HRSA has developed an oral health resource “Health IT for Children Toolbox” for health centers, along with safety net and ambulatory care providers to learn how to apply health IT to pediatric oral health.
The main advantage for using health IT in dentistry is that it makes it possible for dental providers to connect and share information that can be important when providing care to children in different care settings. In the present environment, information about a child’s oral health and general health are too often located in separate silos resulting in health information being separated at each point-of-care.
According to the National Oral Health Policy Center at the Children’s Dental Health Project (CDHP) http://nmcohpc.net/2011/pediatric-oral-health-health, health IT is not commonly used in dentistry outside of practice management systems and even less frequently included in EHRs.
The goals in the area of pediatric oral health presented by CDHP are to:
- Refine electronic dental records and establish a standard for inter-user transfers of information
- Link dental offices into virtual networks for patient care, quality effectiveness research, and improved administration
- Include health IT in virtual networks to track oral health problems
- Improve access to information and communicate with patients by sending out email reminders, and educational materials to patients
- Improve the quality of dental care through informatics-based comparative effectiveness research and then share the information on cutting-edge treatments
Go to www.hrsa.gov/healthit/toolbox/Childrenstoolbox/PediatricOralHealthIT/how canhitbeapplied.html for the health IT toolbox.