The introduction of new digital technology across general and children’s dental clinics is helping improve treatment and enhance real time access to specialist care.
Metro North Oral Health Services Director Operations Sarah Asmussen said the temporary reduction in general dental care during the earlier months of the COVID-19 response has given us the opportunity to roll out digital technology capability across our oral health clinics.
“Since the rollout began earlier in the year we have now installed and implemented digital capturing and assessment technology into six General Practice Dental Clinics and seven Child and Adolescent Dental Clinics,” she said.
The roll out of digital technology is enhancing the care provided in our mobile dental and adult clinics across Metro North.
“The use of digital radiography is increasing the speed of consults and our ability to diagnose more complex problems and it replaces the traditional manual x-ray processing of films.
“We now have enhanced capability to view electronic X-rays in real time and across any Metro North Oral Health Clinic to support improved patient outcomes and experiences.”
Ms Asmussen said if a child was being treated in a clinic or in a mobile dental clinic at a school, they can now be referred by the treating Oral Health/Dental Therapist, to a Dental Officer at another clinic to view the x-ray remotely and advise treatment planning.
“Digital capability is reducing the number of appointments needed by the child to complete treatment and there is clearly less impact on the family and patient from a time and travel perspective,” she said.
The digital technology rollout began in early 2020, following a broader telecommunications upgrade of the mobile Next G Network which allowed for better coverage across the service.
The upgrades have included General Practise Oral Health clinics in Redcliffe, Caboolture, Sandgate, Pine Rivers and Stafford and Child and Adolescent Dental Clinic at schools across Moreton Bay.
The rollout of digital technology was the result of a partnership between Oral Health, Biomedical Technology Services and eHealth Digital Radiography.
Ms Asmussen said the roll out was continuing with over half of the mobile dental fleet already installed with digital radiography and the remaining scheduled to be completed in 2020, along with Woodford Correctional Centre.
Metro North Oral Health treats around 33,000 adolescents and children who visit our school dental clinics and mobile dental vans each year and more than 76,000 eligible adults seen at our General Practise Oral Health clinics and by the rural and remote team.