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Dental Informatics

Dental informatics professionals oversee information systems utilized in dental practices and develop technology to improve dental care. Their duties include:
  • Developing theoretical models designed to improve dental research. For example, researchers seeking cures for oral cancers need to be able to quickly access information about cancer growth, current medical procedures, and symptoms. Research models can also be used to test hypotheses and treat disease.
  • Developing and setting up computer applications that make patient information and medical records more accessible for dentists. Dental informatics specialists are currently working to develop a centralized database for all dental records. This will make it easier for dentists to review and compare dental records since nearly all dentists continue to utilize paper charts.
  • Design and install information systems that are easy for dentists, dental hygienists, and administrative assistants to use.
  • Analyze dental information systems to ensure they function properly and are useful resources, improve patient care, and eliminate costs.
Dental informatics is relatively new, but it's already improving patient care, education and training, and dental research. Dental informatics specialists are currently working to develop new dental practitioner training software, electronic dental records databases, digitalized dental charting technology, and dental office management information systems.

Working Conditions
Dental informatics specialists are employed at information technology companies, government agencies, dental schools, and universities and colleges. They typically collaborate with dental care providers, technicians, and researchers.

They're often assigned to research projects requiring precise observations, patience, and extensive technical knowledge. They must stay up to date about technological developments in information and computer science, engineering, and telecommunications. Likewise, they must have a basic understanding of various dental practices and procedures.

Career Training and Education
It typically requires a lot of education to specialize in dental informatics. Some dental informatics specialists begin their careers as dentists before earning graduate degrees in dental informatics.

More universities and colleges now offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in dental informatics. The University of Pittsburgh offers quality graduate degree programs in dental informatics.
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