Dental health informatics is the “application of computer and information science to improve dental practice, research, education, and management, and it is a subdiscipline of biomedical informatics. Numerous applications that support clinical care, education and research have been developed.”1 Dental informatics is “centered on harnessing technology to obtain clinical information that can be used to improve patient care or support treatment plans.”2 The field of dental informatics is concerned with the interchange of health informatics and dentistry exclusively. Dental informatics is thriving, and the interest within the profession is continuously growing, both academically and among practicing dentists and hygienists. Further, dental schools and dental practices are implementing electronic health records (EHR) systems, and health information exchanges (HIE) are transfiguring the way healthcare providers are communicating and practicing interprofessionally. The demands of federal and state programs to promote EHR adoption among certain health-care providers are also beginning to affect dentists across the country. As a result of these changes, dentistry is engaging information technology to meet its clinical, administrative, research, and educational needs more than ever.
At the conclusion of this educational activity, participants will be able to:
• Identify dental health informatics
• Appreciate the importance of dental health informatics in dental education
• Understand the benefits of dental health informatics
• Identify the challenges of dental health informatics
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