As a long time practitioner with a focus on special needs patients, I have run the gamut when it comes to dealing with patient medical histories. I have experienced and learned the importance of being systematic when dealing with patient’s medical histories and to break them down into issues that are manageable. This requires a specific focus on conditions that result in a susceptibility to infection, a tendency for uncontrolled bleeding, or unstable disease. Taken individually or altogether, these will help me determine if I need to modify my standard procedures to deliver safe care.
As designer of Dental Symphony, I continuously seek to apply the lessons of the practitioner to enliven the software and enable the clinician. What do clinical issues that must be kept in mind when assessing patients for care have to do with dental software? More than you might think.
First, let’s focus first on the susceptibility to infection question. Conditions related to an increased incidence of infection are well known and they include (but are not limited to) situations such as uncontrolled diabetes, a compromised immune system, and prosthetic heart valves. If these medical history conditions are present, then I know to have a heightened concern for the possibility of my patient dealing with an infection after care and I may need to modify my care accordingly.
How can my software help me in this situation?
It can auto-analyze my patient’s medical history and point out the risk based upon the presence of a correlated disease. This helps me recognize from the very beginning, without having to search, what issues demand my concern.
For those who use our online patient registration system, they have these notices on their list of patients to indicate if (or if not) the patient has a disease correlated to susceptibility to infection.
The which stands for infection, might be one of three colors. Grey, Green, or Red.
Grey is the color for when then history has not been completed.
Green means that there are no known risks for susceptibility to infection.
Red means caution because something in the patient’s history should be evaluated regarding the potential for infection.
How is it determined that the “I” should be red?
The medical history questionnaire asks patients if they have these conditions: diabetes, steroid use, cardiac disease, renal disease, organ transplant history, prosthetic joint placement, drug use, bisphosphonate use, cancer treatment and physician recommendations.
ePatient’s Pre-Clinical Analysis then automatically examines the information to determine if any of these conditions are present. If one of them is, the alert is turned red which gives me a heads up when reviewing the medical history.
Of course, these alerts don’t replace my judgment as a clinician, but they absolutely help me to better make those judgments. Offices using this system learn to pay attention to these alert colors in the patient list and more quickly get a sense about the primary concerns when evaluating patients for care. This connection between dental software and clinical awareness allows a systematic analysis of patients’ medical histories to inform dentists about potential barriers to giving great care.