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Editorial

Braz Oral Res 2009;23(2):99-100 99

Preface

The benefits and newly required practices

brought about by innovations in the

communication between professionals

I

n the last decades, communications was one of the areas of sciences that gained the most resourcefulness, with innovations of its own, and, above all, with the recent technological advances made available to an ever growing public. This resourcefulness has unquestionably contrib-uted to scientiic knowledge by facilitating the sharing of information between professionals. Unfortunately, however, this exchange can take on an illegal character, sometimes with questionable purposes.

In the health care ield, applying scientiic knowledge often requires bringing different opinions together. This is particularly the case in Den-tistry, owing to its inherent technical complexity. In order to choose the most appropriate conduct for each particular case – from diagnosing it properly to administering the most suitable therapy – it is necessary to acquire an overall picture based on experienced opinions that look at the problem from various standpoints and with different levels of knowledge. This process of querying and consolidation is called “Second Opinion”, which can be more easily shared today because of the constant innova-tion in the communicainnova-tion media.

An important aspect in this issue is preserving the relationship be-tween patient and dental professional, observing the principles of secrecy, individuality, conidentiality and both personal and delegated property. The exclusive and indivisible responsibility of the professional that pro-vides care to the patient in a direct and personal fashion stands unques-tioned. Other concurring professionals merely contribute to the process of building the best possible judgment by the irst professional.

These are the underlying circumstances guiding the cautionary mea-sures required in the relationship between the professional directly in-volved in seeing the patient and the professional providing a second opinion to assist in the case directly or at a distance via internet, whether formally or informally. The ethical responsibility of those who send and receive protocols, images, case reports and other data pertaining to the case – including lab information and data used by lab professionals – is at stake. Here, the required ethical conduct is the same as that recom-mended in working with any other database, whether physical, digital or of any other nature.

Digital databases should be set up with the same secrecy and reliabil-ity as physical ones. Encrypting the information will allow access solely and exclusively by those who have the correct passwords and code keys, but it also involves the costs of building access environments run by en-cryption systems. On the other hand, the simple exchange of email mes-Mary Caroline Skelton Macedo(a)

João Humberto Antoniazzi(b)

(a) Post-Doctoral Student, Teledentistry Center,

School of Dentistry, University of São Paulo, SP, Brazil.

(b) Coordinator of the Teledentistry Center;

(2)

The benefits and newly required practices brought about by innovations in the communication between professionals

Braz Oral Res 2009;23(2):99-100

100

sages between professionals should be controlled in order to ensure the receipt of sensitive data only by the authorized addressee.

The issue broached here is of great interest to sci-ence, both from a didactic-academic and a clinical research point of view. As to the patient, his/her free and informed consent is contingent to the guaran-teed protection of the secrecy and proper use of his/ her sensitive data, which includes the storage and transit of these data through electronic media.

The dental community is thus called upon to evaluate the beneits of communication innovations in the various media in which it is put into effect today. The validity of these beneits is contingent

on the guarantees discussed above, with the aim of obviating unwanted legal ordeals and unethical out-comes.

Referências

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