Case Western Reserve’s Electronic Imaging and Translational Research

Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Dental Medicine made the decision to switch to electronic dental health records, including for all imaging and diagnostic information–even panoramic, cephalometric, and intraoral sensors. The Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) that they chose was made by Infinitt and is web-based.

Kathy Kincade’s article chronicles the decision-making process, citing Dr. Teich about making the choice to go with Infinitt:

“CWRU selected Infinitt’s PACS because of its Web-based architecture and because Infinitt was willing to customize the system to support the school’s integration requirements.”

The ability to negotiate with the vendor and secure data integration as part of the contract was important to CWRU because they wanted to use historical data as well as future data in the system. That allowed them to access historical images as well as current ones, improving the information for patient care.

Case Western also has an in-house EHR system, and the PACS module is integrated with that system as well, allowing dentists and physicians complete patient information. This access to information has already enabled research into overall health as measured through and by dentistry.

In particular, CWRU has released research data on the connection between gum disease and weight loss, and how electronic records improve quality of dental care. For the latter study, 51% of patients treated at a facility using electronic records received the appropriate standard of care, while only 7% of those at paper-based practices did. These kinds of advances in data availability and processing provide insights into the future of electronic records.

Lessons Learned:

  • Imaging and integration with historical images can be a key deciding factor for dental EHR selection.
  • Integration of dental and other health information can provide insight into translational research and overall health within only a few months. Negotiating that with vendors can be key to using the system.
  • Electronic records may improve quality of dental care.

Kincade, Kathy (2011) Case Western goes digital with dental PACS. Dr., Nov.

Anonymous (2012) Electronic Records Boost Quality Of Care. Medicus, Winter.

Anonymous (2012) Lose the fat and improve the gums. The Daily, Jan 6th.