Current Scenario of Teledentistry in Public Healthcare in India
India is the largest democracy and the second most populated nation in the world. Although with 190,000 dentists, India ranks top in the absolute number of dental graduates, rural Indians and urban slums remain deprived of quality dental healthcare due to unequal distribution and access. About 1,000 telemedicine nodes have been established by Government/Private/Trust agencies to reinforce the national healthcare delivery system in India however an organised and dedicated teledentistry network is non-existent but for the Collaborative Digital Diagnosis System (CollabDDS). CollabDDS was developed in India for tele-consultation, diagnosis, remote education and as a data repository. It is a remote expert dental programme served between three dental schools with the Centre for Dental Education and Research at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. There are some major challenges which exist and need to be addressed including lack of government initiatives, reimbursement schemes, data protection laws, technical infrastructure, advanced biological sensors, bandwidth support, orientation among doctors, and linguistic diversity, along with patients’ fear and unfamiliarity. With an area of 3,287 million km2, an urban-rural divide, inaccessible areas, the country is an ideal setting for the provision of eHealth. This paper highlights the present status, challenges and future of teledentistry in India.
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