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A new approach to communicating from the dentist’s chair

Novocam Medical Innovations Oy
A tiny HD camera mounted on a dentist’s loupes, together with advanced yet easy-to-use image capture software, are opening up a completely new way to share dental information, document procedures, and ultimately improve patient care.

Largely based on still images and text, communication within the dentistry field seems caught in something of a time warp. When video is used, it is normally limited to specially shot teaching material, rather than dayto- day material that dentists can share with their colleagues or their dental technicians, or that students can share with their professors. Material also often lacks an authentic dentist’s perspective, visually speaking.

The challenge then, as the small group of experts behind Futudent saw it, was to come up with a new and better way to capture imagery in the first place and then use and share it.

Their first priority was a suitable camera. This alone called for a lot of work to develop a unit small and light enough to provide a true dentist’s perspective, yet still be capable of generating a video feed of sufficiently high quality, not generate excessive heat when used for long periods – and not cost the earth either.

The second priority was a workflow that could provide rapid access to individual sections of a video stream or individual images without recourse to traditional, time-consuming editing techniques. Here, the outcome was a hands-free bookmarking system that the dentist can activate with a floor-mounted pedal without taking his or her eyes off what they are doing – and without interrupting what they are doing. Commentary can also be added simultaneously with a microphone connected to a laptop or other PC.

The multiple benefits and seamless workflow that Futudent offers are quickly winning over dentists and universities around the world.
The third priority was a secure, cloudbased server for users to upload their material to and share with colleagues, while complying with the strict patient data protection requirements expected of everyone in health care.

A rapidly growing hit with users

The result is the Futudent system. Launched commercially in 2012, Futudent offers such a clear package of benefits that those behind it believe that it has the potential to have an ‘iPad-type’ effect in terms of capturing and communicating imagery directly from a dentist’s perspective.

The feedback that has been received so far – from dentists and their patients, dental technicians, university faculty staff, and students – clearly backs up their optimism. Futudent has already been sold to customers in more than 17 countries, and more than 10 universities in the US and Europe are trialling the system.

This rapid uptake is not surprising when you look at what Futudent offers: to dentistry teaching programmes, both within individual universities and between different universities and specialists; to dental practices and the dental technicians they work with; and to dentists working in remote areas that have up until lacked easy, video-based access to expertise in the latest techniques.

And last, but certainly not least, the Futudent system is ideal for enabling dentists to share information on procedures with their patients and for explaining how they can look after their teeth better.

> Lars Kåhre
(Published in HighTech Finland 2013)