Following this unit of instruction, the practitionershould be able to:
Describe to what extent general dentists areusing electronic dental records (EDRs).
Discuss reasons that limit adoption of EDRs ingeneral dentistry.
Identify aspects in which EDRs differ from paperrecords with respect to their information pre-sentation and storage capabilities.
Describe the concept of usability with respect toEDRs.
Discuss task outcomes of a recent usabilitystudy and their implications.
List considerations for choosing an EDR system.
lectronic dental records (EDRs) have becomea topic of increasing interest for practicingdentists, especially now that the administrativefunctions in practice management systems havematured to the degree that they barely warrantmention. Marketed under names such as the digitaldental office, integrated clinical solutions, paperlesssystems, and electronic patient or health records, EDRsrepresent the next frontier for the dental informationtechnology industry in the quest to digitize (almost)every aspect of dental practice. Vendors have been advertising plenty of offeringsfor quite some time and adoption has acceleratedin recent years. As of early 2005, only 1.8% of allgeneral dentists in the U.S. were paperless, while25% had a computer at chairside.
By 2007, thosefigures had risen to 9.2% and 55.5%, respectively,for all dentists according to a survey conducted bythe American Dental Association.
New dentists, i.e.dentists who graduated from dental school withinthe past ten years, had adopted paperless systemsto an even larger degree, 13.4%. While EDRs areincreasingly adopted by the practitioner community,many obstacles remain.Many practitioners approach “going paperless” with thegoal of “getting rid of paper.” However, implementingEDRs is much more than just eliminating paper; itrequires a profound change in the way offices operate,record patient data, train staff, and manage informationand information technology. Few offices manage toundergo this complex transformation quickly and easily.Those who fail or are less than successful are frequentlycited by their peers as a justification for waiting just alittle bit longer.This guide focuses on a narrow set of questionsregarding EDRs: How are general dentists, whohave adopted EDRs, using them, and what are theiropinions about them? How appropriate are EDRs forrepresenting information that is typically stored inpaper records? And, how does the user interface ofcurrent EDRs impact dentists’ ability to work withthem? The answers to those questions come fromseveral studies
conducted by the Center forDental Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh aswell as other sources.
General Dentists’ Use and View ofElectronic Dental Records (EDRs)
In our first study, we surveyed 102 randomly sampledU.S. general dentists who were using a computerat chairside about their use of, opinions about andattitudes toward their systems.
A majority of therespondents (80%) had implemented such systemsat chairside within the last 10 years. The averageage of our respondents was 50 years, with astandard deviation of 10 years. Eighty percent of therespondents used one of four systems: Dentrix (Dentrix
Quality Resource Guide
Electronic Dental Records
MetLife designates this activity for1.0 continuing education credit
for the review of this Quality Resource Guideand successful completion of the post test.
Titus Schleyer, DMD, PhD
Director, Center for Dental InformaticsSchool of Dental MedicineUniversity of PittsburghPittsburgh, PA
Dr. Schleyer has no relevant financialrelationships to disclose.
The following commentary highlightsfundamental and commonly acceptedpractices on the subject matter. Theinformation is intended as a generaloverview and is for educational purposesonly. This information does not constitutelegal advice, which can only be provided byan attorney.© Metropolitan Life Insurance Company,New York, NY. All materials subject to thiscopyright may be photocopied for thenoncommercial purpose of scientific oreducational advancement.Originally published March 2008 as“Computer-Based Patient Records”.Updated and revised July 2011. Expirationdate: July 2014. The content of this Guideis subject to change as new scientificinformation becomes available.MetLife is an ADA CERP Recognized Provider. ADA CERP is a service of the American Dental Association to assist dental professionals inidentifying quality providers of continuingdental education. ADA CERP does not approveor endorse individual courses or instructors,nor does it imply acceptance of credit hours byboards of dentistry.Concerns or complaints about a CE provider maybe directed to the provider or to ADA CERP atwww.ada.org/goto/cerp. Accepted Program Provider FAGD/MAGDCredit 01/01/09 - 12/31/12. Address comments to:dentalquality@MetLife.comMetLife DentalQuality Initiatives Program501 US Highway 22Bridgewater, NJ 08807