Building a simulation system to train dentists to practice evidence-based dentistry [abstract]
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Background: Because of the distributed nature of dental practice, dentists tend to develop practice patterns based on the training they received in dental school. While their training was current at their graduation, as the period post-graduation increases more recent research holds the potential to improve dental care. Innovative methods are needed to educate dentists in the latest evidence-based approaches to practice. The aim of this study is to build a case-based internet simulation interface to educate dentists on the latest evidence-based approaches to practice. Methods: Due to the complexity of the project it was decided to work on multiple components in parallel. One team was formed to review possible guidelines using the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II (AGREE II) standards. Insufficient high quality guidelines necessitated examining systematic reviews using an approach based on PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses). A second team began work to develop standards for case creation. A third team of internet programmers began to create the front- and back-end for the case-based interface. Communication between the teams is facilitated by partial shared team membership and the attention of the principal investigator. Results: In order to complete the system within the one year development timeline, we discovered that we needed to make specific compromises to balance the ideal and the practical scenarios. First, each case would involve a single encounter where the provider would be given sufficient information to identify the problems and plan treatments for future encounters. Second, in order to limit the options for gaming the system, all sub-actions will be linked to specific time intervals. Each encounter will then be assigned total completion time based on the sum of the sub-action times. Conclusions: Case-based learning, structured around an internet interface and presented to dentists distributed across small practices throughout the world, should be an important link in educating dentists on uniform evidence-based dental information.