Electronic dental record use in the Dental Practice-Based Research Network [presentation] Presentation uri icon


  • Objectives: Determine: (1) the extent dentists use computers to manage clinical information; (2) what patient information they keep on the computer; and (3) whether they would be willing to re-use electronic dental record (EDR) data for research. Methods: The Dental Practice-Based Research Network (DPBRN; www.DentalPBRN.org) comprises dental practices in the U.S. and Scandinavia. 991 eligible practitioner-investigators were invited to complete a Web-based survey. A paper version was sent to those who did not respond online. Data were combined with DPBRN Enrollment Questionnaire to obtain dentist and practice characteristics. Results: 729 practitioner-investigators completed the survey (74% response). Most respondents (79%) used computers to manage clinical information. US solo and group practices did not differ in the use of computer (p=0.22), but the difference was significant between US (79%) and Scandinavian (92%) group practices (p<0.05). Four EDR systems were used in 71% of practices in the U.S.: Dentrix (35%), Eaglesoft (20%), SoftDent (7%) and PracticeWorks (8%). Subgroups differed significantly in recording clinical information on the computer (p<0.05 for all 13 information categories). In the U.S., appointments, treatment plans and completed treatment are mostly stored on the computer in solo and group practices; progress notes and chief complaint are the least stored. In contrast, over 90% of Scandinavian dentists stored all information on the computer. Fifty-one percent of all respondents were willing to re-use EDR data for research and 63% preferred electronic forms for data collection. Computer use was significantly associated with intention to use electronic means for research in US solo practices (p<0.05), but not in group practices. Conclusions: Most DPBRN practitioner-investigators use computers to manage clinical information, with significant differences in the types of information kept on the computer across practice types. Half of practitioner-investigators are interested in re-using EDR data for research, while some have reservations.