A Standard Information Model for General Dental Records

Project: Research project

Project Details


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Electronic dental records (EDR) for general dentists vary widely with regard to the content and structure of the information they contain. At a time when electronic patient records are becoming increasingly essential to delivering high-quality patient care, the "Tower of Babel" that today's EDRs represent is an increasingly significant drawback. Not only does this situation currently prevent computational approaches for supporting patient care (for instance through automatic, patient-specific retrieval of evidence-based dental resources), it also will significantly hamper the exchange of patient information within the emerging National Health Information Infrastructure. Our research indicates that incomplete and fragmented EDRs force many practitioners to maintain both paper-and computer-based patient records, which situation potentially contributes to the very limited adoption of completely electronic patient records by general dentists. The objective of this project is to develop a comprehensive, consensus-based Electronic Dental Record Information Model (EDRIM) as a reference standard for the content and structure of EDRs. In Specific Aim 1, we will iterative refine the previously compiled candidate list of data elements to develop a validated, prioritized, comprehensive list of data elements for documenting patient care in general dentistry through a Delphi approach and transform this refined list of data elements into a formal information model. In Specific Aim 2, we will conduct a formal evaluation study to access the patient information coverage offered by the EDRIM developed in Specific Aim 1 by adopting a similar methodology used in the Large Scale Vocabulary Test conducted by National Library of Medicine and the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. The goal of our project is to develop a consensus-based, comprehensive dental information model that covers at least 70- 80% of the clinical concepts recorded by general dentists in daily practice. The proposed information model will have multiple benefits. First, EDR developers will have available a ready-made template for patient information that can easily be translated into a physical database design. Second, practitioners will benefit from EDRs that represent patient information more comprehensively than is currently the case. Third, future data exchange among dentists and their colleagues, as well as other members of the healthcare team, will be facilitated by a common data infrastructure. Last, rich and comprehensive EDRs will provide a significant opportunity to support clinical, epidemiological and health outcomes research. We expect the model to have far-reaching and beneficial impact on how patient information is represented and stored, how EDRs are designed and, ultimately, how electronic systems are used in support of clinical care and research. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The objective of this project is to develop a comprehensive, consensus-based Electronic Dental Record Information Model (EDRIM) as a reference standard for the content and structure of electronic dental records (EDRs).
Effective start/end date7/6/106/30/13


  • National Institutes of Health: $218,185.00
  • National Institutes of Health: $195,636.00


  • Medicine(all)
  • Dentistry(all)

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