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Br J Gen Pract. 1999 May;49(442):368-73.

Attitudes towards, and utility of, an integrated medical-dental patient-held record in primary care.

Author information

  • 1Department of Public Health, University of Glasgow. r.b.jones@udcf.gla.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The need for closer coordination between primary care medical and dental services has been recognized.

AIM:

To assess the attitudes of general medical practitioners (GMPs), general dental practitioners (GDPs), and patients to an integrated medical-dental patient-held record (integrated medical-dental PHR); to examine patients' use of these records, and the utility of the records for doctors and dentists.

METHOD:

A three-phase study was carried out: (1) postal survey of GMPs and GDPs; (2) randomized trial of patients, using postal questionnaires before and one year after the issue of integrated medical-dental PHRs to cases; (3) assessment by doctors and dentists of anonymized integrated medical-dental PHRs from this trial. The study was carried out in medical and dental practices in affluent and deprived areas in Greater Glasgow Health Board. Two hundred and thirteen GMPs, 183 GDPs, and 369 patients registered with GMPs and GDPs were surveyed. Eighteen GDPs and GMPs assessed the integrated medical-dental PHRs.

RESULTS:

Eighty per cent of dentists had contacted a doctor and 16% of doctors had contacted a dentist in the previous three months; 87% of dentists and 68% of doctors thought an integrated medical-dental PHR would be of some use. Twenty-one per cent of dentists and 85% of doctors had practice computers. Most patients wanted to be able to see and read their own records. Twenty-four per cent of patients said there were mistakes and 30% noticed omissions in the integrated medical-dental PHR issued. Experience of having an integrated medical-dental PHR made patients more positive towards the idea of having a patient-held record and being able to check the accuracy of records. Integrated medical-dental PHRs contained important information for half the GDPs and one-third of the GMPs.

CONCLUSION:

Both professionals and patients have reasonably positive attitudes towards the use of patient-held records. Among patients, the experience of having the integrated medical-dental PHR led to greater enthusiasm towards the idea. Dentists in particular would benefit from the transfer of information from doctors, but better methods are needed to ensure that patients take the integrated medical-dental PHR with them. Given the current lack of ability to easily produce an integrated medical-dental PHR, further examination of the routine issue of a copy of their medical summary, by GMPs, to all patients would be worthwhile.

PMID:
10736887
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1313422
Free PMC Article
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