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Questions & Answers

Basics

What is telemedicine?
Telemedicine is the use of electronic communication and information technologies to provide or support clinical care at a distance.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health and health administration.
What is teledentistry?
Teledentistry is a combination of telecommunications (including the use of computers and the internet) and dentistry, involving the exchange of clinical information and images over remote distances.
What is teleradiology?
Teleradiology is a means of electronically transmitting radiographic patient images and consultative reports through the use of telecommunications from one location to another.
What are the benefits of teledentistry?
Benefits of teledentistry:

  • Can improve access to dental care through educational and clinical outreach.
  • Telehealth technology will allow UFCD faculty, students and patients to “meet” in real-time through the use of video consultation.
  • Distant providers will be able to receive feedback during those teachable moments when the patient is available.
  • Patients with specialized oral health needs can obtain consultation services in the convenience of their home communities, minimizing the need to travel hundreds of miles to our Gainesville campus to receive specialized oral health care.

Teledentistry Grant

What is the Teledentistry grant?
The Teledentistry grant is a project undertaken by the University of Florida College of Dentistry (UFCD) to enhance its Statewide Network for Community Oral Health by expanding capabilities in the areas of distance learning, videoconferencing, Web-based technology and digital radiography.
Who is the funding agency?
The UFCD Teledentistry project is federally funded by the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth (OAT) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
What is the grant award and timeframe?
The 18 month grant in the amount of 1.5 million dollars began in September 2004.
What are the grant goals and objectives?
The grant goals are as follows:

  • Goal 1: Expand and evaluate videoconferencing capabilities from the University of Florida Gainesville campus to health facilities located throughout the state.
    Objective: Live, interactive dental procedure demonstrations, clinical case discussion and “Grand Rounds” are designed to enrich the educational experience of dental students, residents and practitioners and ultimately to result in improved patient outcomes in dental patients.
  • Goal 2: Develop and evaluate web-based educational materials for dental students, dental residents, faculty and practitioners.
    Objective: Delivering high quality dental educational materials on the internet should help improve access to such programs, and ultimate improve the quality of dental care provided in Florida.Dissemination of oral health information should improve the quality of oral health care and reduce oral health disparities
  • Goal 3: Develop and evaluate clinical consultation services including the use of digital radiography for the efficient exchange of diagnostic information across clinical locations.
    Objective: Through the implementation and evaluation of clinical consultation services, we will develop our expertise in telehealth and explore cost-effective ways to provide dental specialty consultative services to rural and underserved areas in Florida.At the end of the grant period we will have installed the clinical radiographic equipment and necessary information systems infrastructure to allow the clinical use of digital radiographic images throughout the UFCD clinical enterprise. Clinics will be able to capture intra- and extra-oral dental and maxillofacial radiographic images, transmit and retrieve the images from a central server at UFCD. Benefits will include ready availability of images at multiple sites for improved clinical care, teaching, and research.

Distance Learning and Teleconsultation

What is the UFCD’s statewide network?
The UFCD Statewide Network for Community Oral Health was established in 1997 by UFCD to provide oral health services to low-income and low-access populations throughout Florida. The Network includes community based clinics in Gainesville, St. Petersburg, Naples and Hialeah.
What is the Case of the Month?
UFCD’s online Case of the Month will be selected each month from archives or patients actively being seen in the UF Oral Medicine Service. These will be presented using a clinical pathologic conference format with complete history and pictures and radiographs needed to make a treatment diagnosis. A differential diagnosis will be formulated and each alternative will be discussed. CE credit will be available for a nominal charge.
What is a virtual study group?
A virtual study group provides an opportunity for dentists in the community to meet with other dentists and dental team members and learn in a friendly environment located at UFCD’s community based clinics. Dental study club members have the opportunity to earn CE credit and receive high quality educational programming from UFCD specialists through videoconferencing. Participants are able to interact with the instructor and participants at other sites in real time.
What is the difference between asynchronous and synchronous consultation?
Asynchronous or store and forward consultation involves the exchange of clinical information and static images collected and stored in the telecommunication equipment. The dental practitioner collects all the required clinical information and digital intraoral and extraoral images and radiographs (or scanned, originally nondigital images) and forwards them for consultation and treatment planning via established networks and/or the Internet. E-mail is an example of asynchronous communication.
Synchronous or real-time consultation involves a videoconference in which the referring specialist with their patients and the specialist at different locations may see, hear and communicate with one another in real time using advanced telecommunication technology and ultra-high-band-width network connections.
Examples of synchronous communication are audio or videoconferencing, online chat and real-time online conferencing.
What is the difference between a consultation and an encounter?
In a teledentistry consultation, the patient’s general dental practitioner consults with a dental specialist at a distant site, but the care of the patient remains the responsibility of the patient’s general dental practitioner. The patient may or may not be present in real time for the consult.
A teledentistry encounter is defined as a telehealth event involving patient contact. This would include a patient being treated directly by a dental provider at a distant site, or cases involving the patient along with dental providers at both the distant and originating site.

Technical Questions

What are the changes to the IS infrastructure?
SERVERS
  • Email – GroupWise 6.5 – Server storage increased by 70%
  • File & Print (NetWare 6.5) 120% storage increase.
  • Quick Recovery – Medicor MiPACS activation. Storage will increase up to 1000%
  • Web Server storage: 50%
  • UPS: 30KVa
  • A/C: 5 tons.
TELECOMMUNICATIONS
  • JAX will remain at DS3 (45 mps).
  • Hialeah: Full T1 (1.5 mps)
  • St. Pete: Full T1 (1.5 mps)
  • Apopka: Full T1 (1.5 mps)
  • HCC: Full T1 (1.5 mps)
  • Internet2 & FloridaLamdaRail
What is a T1 line?
A T1 is a high speed telecommunication line that can carry 24 digitalized voice channels, or it can carry data at a rate of 1.544 megabits per second. TI lines carry about roughly 60 times more data than a normal dial-up modem.

Digital Radiography

What is digital radiography?
Digital radiography is a system where the x-ray image is stored not on film but as a matrix of numbers, each representing the amount of radiation reaching a detecting system. These systems use detectors that are more efficient than conventional film and this leads to a reduction in x-ray dose to the patient. Information captured in this manner can be stored and used in electronic systems such as computers. There are two main types of technology available to capture digital radiography images, CCD (charged-coupled device) powered sensors and photostimulable phosphor (PSP) plates.
Why is the UFCD using digital radiography?
The goal of exchanging clinical data and images over distance requires the implementation of digital radiography which will allow UFCD to do more and see more. With digital radiography we have the ability to create computer images with the ability to be enhanced and archived in one central place increasing access to images across the college.
Why is the UFCD using photostimulable phosphor (PSP) plates instead of charged-coupled device (CCD) powered sensors?
PSP was selected because of its potential durability in a student environment, the availability of a wider selection of plate sizes, the plate flexibility, and the lower cost of plate replacement.
What is Medicor Imaging and how will it affect me?
Medicor Imaging is a software program that will allow the UFCD to view digital images. The benefits of Medicor imaging include the following:

  • Improved processing – scanned images can be placed in predefined templates and also allows for imagesto be enhanced and saved with the original image.
  • The software enables the user to zoom, magnify, and measure images.