How information systems should support the information needs of general dentists in clinical settings: Suggestions from a qualitative study

Mei Song, Heiko Spallek, Deborah Polk, Titus Schleyer, Teena Wali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background. A major challenge in designing useful clinical information systems in dentistry is to incorporate clinical evidence based on dentists' information needs and then integrate the system seamlessly into the complex clinical workflow. However, little is known about the actual information needs of dentists during treatment sessions. The purpose of this study is to identify general dentists' information needs and the information sources they use to meet those needs in clinical settings so as to inform the design of dental information systems. Methods. A semi-structured interview was conducted with a convenience sample of 18 general dentists in the Pittsburgh area during clinical hours. One hundred and five patient cases were reported by these dentists. Interview transcripts were coded and analyzed using thematic analysis with a constant comparative method to identify categories and themes regarding information needs and information source use patterns. Results. Two top-level categories of information needs were identified: foreground and background information needs. To meet these needs, dentists used four types of information sources: clinical information/tasks, administrative tasks, patient education and professional development. Major themes of dentists' unmet information needs include: (1) timely access to information on various subjects; (2) better visual representations of dental problems; (3) access to patient-specific evidence-based information; and (4) accurate, complete and consistent documentation of patient records. Resource use patterns include: (1) dentists' information needs matched information source use; (2) little use of electronic sources took place during treatment; (3) source use depended on the nature and complexity of the dental problems; and (4) dentists routinely practiced cross-referencing to verify patient information. Conclusions. Dentists have various information needs at the point of care. Among them, the needs for better visual representation and patient-specific evidence-based information are mostly unmet. While patient records and support staff remain the most used information sources, electronic sources other than electronic dental records (EDR) are rarely utilized during patient visits. For future development of dental information or clinical decision-support systems, developers should consider integrating high-quality, up-to-date clinical evidence into comprehensive and easily accessible EDRs as well as supporting dentists' resource use patterns as identified in the study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalBMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Dentists
Information Systems
Tooth
Point-of-Care Systems
Dental Records
Clinical Decision Support Systems
Interviews
Access to Information
Workflow
Patient Education
Dentistry
Documentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Health Policy

Cite this

How information systems should support the information needs of general dentists in clinical settings : Suggestions from a qualitative study. / Song, Mei; Spallek, Heiko; Polk, Deborah; Schleyer, Titus; Wali, Teena.

In: BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making, Vol. 10, No. 1, 7, 2010.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{254713ff68a842cc853b25d54b497bad,
title = "How information systems should support the information needs of general dentists in clinical settings: Suggestions from a qualitative study",
abstract = "Background. A major challenge in designing useful clinical information systems in dentistry is to incorporate clinical evidence based on dentists' information needs and then integrate the system seamlessly into the complex clinical workflow. However, little is known about the actual information needs of dentists during treatment sessions. The purpose of this study is to identify general dentists' information needs and the information sources they use to meet those needs in clinical settings so as to inform the design of dental information systems. Methods. A semi-structured interview was conducted with a convenience sample of 18 general dentists in the Pittsburgh area during clinical hours. One hundred and five patient cases were reported by these dentists. Interview transcripts were coded and analyzed using thematic analysis with a constant comparative method to identify categories and themes regarding information needs and information source use patterns. Results. Two top-level categories of information needs were identified: foreground and background information needs. To meet these needs, dentists used four types of information sources: clinical information/tasks, administrative tasks, patient education and professional development. Major themes of dentists' unmet information needs include: (1) timely access to information on various subjects; (2) better visual representations of dental problems; (3) access to patient-specific evidence-based information; and (4) accurate, complete and consistent documentation of patient records. Resource use patterns include: (1) dentists' information needs matched information source use; (2) little use of electronic sources took place during treatment; (3) source use depended on the nature and complexity of the dental problems; and (4) dentists routinely practiced cross-referencing to verify patient information. Conclusions. Dentists have various information needs at the point of care. Among them, the needs for better visual representation and patient-specific evidence-based information are mostly unmet. While patient records and support staff remain the most used information sources, electronic sources other than electronic dental records (EDR) are rarely utilized during patient visits. For future development of dental information or clinical decision-support systems, developers should consider integrating high-quality, up-to-date clinical evidence into comprehensive and easily accessible EDRs as well as supporting dentists' resource use patterns as identified in the study.",
author = "Mei Song and Heiko Spallek and Deborah Polk and Titus Schleyer and Teena Wali",
year = "2010",
doi = "10.1186/1472-6947-10-7",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "10",
journal = "BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making",
issn = "1472-6947",
publisher = "BioMed Central",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - How information systems should support the information needs of general dentists in clinical settings

