Temple University Kornberg School of Dentistry and Henry Schein, Inc. have announced the creation of the Henry Schein Digital Center of Excellence.
The School of Dentistry’s new center, anticipated to open in the next 12 months, will serve as a digital dentistry training hub for students, faculty and alumni, enhancing dental education and demonstrating how digital technology can lead to improved patient care and outcomes.
Kornberg School of Dentistry Dean Amid Ismail said. “Starting this fall, the predoctoral and postdoctoral clinics at the dental school will be offered a digital dentistry alternative to traditional restorative care.”
SNODENT stands for Systematized Nomenclature of Dentistry. What it is intended to do is to establish standard diagnostic criteria and definitions and then create a standard digital format that can be used by everybody as part of a digital electronic medical / dental record. The concept is great, but.
As a general rule dentist have not been diligent in making and recording diagnosis. We often conflate the treatment and the diagnosis. For example we will say the diagnosis is a crown. Of course that is not correct the crown is a treatment the diagnosis might be a broken or decayed tooth. One of the reasons we do this (besides habit) is that we have codes for treatments but not for diagnosis.
The proper way to do it is to make and record a diagnosis and then to prescribe a treatment. The SNODENT system is designed to be the recording system for diagnosis – which is good – but breaks down when so few of us make formal diagnosis.
The second problem is the steps involved. Not only do we have to develop a new habit that is making a specific diagnosis we have to fit it to a SNODENT code and then enter the code in the record. And we have to do this for every treatment. Even a prophy technically needs a diagnosis.
One of the great benefits of standard diagnostic codes is that they can be used for research. Which diseases are most common? Which treatments are most effective? In other words SNODENT codes are needed to do effective evidence based analysis.
It is hard to argue with the concept of evidence based treatment planning as a concept. However in reality it has been used in medicine to limit treatment options, reduce reimbursements and stifle creativity and innovation.
Never the less the concept is excellent and dentists need to do a better job of making and recording standard diagnosis.
First generation attempts to create digital referral slips simply recreate the paper form in an electronic format, usually pdf. The referring dentist needs to download and print the form then fill in the information (patient name, practice information, tooth #, diagnosis etc.) by hand. The patient takes the form to the specialist and the data is entered just as if the patient had come in and was handed a form to fill out.
Second generation online referrals can be filled in online, no paper. However the referring dentist or the patient still needs to fill in the information by hand using a keyboard and mouse. Once the information is filled in the specialist office could access it from the Internet and create a new patient record with no additional data entry.
Third generation digital referral slips will be smart and interactive. The system will upload data directly from the electronic record without the dentist or dental staff member re-typing or pasting the data. It will include the basics we have done in the past as well as a complete medical history, patient demographics and insurance information.
When the patient shows up at the specialists office there will be no clipboard and forms they will already have complete electronic record waiting for them ready to go.