Treatment planning in dentistry using an electronic health record: implications for undergraduate education
Treatment planning, an essential component of clinical practice, has received little attention in the dental literature and there appears to be no consistent format being followed in the teaching and development of treatment plans within dental school curricula. No investigation, to our knowledge, has been carried out to explore the subject of treatment planning since the advent of electronic health record (EHR) use in dentistry. It is therefore important to examine the topic of treatment planning in the context of EHRs.
This paper reports on how 25 predoctoral dental students from two U.S. schools performed when asked to complete diagnosis and treatment planning exercises for two clinical scenarios in an EHR. Three calibrated clinical teaching faculty scored diagnosis entry, diagnosis-treatment (procedure) pairing, and sequencing of treatment according to criteria taught in their curriculum. Scores were then converted to percent correct and reported as means (with standard deviations).
Overall, the participants earned 48.2% of the possible points. Participants at School 2 earned a mean of 54.3% compared with participants at School 1, who earned 41.9%. Students fared better selecting the appropriate treatment (59.8%) compared with choosing the correct diagnoses (41.9%) but performed least favorably when organizing the sequence of their treatment plans (41.7%).
Our results highlight the need to improve the current process by which treatment planning is taught and also to consider the impact of technology on the fundamental skills of diagnosis and treatment planning within the modern educational setting.