Structure and Utilisation of Information and Communication Technologies for Continuing Education in Teledentistry in Brazil
The strengthening of Primary Care and the expansion of the Family Health Strategy have led to the need to offer quality services for health promotion. In this context of reformulation and need for qualification through effective actions of Continuing Education in Health, Teledentistry emerges from Telemedicine, which can be defined as the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for the exchange of data and information in health and provision of health services in situations where it is necessary to overcome geographical, temporal, social and cultural barriers. The objective of this study was to identify the existence of equipment in the health units and to verify the use of Telehealth by oral health teams in Brazil. This is an exploratory descriptive study with a quantitative approach, in which secondary data from the 1st Cycle of the Program for Improving Access and Quality in Primary Care for the year 2011/2012 were used. The results indicate that 19,889 (51%) of the health units evaluated have computers and 13,748 (35%) had Internet access. Among the professional dental surgeons evaluated, 254 (76%) noted that there are continuing education activities in their municipality, and they attended, in increasing order, on-site courses 213 (84%), exchange of experience 150 (59%), tutoring and preceptorship 56 (22%), Telehealth 54 (21%), distance learning / Open University of the Unified Health System 51 (20%) and Telemedicine University Network 9 (3.5%). It is concluded that the deficiency in the Brazilian regions in relation to the acquisition of computer equipment and connectivity capable of guaranteeing the use of information technologies becomes an obstacle to the digital inclusion of health professionals and the continuing education actions related to Telehealth.
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