From Healthcare Informatics Magazine :
Researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana University School of Dentistry plan to conduct an analysis of electronic dental records of patients treated by dentists across the United States to explore the feasibility of using electronic dental records data for clinical research.
This is great. I am a huge fan of the concept of using “Big Data” to help us better understand disease and treatment and to improve the human condition. But.
Recent experience has shown us that the Internet is simply not secure. At this time we have to assume that anything online is hackable. Until people can be assured that their personal information will remain anonymous and secure they will be reluctant to allow it to be used for research.
The research is very likely to find that some of our most cherished beliefs as to what is important to good dental health simply are not true. This will result in enormous cognitive dissonance and complete denial by large portions of the profession and the public.
Who gets to decide what “good” treatment actually is. What is best for the patient may not be what is best for the payers (who will likely have a hand in funding) or even what is best for the dental profession.
Never the less the concept is good and this research is a welcome step in the right direction. I am eager to see what they find.