Electronic Oral Health Screening System (EOHSS)
Because dental caries have become more prevalent in children, the need for improved dental care for the most needy population groups has received much attention. Twelve states have passed dental screening laws for school children, and these have much variety. Pennsylvania law specifies three grade levels in which a child should be screened. There are many different policies regarding health care professionals who can conduct the screenings, ranging from a dentist to a nurse. Despite the positive evolution of oral health care policy in the U.S., there has been no system to house the data in one place, let alone analyze or aggregate it.
Dr. Joseph Greenberg and Dr. Steven Sinclair have developed a web-based system that guides the operator to capture important demographic, general health, and oral health data on a hand-held device for upload to a central server. This device is designed for field use screenings and to be operated by a dentist or trained non-dentist. It utilizes pictorial image comparisons and follows the ICDAS system for dental caries detection. There are also screens of images to detect periodontal infections, personal oral hygiene status, dental trauma, fluorosis, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, orthodontic malocclusion, and early childhood caries. It also prompts referral for care. This electronic screening examination can be completed within six minutes per patient. The goal of the pictorial electronic screening system is to find a system that unifies and standardizes objective screening assessments.
The DTA Foundation grant will fund a pilot program to launch the Electronic Oral Health Screening System. If the results yield a consistent screening process from clinician to clinician, this tool will be promoted and advanced to a multitude of other agencies. NIH is already interested in learning the outcomes of the study pilot.