Dental EHRs with Diagnostic Technologies Improves Oral Health Care

Diagnostic technologies are necessary components for the discovery, assessment, and diagnosis of many dental and systemic health issues. They include devices such as intraoral radiography, panoramic radiography, fluorescence imaging, and others. Additionally, software is available to assist in salivary and biopsy collection and testing. When these technologies are included and even integrated with the electronic health record (EHR), clinicians can perform much more thorough and efficient evaluations of a patient’s dental health. A patient’s overall oral health can be improved as well, since they can also aid in the detection of other possible medical concerns.

“These technologies provide a wide range of information that can assist with the evaluation and case management. The assessment of the dentition, periodontium, oral mucosa, salivary function, and systemic conditions have all be enhanced with these technologies. Being able to accurately obtain, evaluate and share this knowledge is crucial in the diagnostic process” (2012).

In addition to the usual visual and manual inspections, diagnostic tools aid in the process of increased efficiencies in dental examinations and evaluations. Better and more accurate clinical diagnosis and treatment planning translates to improved patient care. Using the tools concurrently with patient appointments creates a more efficiently running practice. Patients receive better care and perhaps even shorter appointment visits.

Diagnostic screening technologies include radiography such as the bitewing for limited area viewing and the panoramic for wider areas. Together, these offer a greater view of the oral cavity for increased detection of anomalies. Another modality for imaging is the cone beam tomography.

“When a pathological condition exists, the earliest possible discovery is the diagnostic goal, enabling corrective measures to be implemented to reestablish health. It is also imperative to remember that diagnosis is a decision made by a healthcare professional after evaluating and compiling all information available, from multiple sources and assessment techniques, and not be a device” (2012)

Therefore, the electronic health record along with diagnostic technologies offers more complete patient dental information.

Lessons learned:

• Diagnostic technologies are beneficial tools to include in the EHR arsenal.
• Dental care greatly enhanced with additional examination and evaluating processes.
• EHR combined with diagnostic technologies allows for a more thorough record.
• Clinical diagnosis improved through better examinations and evaluations.
• Patients receive more thorough and efficient care.
• Systemic conditions better detected with additional diagnostic tools.

Benjamin, S. D. (2012, April). Early discovery, assessment, and diagnosis; advanced diagnostic technologies are the foundation of oral health. Inside Dental Assisting, 8 (2); 6 pgs.