I made a visit to the dentist today and while waiting in the queue, I decided to ‘survey the systems in placed’.
The workflow adopted is relatively simple;
- Patient registeration (paper records)
- A manuel queue system (of FIFO)
- The dental assistant (also the registeration clerk) hands the paper record to the dentist
- A ‘clinical observation’ of my teeth is performed
- The dentist proceeds to explain what he is going to perform and proceeds
- Once the ‘repair’ is done, the paper record is updated and kept
- I am presented a bill and given a paper written receipt
Simplistic, cost effective and proven workflow. Is there a need for Dental Informatics?
For those unaware, I’m also a member of Dental Informatics Online Community (DIOE). Accordingly to DIOE, Dental informatics is defined as “The application of computer and information science to improve dental practice, research, education and management. Dental informatics can be considered a specialty of medical informatics”.
Now one might be questioning on the possibility of small private dental clinics adopting clinical information systems that will not only cost money but also manpower effort to maintain the systems.
Thats where Electonic Medical Record (EMR) comes in. Once the concept of EMR is accepted and implemented globally, it would only be necessary for all medical records of a patient to be available in the EMR, this includes dental and virtually all aspect of patient records pertatining to healthcare.
Of course, the relevent Clinical Information Systems (CIS) must be available before relevant information can be send to the EMR and medical imaging happens to form the basis of the modern hospital as physicians depends on medical images (well, almost all disciplines) to make their decision, there are Dental PACS, Ophthalmology PACS already available in the market, the demand for PACS in various medical disciplines is growing!
It would seems that PACS is overtaking the medical industry – not bad for an idea that spun out from Radiology 🙂