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J Dent Educ. 2012 Jan;76(1):142-53.

From information technology to informatics: the information revolution in dental education.

Author information

1
Center for Dental Informatics, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, 3501 Terrace Street, Suite 339, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA. titus@pitt.edu

Abstract

The capabilities of information technology (IT) have advanced precipitously in the last fifty years. Many of these advances have enabled new and beneficial applications of IT in dental education. However, conceptually, IT use in dental schools is only in its infancy. Challenges and opportunities abound for improving how we support clinical care, education, and research with IT. In clinical care, we need to move electronic dental records beyond replicating paper, connect information on oral health to that on systemic health, facilitate collaborative care through teledentistry, and help clinicians apply evidence-based dentistry and preventive management strategies. With respect to education, we should adopt an evidence-based approach to IT use for teaching and learning, share effective educational content and methods, leverage technology-mediated changes in the balance of power between faculty and students, improve technology support for clinical teaching, and build an information infrastructure centered on learners and organizations. In research, opportunities include reusing clinical care data for research studies, helping advance computational methods for research, applying generalizable research tools in dentistry, and reusing research data and scientific workflows. In the process, we transition from a focus on IT-the mere technical aspects of applying computer technology-to one on informatics: the what, how, and why of managing information.

PMID:
22262557
PMCID:
PMC3988496
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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