The aim of this cross-sectional survey was to identify the extent of digital technology infiltrating dental practices for the management and the treatment of patients. A survey (68 questions) was mailed to all members of the Swiss Dental Association (SSO). An online as well as postal answer was offered in order to maximise the response rate. The survey was mailed in June 2016 and answers were collected till the end of 2016. The total number of completed surveys was 1,238, which resulted in a response rate of 40%. Most dentists (97%) owned a private computer device and 74% used it for both, private and professional life. 69% of the dental offices had a homepage (69%), whereas a limited number (10%) used social media. The location of the practice influenced the extent of online presence. For patient administration a software application was used in 95% of the practices. The management of appointments was mainly organized by a digital agenda (73%). Patient’s dental history was recorded digitally in half of the practices (53%), whereas in one third (38%) also dental/ endodontic/periodontal charts were recorded digitally. One quarter of the dentists (24%) used an additional dental software for patient treatment/ planning other than the administration software. In 23% of the dental practices a chairside CAD/CAM system was available. The survey demonstrated that i) the younger the dentist, ii) the more recent the opening of the practice, iii) the greater the patient catchment area, and iv) the more treatment rooms, the higher the grade of digitalisation of the dental practice.
The use of digital technologies in dental practices in Switzerland: a cross-sectional survey
The aim of this cross-sectional survey was to identify the extent of digital technology infiltrating dental practices for the management and the treatment of patients.