Improving dental care by linking medical and dental health records Information exchange

Dental professionals need access to every patient’s complete electronic health record — including lab test results and current prescriptions — so they can provide the best care possible. safe patient care, promote preventive care and improve dental treatment outcomes.

This unprecedented access would help all types of dental professionals, including general dentists, oral surgeons, periodontists, prosthodontists, endodontists, hygienists and others. A new multi-study project from the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Dentistry has determined that information in patient medical records is generally not readily or readily available to oral health practitioners.

Dental informatics researchers have confirmed that requested medical information is typically faxed from a medical facility to the dental office. Faxes, sometimes illegible when received, are often scanned into the patient’s dental record. Researchers found that faxed information typically arrived in 7-10 days, although in the study 30% took even longer.

Oral health practitioners may need to confirm a list of medical considerations; for example, that there is no contraindication for a patient to be seated in a chair for a long procedure or if a patient is taking medications that could put them at risk of excessive bleeding during tooth extraction or other procedure. In the era of electronic data transmissions in banking, commerce and more, should healthcare professionals still rely on inefficient paper-based methods to share patient information?

Thankam P. Thyvalikakath, DMD, MDS, PhD, Study Lead Author and Study Leader, Director of the Regenstrief Institute

Thyvalikakath is also Director of the Dental Informatics Program at IU School of Dentistry

The demand for advanced dental care is increasing due to people living longer with chronic conditions like HIV and the growing number of older people with natural teeth. For these patients, the information contained in their medical records may be especially critical for proper dental treatment.

Clinician-researchers found that the medical information most frequently requested by a dental office to finalize treatment decisions and timing of procedures was the patient’s diabetes status and blood sugar history. Knowing this information helps oral health professionals rule out any contraindications to undergoing dental treatments, determine the results of surgery or evaluate implant placement options, and calculate disease risk. gums. For example, if blood sugar is high, there is a greater likelihood that an implant will fail.

“Retrospective Study of the Reasons and Time Involved for Dental Providers’ Medical Consults” is published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers of digital health. The authors, in addition to Dr. Thyvalikakath, who is the senior and corresponding author, are Shuning Li, PhD, IU School of Dentistry; Karmen S. Williams, MBA, DrPH, Regenstrief Institute and IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, IU School of Dentistry and City University of New York; Jayanth Kuman Medam, BDS, MS, IU School of Dentistry and ELLKAY LLC; Jay S. Patel, BDS, MS, PhD, IU School of Dentistry and Temple University and Theresa Gonzalez, DDS, IU School of Dentistry.


Journal reference:

Lily., et al. (2022) Retrospective study of the reasons and time for medical consultations by dental providers. Frontiers of digital health.