Teething Pains: Examining the Integration of Electronic Records in Dentistry and Medicine
The modern American healthcare system features a long-standing divide between medical and dental care. This divide is the product of long historical trends, but it has resulted in less optimal care for patients. Recent research shows that integrating care can improve patient outcomes and decrease the cost of care for patients with chronic disease. This integration can be mediated by integrated electronic health records. Interviews with practicing dental professionals at an Austin community clinic with an integrated patient record show high satisfaction among users and increased efficiency of care. In particular, the study showed that integrated records helped the oral healthcare providers fill gaps in their patient’s medical histories. This study opens the door for considering the integration of dental and medical health records in institutions like community clinics, perhaps through incentives from the government.