T2 - Suggestions from a qualitative study

AU - Song, Mei

AU - Spallek, Heiko

AU - Polk, Deborah

AU - Schleyer, Titus

AU - Wali, Teena

PY - 2010

Y1 - 2010

N2 - Background. A major challenge in designing useful clinical information systems in dentistry is to incorporate clinical evidence based on dentists' information needs and then integrate the system seamlessly into the complex clinical workflow. However, little is known about the actual information needs of dentists during treatment sessions. The purpose of this study is to identify general dentists' information needs and the information sources they use to meet those needs in clinical settings so as to inform the design of dental information systems. Methods. A semi-structured interview was conducted with a convenience sample of 18 general dentists in the Pittsburgh area during clinical hours. One hundred and five patient cases were reported by these dentists. Interview transcripts were coded and analyzed using thematic analysis with a constant comparative method to identify categories and themes regarding information needs and information source use patterns. Results. Two top-level categories of information needs were identified: foreground and background information needs. To meet these needs, dentists used four types of information sources: clinical information/tasks, administrative tasks, patient education and professional development. Major themes of dentists' unmet information needs include: (1) timely access to information on various subjects; (2) better visual representations of dental problems; (3) access to patient-specific evidence-based information; and (4) accurate, complete and consistent documentation of patient records. Resource use patterns include: (1) dentists' information needs matched information source use; (2) little use of electronic sources took place during treatment; (3) source use depended on the nature and complexity of the dental problems; and (4) dentists routinely practiced cross-referencing to verify patient information. Conclusions. Dentists have various information needs at the point of care. Among them, the needs for better visual representation and patient-specific evidence-based information are mostly unmet. While patient records and support staff remain the most used information sources, electronic sources other than electronic dental records (EDR) are rarely utilized during patient visits. For future development of dental information or clinical decision-support systems, developers should consider integrating high-quality, up-to-date clinical evidence into comprehensive and easily accessible EDRs as well as supporting dentists' resource use patterns as identified in the study.

AB - Background. A major challenge in designing useful clinical information systems in dentistry is to incorporate clinical evidence based on dentists' information needs and then integrate the system seamlessly into the complex clinical workflow. However, little is known about the actual information needs of dentists during treatment sessions. The purpose of this study is to identify general dentists' information needs and the information sources they use to meet those needs in clinical settings so as to inform the design of dental information systems. Methods. A semi-structured interview was conducted with a convenience sample of 18 general dentists in the Pittsburgh area during clinical hours. One hundred and five patient cases were reported by these dentists. Interview transcripts were coded and analyzed using thematic analysis with a constant comparative method to identify categories and themes regarding information needs and information source use patterns. Results. Two top-level categories of information needs were identified: foreground and background information needs. To meet these needs, dentists used four types of information sources: clinical information/tasks, administrative tasks, patient education and professional development. Major themes of dentists' unmet information needs include: (1) timely access to information on various subjects; (2) better visual representations of dental problems; (3) access to patient-specific evidence-based information; and (4) accurate, complete and consistent documentation of patient records. Resource use patterns include: (1) dentists' information needs matched information source use; (2) little use of electronic sources took place during treatment; (3) source use depended on the nature and complexity of the dental problems; and (4) dentists routinely practiced cross-referencing to verify patient information. Conclusions. Dentists have various information needs at the point of care. Among them, the needs for better visual representation and patient-specific evidence-based information are mostly unmet. While patient records and support staff remain the most used information sources, electronic sources other than electronic dental records (EDR) are rarely utilized during patient visits. For future development of dental information or clinical decision-support systems, developers should consider integrating high-quality, up-to-date clinical evidence into comprehensive and easily accessible EDRs as well as supporting dentists' resource use patterns as identified in the study.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=77949894313&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=77949894313&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1186/1472-6947-10-7

DO - 10.1186/1472-6947-10-7

M3 - Article

C2 - 20122272

AN - SCOPUS:77949894313

VL - 10

JO - BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making

JF - BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making

SN - 1472-6947

IS - 1

M1 - 7

ER -