and decrease costs. In view of the immense advances made in this field, teledentistry can continue to promote specialized health care in the remotest corners of the world. Many countries have already embraced virtual health care (telemedicine) in the face of an increase in cases of COVID-19; however, teledentistry has yet to play its role in this pandemic by enhancing the accuracy and efficiency of dental treatment. In the case of LMICs such as Pakistan, which lack advanced technologies such as teledentistry within their national healthcare network, the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge to introduce the requisite legislative changes to promote the widespread use of teledentistry.
Keywords: Dental caries; Oral hygiene Teledentistry..