428 Feasibility of an Electronic Dental Practice-based Research Network

Thursday, March 4, 2010: 3:30 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.
Location: Exhibit Hall D (Walter E. Washington Convention Center)
Presentation Type: Poster Session
T. SCHLEYER, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Objectives: In 2005, the National Institute of Dental Research in the US invested approximately $75 million to establish three dental practice-based research networks (PBRN). As opposed to many medical PBRN initiatives, dental PBRNs have not used data from electronic dental records (EDRs) to any significant degree in their studies. This project's objective was to develop an initial approach for assessing the feasibility of reusing data from EDRs for practice-based research.

Methods: We reviewed design and architecture of several medical PBRN initiatives, including ResNet, ePCRN and DARTNet, that use data from electronic patient records (EPR) for clinical studies. We combined this review with the results of studies on clinical information storage and patient record content in dentistry to formulate an initial model for supporting dental studies with data from EDRs.

Results: General practitioners preferably store schedules, treatment plans, completed treatment and hard/soft tissue charting information in EDRs. However, storage practices for other types of data vary. Various EDRs store data using different formats and labels, making merging data reliably difficult in the absence of a common information model. In current dental PBRN studies research and clinical data are recorded and managed separately. Several medical PBRNs have implemented mechanisms in which clinical data are sourced from multiple organizations and EPR vendor products and mapped to research databases systematically. These mechanisms facilitate research data collection for a variety of purposes, such as estimating potential study patient population, eligibility verification and completion of case report forms.

Conclusion: Mechanisms to leverage the increasing amount of clinical data currently locked away in dental practices' computer systems for research are currently not available. Medical PBRN IT infrastructures can serve as models to make these data available for the practice-based research, real-time epidemiologic surveys, development of disease registries and the monitoring of disease outbreaks.

Keywords: Computers and Practice-based Research
Presenting author's disclosure statement: none