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100% of dentists surveyed want access to patients' medical records

Sept. 25, 2023
All dental providers surveyed in a recent CareQuest study on electronic health records said they'd like access to their patients' medical records, and most of their medical peers agree. Here's why.
Elizabeth S. Leaver, Digital content manager

When asked in a recent survey if they’d like to be able to view their patients’ medical records, all dental providers—fully 100%—indicated they would, with a majority of their medical peers (75%) saying they’d like access to their patients’ dental information.

The findings were part of a CareQuest Institute for Oral Health provider survey on electronic health records (EHRs) conducted at federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), selected for the study “due to their role as innovators and early adopters of medical-dental integration.”

The study points to inadequacies with the exchange of EHRs among dental and medical providers, noting that care teams often have separate records for mutual patients, as well as incompatible software systems.

Also from CareQuest: Dangerous at-home oral care: Who's most at risk?

Beyond the convenience data integration would offer is the potential for more efficient, timely, and thorough patient care, according to CareQuest: “There are many scenarios in which a patient’s care may be delayed or lack attention due to inadequate collaboration and data-sharing between medical and dental offices.”

“Despite the growing understanding of the relationship between oral health and systemic disease, oral health care often remains siloed from the rest of the health care system,” it continued. “Medical-dental integration and the improved sharing of medical and dental records can help build that critical bridge between oral health and overall health.”

Other key survey findings

  • Fewer than half (42%) of dental providers at colocated facilities can use their health center’s EHR system to enter information into patients’ medical records. 
  • The vast majority (88%) of medical and dental providers at colocated facilities can’t revise their mutual patients’ treatment plans. 
  • Medical providers have more access to identify medications and make referrals to outside health care providers through the EHR system than dental providers. 
  • Twice as many medical providers as dental providers are able to identify medications prescribed to patients by providers at other health-care organizations using their EHR system.
About the Author

Elizabeth S. Leaver | Digital content manager

Elizabeth S. Leaver was the digital content manager for Endeavor Business Media's dental group from 2021-2024. She has a degree in journalism from Northeastern University in Boston and many years of experience working in niche industries specializing in creating content, editing, content marketing, and publishing digital and magazine content. She lives in the Boston area.