Allan G. Farman, PhD, DipABOMR, MBA
Professor & Director of Radiology & Imaging Sciences
Diagnosis and General Dentistry
University of Louisville
501 S. Preston
Louisville, KY 40292 USA
v: (502) 588-1242/1
f: (502) 588-7595
Health Care/Health Services; Education, Continuing and Distance
Innovative or improved ways of doing things; Technology transfer; Partnership between public and private sector
Supporting Documentation (contact author for more information):
Documentation; Slides/photographs; Computer graphic images (TIF files)
Story Site (if other than location listed above):
Centered around contact information but also regional, national and international.
Health Care Access and Cost Curtailment for Dentistry:
An FDA panel has shown that electronic data interchange can greatly reduce the costs involved in both medicine and dentistry. A goal of 85% full electronic automation has been set for 1997. In dentistry approximately 20% of all procedures require prior approval based upon the submission of radiographs, and payment of providers can rest upon proof of treatment rendered. Furthermore, approximately 10% of the population of the USA live in health underserved rural areas where getting expert second opinions can be time-consuming.
Teledentistry trials have been carried out by Dr. Allan Farman from the Telecommunications Research Center of the University of Louisville. While success has been achieved both transcontinentally and intercontinentally in the transmission of digital and digitized images, access to ISDN in a country with more than 2000 individual telephone companies is not moving swiftly – and is quite costly in terms of long distance tariffs. Furthermore, linking microcomputers at various provider offices requires that these are kept up and running at both ends.
The use of computer networks (e.g. Internet) has proven very efficient and reliable for transmission of the relatively small amount of information in dental images. Transmission rates of 20 seconds have been possible for images between the following sites: Louisville (Kentucky), Seattle (Washington), Vancouver (British Columbia), Winston Salem (North Carolina), Torino (Italy), Lexington (Kentucky) and Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Image analysis has shown that there is no loss of information during transmission. Moreover, using FTP/IP and TELNET it is possible to access files held at a distant site given the appropriate access codes. It is then possible to bring only the needed images/information rather than receiving the whole patient’s file. Inexpensive commercial access to the “matrix” makes this a viable method for serving the needs of the dental profession and its patients – and helping to curtail growth in health care costs.