Remote consultations – half of dentists report difficulty obtaining patient consent

Half of dentists report difficulty obtaining patient consent during remote consultationsDental professionals think it is harder to gain consent when they do not see the patient face to face. 

More than half (52%) of dental teams report that it is more difficult to obtain patient consent during a remote consultation. And around 38% reported their key concern of working remotely was their ability to assess the patient.

This is according to new research carried out by the Dental Defence Union (DDU).

Other key concerns over remote consultations, which have taken off according to the DDU during the COVID-19 pandemic, include:

  • Indemnity coverage (19%)
  • Communication troubles (9%)
  • Maintaining confidentiality (6%)
  • Taking contemporaneous notes (6%)
  • Obtaining patient consent (6%).

Dramatic increase

Additionally, the research found that the majority of remote consultations were done over the phone (91%). These were mostly undertaken in the workplace (64%) rather than at home (13%).

‘The use of remote consultations has increased dramatically during the pandemic,’ said Leo Briggs, deputy head of the DDU.

‘While much face-to-face dentistry has resumed, remote consultations are still useful, particularly when triaging patients and when helping to protect vulnerable patients. However, they still present some challenges for dental professionals.

‘It can sometimes be difficult to ascertain whether consent has been given. Another problem can be developing a rapport with a patient using remote methods as the patient may not be familiar with this style of consultation and may feel uncomfortable.’


He added: ‘It is therefore important to put them at ease from the outset.

‘This in turn will benefit the consultation by making it easier for the patient to provide relevant information and respond to questions.’

The survey looked at the responses of 255 dental team members who used remote consultations during the pandemic.

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