Linking dental and medical records ‘could improve patient safety and treatment outcomes’

Linking dental and medical records 'could improve patient safety and treatment outcomes'Linking patients’ dental and medical records could improve the outcomes and safety of treatment. 

This is according to a new multi-study project from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Dentistry.

The team of researchers argue that dental professionals ‘require access to each patient’s complete electronic health record’ so they can provide the best care possible. This includes laboratory test results and current prescriptions

They state the move would benefit general dentists, oral surgeons, periodontists, prosthodontists, endodontists and hygienists.

According to the findings, the most frequently requested medical information by a dental office were patient diabetes status and history of blood sugar levels.

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Scrap inefficient methods

‘Oral health practitioners may need to confirm a list of medical considerations,’ said senior author, Thankam P. Thyvalikakath.

‘For example, that there is no contraindication to a patient sitting in a chair for a lengthy procedure. Or whether a patient is taking any medication that could put them at risk for excessive bleeding during a tooth extraction.

‘In this day and age of electronic data transmissions in banking, shopping and other commercial fields, should health professionals still be relying on inefficient, paper-based methods for sharing patient information?’

The study was funded by IU School of Dentistry and the National Library of Medicine.

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