14 April 2009
Q. I have seen a radiograph reporting service on the internet which offers to provide a same-day interpretation of digital images for a relatively small cost. Am I at risk if do so?
As with any other referral it is the responsibility of the referring dentist to establish the suitability of the person/ service to whom the referral is made. Even though teledentistry relies on digital files being exchanged between colleagues, the principle is the same. It is important for you to know who will be responsible for interpreting the patient's records, as well as establishing that they are registered and what qualifications they have to provide this service.
To protect the patient it is also important to know that the distant colleague is suitably indemnified. It is for this reason that Dental Protection recommends that members should contact us first if they are considering using a teledentistry service situated outside the UK.
In addition Dental Protection also recommends that
• All patients are made fully aware of the involvement of any other named person(s) in their care and treatment, through teledentistry, and also that they properly understand any constraints, limitations or risks introduced as a result.
• Establish written protocols between yourself and any other clinician/organisation with whom you have any kind of teledentistry relationship. These protocols should specify the parameters of the relationship, the role and responsibility of each party, and the arrangements in place for data protection, and quality assurance.
You can see our full position statement on teledentistry here.