Using Electronic Dental Record Data for Research: A Data-mapping Study

Journal Name: 
Journal Of Dental Research
Anecdotal evidence suggests that, during the clinical care process, many dental practices record some data that are also collected in dental practice based research network (PBRN) studies. Since the use of existing, electronically stored data for research has multiple benefits, we investigated the overlap between research data fields used in dental PBRN studies and clinical data fields typically found in general dental records. We mapped 734 unique data elements from the Dental Information Model (DIM) to 2,487 Common Data Elements (CDE) curated by the NIDCR's PBRNs in the Cancer Data Standards Registry and Repository (caDSR). Thirty-three percent of the DIM data elements matched at least one CDE completely and 9% partially, translating to about 9% and 2%, respectively, of all data elements used in PBRN studies. The most frequently used CDEs found in the DIM included data about dental anatomy, medications, and items such as oral biopsy and caries. Our study shows that a non-trivial number of data elements in general dental records can be mapped either completely or partially to data fields in research studies. Further studies should investigate the feasibility of electronic clinical data for research purposes.;
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