Advances in healthcare such as virtual dental implant planning have the capacity to result in greater accuracy, speed, and efficiencies leading to improvement in patient care. It has been suggested that the acceptance of new technology is influenced by a variety of factors including individual differences, social and situational influences, user beliefs, and user attitudes. Despite the large volume of work in this area, only limited research has been conducted in the field of dental education. Therefore, the present study aimed at assessing the acceptance of virtual dental implant planning software by undergraduate students.
Forty-three third-year dental students of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany, were included in the study. They filled in a questionnaire based on a combination of the technology acceptance model and the theory of planned behavior (C-TAM-TPB). Cronbach’s α, Pearson product moment correlation coefficients, and squared multiple correlations (R2) were calculated.
Cronbach’s α exceeded .7 for all constructs. Pearson correlations were significant for the pairs perceived usefulness/behavioral intention, perceived usefulness/attitude, and attitude/behavioral intention. Perceived ease of use explained .09% of the variance of perceived usefulness (R2 = .09). Perceived ease of use and perceived usefulness accounted for 31% of the variance of attitude (R2 = .31). Perceived usefulness, attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control explain 37% of the variance of behavioral intention (R2 = .37).
Virtual dental implant planning software seems to be accepted by dental students especially because of its usefulness and the students’ attitude towards this technology. On the other hand, perceived ease of use does not play a major role. As a consequence, the implementation of virtual dental implant planning software in a dental undergraduate curriculum should be supported by highlighting the usefulness by the supervisors, who should also strengthen the attitude of the students towards this technology.