- Adoption and use of digital technologies among general dental practitioners in the Netherlands
- PLoS One
- Volume | Issue number
- 10 | 3
- Article number
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Dentistry (ACTA)
To investigate (1) the degree of digital technology adoption among general dental practitioners, and to assess (2) which personal and practice factors are associated with technology use.
A questionnaire was distributed among a stratified sample of 1000 general dental practitioners in the Netherlands, to measure the use of fifteen administrative, communicative, clinical and diagnostic technologies, as well as personal factors and dental practice characteristics.
The response rate was 31.3%; 65.1% replied to the questionnaire on paper and 34.9% online. Each specific digital technology was used by between 93.2% and 6.8% of the dentists. Administrative technologies were generally used by more dentists than clinical technologies. Dentists had adopted an average number of 6.3±2.3 technologies. 22.5% were low technology users (0 to 4 technologies), 46.2% were intermediate technology users (5 to 7 technologies) and 31.3% were high technology users (8 to12 technologies). High technology users more frequently had a specialization (p<0.001), were younger on average (p=0.024), and worked more hours per week (p=0.003) than low technology users, and invested more hours per year in professional activities (p=0.026) than intermediate technology users. High technology use was also more common for dentists working in practices with a higher average number of patients per year (p<0.001), with more dentists working in the practice (p<0.001) and with more staff (p<0.001).
With few exceptions, all dentists use some or a substantial number of digital technologies. Technology use is associated with various patterns of person-specific factors, and is higher when working in larger dental practices. The findings provide insight into the current state of digital technology adoption in dental practices. Further exploration why some dentists are more reluctant to adopt technologies than others is valuable for the dental profession’s agility in adjusting to technological developments.
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