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”Everything that can be digitalized will be digitalized”

Digitalization and artificial intelligence (AI) have already transformed the dental industry, and these technologies continue to be powerful tools for modernization and streamlining of care processes.

Where are we heading?

The dental industry is undergoing a revolution thanks to technologies like Artificial Intelligence, 3D printing, CAD/CAM, and virtual reality. Digital impressions, intra- and extraoral scanners, computer tomography, image analysis, and 3D printers are just a few examples of how advancements are creating more efficient and precise dental care. But for those who think "ugh, digitalization", remember that: everything that can be digitalized, will be digitalized. These tools are here to simplify our daily lives, just like robotic vacuum cleaners or washing machines.

Digitalization in 3 steps.

So, a brief background on what digitalization really is. Digitalization is not just a process of converting analog information into digital form, such as scanning a referral. It's about using new technology to make operations more modern and flexible.

Digitalization has occurred in 3 steps.


Step 1. Digitization: Digitization means converting information from analog to digital form. This can include scanning documents and images, for example, converting text and pictures from paper format to digital files like PDF. It can also mean converting music from tape or vinyl to digital formats like MP3. A practical example in healthcare is scanning a patient referral into the computer, which makes the information easily accessible, searchable, and shareable electronically. This process facilitates storage, management, and sharing of information, and contributes to more efficient and environmentally friendly data handling.

Step 2. Digitalization: Digitalization is about integrating modern digital technology, systems, and solutions to improve and modernize operations. It's a process aimed at making organizations more efficient, flexible, and adaptable to changing conditions. An example of this is when clinics use cloud-based solutions to manage patient data. This type of digitalization enables safer and more efficient storage and access to data, improves collaboration possibilities between different healthcare providers, and facilitates remote access to information. It can also contribute to better patient care through faster and more accurate diagnoses, as well as streamlining administrative processes.

Step 3. Artificial Intelligence: AI can be described as the ability of a computer program to mimic human natural intelligence, including learning, reasoning, understanding, interpreting, and responding. AI is not just the future, but a reality that is already affecting many areas, including healthcare.

In medical diagnostics and treatment, AI offers revolutionary possibilities. For instance, it can be used to analyze medical images with high precision, identify patterns in patient data for early detection of diseases, and even predict patients' responses to various treatments. By integrating AI in healthcare, we can improve the quality of care, increase efficiency, and support health and medical personnel in their work.


Highlighted need during the pandemic

The pandemic has clearly highlighted the need for flexibility, accessibility, and efficiency in both skill development and remote diagnostics. With canceled physical courses and reduced patient visits, digital solutions became increasingly central. In skill development, web-based lectures grew, for example, through platforms like Tandakademin. These digital formats have improved accessibility, enabled repetition and deepening of material in a way that physical courses cannot, while also reducing the need to shut down clinics to attend courses (loss of revenue), limit travel, save costs, and reduce the carbon footprint.

Looking at direct patient contact (especially in healthcare), we have seen a trend where patients take more active contact through digital channels, such as services like Kry, to get guidance on their concerns. This is a way to increase patient engagement and make care more accessible. For dentistry, however, the challenge is somewhat greater to apply valuable video consultations with patients since they often depend on images (X-rays) to obtain basic information for further treatment.

However, we see that the concept is very useful between clinics and specialists for telediagnostics.

Telediagnostics and Konekta – A new dimension of collaboration

A central part of the dental staff's work is communication, both with patients and colleagues. Here, telediagnostics play a crucial role. With platforms like Konekta, which today is used in over 1,000+ clinics in Scandinavia, it becomes possible for colleagues to collaborate and get better bases for their diagnostics. A dentist in Umeå, for example, can get guidance from a specialist in Ystad, which improves both diagnostics and treatment. It's a bit like having a specialist at the clinic every day.

Example of telediagnostics (see video)


By securely sending patient cases with pictures and text via the cloud, it ensures that all necessary information is available for specialist assessment in the relevant area. This can enable the treatment to be carried out at the clinic itself (with the right guidance).

Instead of referring the patient to another clinic or sending physical referrals, this approach puts the patient at the center of the treatment. It streamlines the referral process by giving all parties quick updates on the patient case. Thus, unnecessary rerouting of the patient is avoided by using access-controlled digital solutions.

Conclusion

Digitalization is not just about technical progress; they are necessary tools to keep dentistry relevant, efficient, and competitive. With these technologies, we can continue to improve patient care and take the dental industry to new heights.


If you want to know more about how, for example, telediagnostics can contribute to safer diagnostics and more efficient treatment of your patients.


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