Why medical and dental care must be integrated

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As technology improves it is becoming more of a possibility to be in a position to share your medical records across a whole service as well as between services. It may also be possible to share such information across national and state borders. Many medical issues or symptoms are related to linked underlying healthcare issues and as such the sooner all those trusted to provide healthcare are able to share information, the better for your patients’ care.

What does this integration entail?

The primary healthcare provider must be able to see the patient’s other health concerns, from dental to eye care, health information and records must be shared and viewed holistically if you are to maximize the use of modern tech and improve the way you look after yourself.

For example, a topical issue needing full medical integration is bruxism and how it can cause a myriad of seemingly unrelated issues. The patient’s psychologist dealing with any stress and anxiety issues and the primary healthcare provider would both need to be involved, or at least provide the dentist with their notes and vice versa to sufficiently deal with this issue. Unless a professional dentist with experience of diagnosing severe teeth grinding examines the teeth and monitors them over a period of time it can be difficult to diagnose early bruxism. Meanwhile, the patient may continue to have several, sometimes-unexplained, medical issues such as ear, neck, and face pain. A good example of integration in the Calgary area is Ti Dental bruxism specialists who integrate both the diagnosis and the care of this medical issue to deal with it in a holistic manner.

Why is this integration important?

To ensure that patients are getting the best care that can be offered, medical care and advice must be integrated. The doctor must be able to have a consulting dentist attend should there be issues, and vice versa the dentist must be able to communicate this issue to the patient’s doctor as it may explain a number of issues.

How can you integrate your patient records?

There are many ways in which this can be done and with the available technology and access to cloud computing, most practices now make use of Electronic Health Records (HER) or Electronic Medical Records (EMR). In Canada for example, these records are being integrated online by Infoway. This means drug information, patient information and any diagnosis are in the same place online. It is a growing trend, and it is incumbent on those in the profession to be part of this trend, opening up the medical profession to achieve holistic healing and healthcare. 

The first thing that you will have to do as a health professional is determine which of the available systems will be best applied to your own practice and patients.

Your patients will also have to agree to this sharing of their information and decide who gets to see it. Most countries have begun to legislate as to the privacy of medical information and as a medical professional you will need to ensure that you are au fait with the relevant legislation. In Canada, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) is the equivalent, to a large extent, to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States. These medical information privacy acts will determine how you share and view medical information, regardless of where it is stored as many companies use Cloud storage in different countries or states.

As a modern-day health professional, using all of the available technologies will be vital to provide cogent health services for your patients. Integration of health systems and data is a key way to achieve this. Just make sure that you have the right host and the best security, as losing a patient’s data could cause irreparable damage to your reputation, both with patients and within the medical profession.