New Dental Patient X-rays: Need and Necessity
June 24, 2014
The Quality Assessment Study will be monitoring the process of obtaining a new dental patient’s previous x-ray history before their initial appointment. The study was performed in an established general dentistry practice, involving the dental hygienist, the dentist, and the office administration staff.
Prior to the study the dental practice rarely asked a new patient if they had had previous dental x-rays. When the patient arrived for their initial appointment with the dental hygienist she would ask the patient about previous x-rays while gathering other health and dental information. If the ...view middle of the document...
Taking unneeded x-rays creates an unnecessary expense to the patient, the practice, and insurance companies as well as subjecting the patient to possible unneeded radiation.
The process that was created to try and obtain the patient’s prior dental x-rays before their initial appointment was to add a short form to the new patient questionnaire that is used when a new patient calls to make their appointment. The previous form that was used obtained the patient’s personal, basic health, and dental insurance information. The chart below (figure 1.1) shows the number of days and patients tracked, the name and phone number of the previous dentist, and the date and type of x-rays that the patient may have had previously.
Chart Key: FMX = Full set of x-rays (18 film)
4 BWX = 4 bitewings (yearly/adult or adolescent x-rays)
2 BWX = 2 bitewings (yearly/child x-rays)
Figure 1.1 Panorex = taken as need for trauma, orthodontics, or oral surgery
Original date of contact with new patient Date patient is scheduled for appointment Name & phone number of previous dentist
obtained Date and type of previous x-rays taken Date x-rays received from previous dentist
(J.C.) 5-8-14 5-19-14 5-8-14 FMX 1-14-14 5-14-14
(A.N.) 5-7-14 5-20-14 Not obtained N/A N/A
(J.N.) 5-7-14 5-20-14 Not obtained N/A N/A
(P.W.) 5-15-14 5-22-14 5-15-14 2 BWX taken 6-24-13 5-20-14
(L.A.) 5-26-14 6-4-14 5-26-14 4 BWX taken
5-7-13 Had not been received yet
(J.A.) 5-26-14 6-4-14 5-26-14 4 BWX taken
5-7-13 Had not been
(M.J.) 5-27-14 6-10-14 5-27-14 FMX taken
Through review of the process of retrieving a patient’s prior dental x-rays with their previous dentist there are a couple areas that could use improvement. First, there is no documentation of when the previous dentist was contacted. On the chart that has been provided there is a space of original date of contact, date patient is scheduled for appointment, name and phone number of previous dentist obtained, date and type of x-rays taken, and the date the x-rays where received from the previous dentist. A place needs to be added for when the previous dentist was contacted and if contact was made. If no contact was made, there should be a follow up within 24-48 hours of the original attempt to contact until successful contact has been made and records are obtained. Secondly, there should be a place on the chart for not only the date but also the date in which the name and phone number of the previous dentist was obtained but also documentation of the name and phone number. This documentation will be available if there is ever a question later on about any oral care so the staff does not have to go through a process of looking it up again. This allows any staff member to go straight to the chart and find the information. Once the chart is complete it will be placed in the patients file near the front for quick...