Analyzing Medication Documentation in Electronic Health Records: Dental Students' Self-Reported Behaviors and Charting Practices

Wesley K. Burcham, Laura M. Romito, Elizabeth A. Moser, Bruce D. Gitter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of this two-part study was to assess third- and fourth-year dental students' perceptions, self-reported behaviors, and actual charting practices regarding medication documentation in axiUm, the electronic health record (EHR) system. In part one of the study, in fall 2015, all 125 third- and 85 fourth-year dental students at one U.S. dental school were invited to complete a ten-item anonymous survey on medication history-taking. In part two of the study, the EHRs of 519 recent dental school patients were randomly chosen via axiUm query based on age >21 years and the presence of at least one documented medication. Documentation completeness was assessed per EHR and each medication based on proper medication name, classification, dose/frequency, indication, potential oral effects, and correct medication spelling. Consistency was evaluated by identifying the presence/absence of a medical reason for each medication. The survey response rate was 90.6% (N=187). In total, 64.5% of responding students reported that taking a complete medication history is important and useful in enhancing pharmacology knowledge; 90.4% perceived it helped improve their understanding of patients' medical conditions. The fourth-year students were more likely than the third-year students to value the latter (p=0.0236). Overall, 48.6% reported reviewing patient medications with clinic faculty 76-100% of the time. The respondents' most frequently cited perceived barriers to medication documentation were patients' not knowing their medications (68.5%) and, to a much lesser degree, axiUm limitations (14%). Proper medication name was most often recorded (93.6%), and potential oral effects were recorded the least (3.0%). Medication/medical condition consistency was 70.6%. In this study, most of the students perceived patient medication documentation as important; however, many did not appreciate the importance of all elements of a complete medication history, and complete medication documentation was low.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-696
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019


  • dental education
  • dental students
  • electronic health record
  • medication
  • medication reconciliation
  • pharmacology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Dentistry(all)

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