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Member dentist honored for contributions in SNODENT development

Dr. Mark Jurkovich receives Award of Excellence from international group

January 29, 2020

By David Burger

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — The international group SNOMED International honored ADA member dentist Dr. Mark Jurkovich with the Award of Excellence for spearheading the important work the ADA has done on SNODENT, the group announced Jan. 16.

The Systematized Nomenclature of Dentistry, better known as SNODENT, is a subset of SNOMED CT, a vocabulary designed for use with electronic health and dental records and a clinical terminology developed by the ADA. CT is an acronym for clinical terms.

 Photo of Mark Jurkovich
Dr. Jurkovich
Dr. Jurkovich, a previous member of the ADA Council on Dental Benefit Programs, the vice chair of the ADA’s Standards Committee on Dental Informatics and chair of the ADA SNODENT Maintenance Committee, said he was “really flattered” to be honored by an international group considering the achievements of past awardees.

“There is such an information explosion,” Dr. Jurkovich said of why SNODENT is important. “It serves as a basis for building quality measures.”

Ultimately, the development and adoption of SNODENT is to help dentists help their patients, and improve patient care, Dr. Jurkovich said.

“I’m a firm believer that electronic health records are necessary,” he said.

“Mark’s commitment to SNOMED CT’s dentistry clinical reference group and its special interest group predecessor has made it among the most productive and successful of its kind,” the group said in the news release. “Mark’s ability to bring together different parties with varied backgrounds, knowledge and views on the alignment between SNODENT and SNOMED CT has been critical [and] his diplomacy has ensured that all contributions are respected, leading to a consensus view supported by all stakeholders.”

Dr. Jurkovich was nominated by the ADA and Jane Millar of SNODENT International for the honor. In the nomination, the ADA and Ms. Millar wrote, “The time commitment that Mark has given to the work and group has been amazing and it has been rewarded by others being willing to do the same because of the work towards transparent deliverables and continuous improvements to SNOMED CT content. Mark continues to be a great ambassador for SNOMED CT [and the organization] as well as vendors who are implementing electronic dental health records. His contributions to support the profession of dentistry and the development of interoperability standards for the oral health care setting have been extraordinary.”

“Dr. Mark Jurkovich has been a leader in standards development organizations for over 10 years,” said Dr. Gregory Zeller, immediate past chair of the ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics. “Dr. Jurkovich is particularly noted for his leadership in the development of standardized diagnostic terminologies along with the tools required to implement and analyze these terminologies.”

Dr. Zeller added that Dr. Jurkovich has been a “torch bearer … in the long-awaited implementation of standardized, interoperable dental diagnostic concepts in electronic health records."

Dr. Jurkovich, a past president of the Minnesota Dental Association, is a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry and has master’s degrees in both business administration and health informatics. Dr. Jurkovich worked as a dentist in private practice for 38 years and now works in the areas of e-health initiatives, research and terminology development, as well as data analytics with a focus on dentistry. He currently serves as the director of data infrastructure for the Health Care Systems Research Network.

In 2007, the ADA began the process of updating SNODENT for use in the current environment and, eventually, for inclusion as a subset of SNOMED CT. The new version now has over 7,000 concepts.

SNODENT is created by dentists for dentists that enables precise and highly detailed recording of oral health information in an electronic dental record. The recording of clinical data through SNODENT enables the consistent retrieval, transmission and analysis of data from patient records across health care systems. SNODENT provides standardized terms for describing dental disease; captures clinical detail and patient characteristics; permits analysis of patient care services and outcomes; and is designed to be interoperable with electronic health records and electronic dental records.

More information about SNODENT is available at ADA.org/SNODENT.