How EHRs can improve dental treatment of complex patients

Treating patients with complex or chronic conditions is a challenge that EHRs can assist with. EHRs and associated clinical decision support systems can provide flags, warnings and other indicators to assist and remind providers of the needs of particular patients.

Given the range of medical conditions, particularly for patients with multiple conditions, EHRs can provide guidance and a check so that medically complex patients receive safe care. In a pilot study, clinical decision support in an EHR did assist dentists with the clinical care guidelines.

The addition of clinical decision support is a real differentiator when evaluating EHR features. Having evidence based protocols and treatment plans that are customizable can definitely help streamline the exam. It is important to evaluate the source of these plans and protocols.

Lesson Learned:

  • Clinical decision support may be a critical selection criteria for clinicians that frequently treat complex patients.

Fricton, James, et al. (2011) The effect of electronic health records on the use of clinical care guidelines for patients with medically complex conditions. The Journal of the American Dental Association October 1, 142(1o): 1133-1142.

Abstract available here. Full article available to ADA members.