Dental Treatment Evolving with Digital Technology (Part 8)
The second part: How Should We View ‘Teledentistry’?
The New Options under the COVID-19 Pandemic
The first part of the article on teledentistry (dental telemedicine) has developed for patients and hospital systems with difficult access to medical care and has received particular attention in recent years. In the second part, we continue our discussion of teledentistry as validated by the Corona Disaster.
As dentists, we are seriously concerned about cutting teeth down even slightly based on academic 'guidelines' and treatment principles of academic societies and hospitals, including analysis of many papers that have been accumulated over long years of treatment. Even mouths that look the same are different from person to person. As well as looking at it externally with the eyes, we also need to know information from the mouth, such as the strength of the bite, the amount of saliva and tongue movement, from the body in various ways, such as whether the lymph nodes under the jaw are swollen by palpation. The dentist then deeply cares about the effect of the treatment on the patient's entire mouth and body, including whether the patient will remain in good condition for a long time after the symptoms are gone (prognosis).
Some dentists who are not positive about teledentistry say that it is trickle-down technology from medicine and might not lead to a fundamental solution in dentistry, which has strong surgical factors¹⁾. In addition, some cautious parties are concerned about HIPAA regulations on personal information¹⁾.
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability) is a procedure for handling personal information enacted by the US Congress in 1996 and is essential for digitisation. It is still widely referenced today for the principle of using anonymised information where researchers do not know whose data is being treated. The following year, however, the risks of anonymised information were made known in a paper report announcing the principle by successfully estimating the name of the Massachusetts Governor's disease by publicly accessible information²⁾. Various trials followed, and in 2010 a law, HITEC (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health), was created to provide rules and penalties for the business use of anonymised data. Contracts, penalties, and security measures became necessary because the risk of being identified will always remain even if data is anonymised³⁾⁴⁾. Thus, the cautious view is certainly plausible, and there is a good deal of background we can not say that it is convenient to easily consult medical advice via iPhone photos.
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