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

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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