Introduction: The objective of this study was to conduct a formative evaluation of a teledentistry (TD) programme that was developed for a predominantly rural state in the Midwestern United States. Materials and Methods: Formative evaluation data were collected on programme activities from the TD programme records. In addition, the effectiveness of the TD training programme was evaluated using a self-administered paper-based survey administered to the participants, immediately following completion of the training activity. Ninety-three dental students, oral health and other health professionals participated in the TD training programme. Results: Overall, the trainees rated the TD training programme highly, with regard to the content, format and skills improvement. The evaluation also demonstrated a positive change in all trainees’ attitudes following the training sessions, with most trainees acknowledging a positive impact of the training on their knowledge and competency. Discussion and Conclusions: We identified challenges in the development of the TD programme and in expanding access to oral health care for rural communities. Challenges included reimbursement and a limited interest amongst established dental offices. Dental schools can play an important role in preparing both dental health professionals and other health professionals in the use of TD by providing training and oral health expertise. The use of TD by non-dental providers for consultation, referral and disease management has the potential to improve oral health outcomes, particularly for rural and underserved populations. Evaluation data provide critical feedback to programme planners and administrators.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Dentistry