Oral Health Group

Patients’ attitudes toward screening for medical conditions in a dental setting

October 19, 2011
by ken

We recently installed the Heart Friendly Dentist USB device by bioAnalytics Inc. to screen patients for BP and pulse rates and shortly, to non-invasively screen them for diabetes.  Picked up this article off the blogosphere – Greenberg,
B. L., Kantor, M. L., Jiang, S. S. and Glick, M. (2011), Patients
attitudes toward screening for medical conditions in a dental setting.
Journal of Public Health Dentistry.
doi: 10.1111/j.1752-7325.2011.00280.x


Previous studies demonstrated the efficacy of chairside medical
by dentists to identify patients who are at increased risk for
developing cardiovascular-associated events and the favorable attitude
of dentists toward chairside medical screening. This study assessed
patient attitudes toward chairside medical screening in a dental
Methods: A self-administered questionnaire of
eight five-point response scale questions was given to a convenience
of adult patients attending an inner-city dental school clinic
and two private practice settings. Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney tests and t-tests
were used to compare responses between study groups. Friedman
nonparametric analysis of variance was used to compare response items
within each question.
Results: Regardless of setting,
the majority of respondents was willing to have a dentist conduct
screening for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes,human
immunodeficiency virus infection
,and hepatitis infection (55-90
percent); discuss results immediately (79 percent and 89 percent);
provide oral fluids, finger-stick blood, blood pressure measurements,
and height and weight (60-94 percent); and pay up to $20 (50-67
percent). Respondents reported that their opinion of the dentist would
improve regarding the dentist’s professionalism, knowledge, competence,
and compassion (48-77 percent). The fact that the test was not done by a
physician was ranked as the least important potential barrier. While
all respondents expressed a favorable attitude toward chairside
screening, the mean score was significantly lower among clinic patients
across most questions/items. The priority rankings within an item were
similar for both groups.
Conclusions: Acceptance by
patients of chairside medical screening in a dental setting is a
critical element for successful implementation of this strategy.
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