The Office of the Chief Dental Officer is pioneering custom-designed electronic oral health records, with Queensland the first jurisdiction opting to build the software in-house.
Senior developers contracted to the Department have worked collaboratively with staff from the Office of the Chief Dental Officer and dental practitioners working at the frontline in public dental clinics in Queensland, to create a customised electronic health record. The system is hosted by eHealth Queensland under an annually revised service level agreement.
The program’s functionality includes full medical history, odontogram and periodontal charting, plaque and calculus indices, diagrams, treatment planning, progress notes, scanned referrals and medication lists, e-signatures for consent, and electronic clinician sign-off.
A major benefit of electronic records is that it enables clinics to be paperless. By eliminating physical patient charts and related handling costs such as storage, archiving, retrieval and destruction; significant efficiencies for dental services have been gained. At the Ipswich Community Dental Clinic in Queensland’s West Moreton region, by removing the charts and compactus the clinic was able to increase the number of surgeries from 9 to 11.
The paperless environment has also led to enhanced coordination of care between clinicians, regardless of their physical location. It has also improved the completeness and accuracy of clinical information because clinicians can more easily input patient information and updates.
To date, the electronic oral health record has been rolled out across all adult public dental clinics in nine Hospital and Health Services in Queensland, with the full roll out expected to be completed by June 2018.
Future projects includes integrating with dental images and pushing oral health information into Queensland Health’s The Viewer system and also enabling clinicians to view patients’ relevant medical information. The Viewer consolidates a number of clinical information systems used by Queensland Health clinicians. The inclusion of oral health records in The Viewer means clinicians will know more about their patient’s health and recent treatments.