Toward Implementing Primary Care at Chairside: Developing a Clinical Decision Support System for Dental Hygienists

J Evid Based Dent Pract. 2015 Dec;15(4):145-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jebdp.2015.08.003. Epub 2015 Aug 28.


Introduction: The goal of this project was to use the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research (CFIR) as the theoretical foundation for developing a web-based clinical decision support system (CDSS) for primary care screening and care coordination by dental hygienists at chairside.

Methods: First, we appraised New York State education and scope of practice requirements for dental hygienists with input from health experts who constituted a Senior Advisory Board for the project, and reviewed current professional guidelines and best practices for tobacco use, hypertension and diabetes screening, and nutrition counseling at chairside. Second, we created algorithms for these four health issues (tobacco, hypertension, diabetes, and nutrition) using evidence-based guidelines endorsed by authoritative professional bodies. Third, an information technology specialist incorporated the algorithms into a tool using an iterative process to refine the CDSS, with input from dental hygienists, dentists, Senior Advisory Board members and research staff.

Results: An evidence-based CDSS for use by dental hygienists at chairside for tobacco use, hypertension and diabetes screening, and nutrition counseling was developed with the active participation of the individuals involved in the implementation process.

Conclusions: CDSS technology may potentially be leveraged to enhance primary care screening and coordination by dental hygienists at chairside, leading to improved patient care. Using the CFIR as a pragmatic structure for implementing this intervention across multiple settings, the developed CDSS is available for downloading and adaptation to diverse dental settings and other primary care sensitive conditions.

Keywords: Care coordination; Clinical decision support system; Dental hygienist; Health screening; Implementation science; Primary care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Decision Support Systems, Clinical*
  • Dental Hygienists*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • New York
  • Primary Health Care*