The use of information and communication technologies in Latin American dentists: a cross-sectional study from Ecuador

Ivan Cherrez-Ojeda*, Carlos Vera, Emanuel Vanegas, Juan Gallardo, Miguel Felix, Fernando Espinoza-Fuentes, Peter Chedraui, Antonio W. D. Gavilanes, Valeria Mata

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Web of Science)


Background The use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) provide the tools for enabling fast and reliable real-time communications, as well as the transfer of information between dental professionals and their patients. However, little is known about the frequency and preference of ICTs among Latin-American dentists. Our study aims to fill this gap by assessing different aspects related to ICTs, mainly the frequency of use, perceptions, and barriers among Ecuadorian dentists. Methods An anonymous, cross-sectional survey-based study was conducted among 342 Ecuadorian dentists. The final questionnaire included 13 items related to the frequency of use, perceptions, and barriers of ICTs. Bivariate analysis was performed by using chi-squared testing to explore the association between the independent variables and the intended use of ICTs, as well as to characterize the perceptions and barriers related to ICTs. Results In general, most participants reported the use of ICTs to communicate with colleagues (99.7%), and patients (96.2%), while only 63.5% reported using ICTs to obtain academic information in their daily practice. WhatsApp was rated as the most used ICT for communicating with colleagues and patients. A majority of participants considered that ICTs can be useful for facilitating continuing dental education (92.1%), searching new work opportunities (91.5%), promoting health (90.1%), working with colleagues and other health professionals (91.2%), promoting their professional services (90.6%), and for resolving clinical cases (87.7%). On the subject of barriers, privacy and security concerns about personal and/or patient information was the biggest concern among dentists (65%), followed by lack of time to learn how to use and/or use ICTs (48%), lack of mobile internet access (28.1%), and lack of internet access at work (24.9%). Conclusion In our study, we found that Ecuadorian dentists had a high usage rate of ICTs, mainly for communicating with other colleagues and patients, while the academic use of technology remains a comparatively underused application. Most of the participants surveyed had a positive perception towards ICTs, while privacy and security concerns were identified as the main barrier. Older age was associated with a less favourable perception toward ICTs, as well as an increased likelihood of reporting barriers related to the use of technology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number146
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Oral Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2020


  • Dentists
  • Ecuador
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Latin America
  • Social media

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