Essential Characteristics of Digital Oral Health Risk Assessment Resources

ANSI/ADA Technical Report No. 1087

What is ANSI/ADA Technical Report No. 1087 about?

This technical report describes the essential characteristics of digital tools that collect clinician- or patient-entered information for the purposes of creating individual or population estimates of risk for specific oral diseases such as dental caries, periodontal disease and oral cancer.

What are the issues covered in this technical report?

The report discusses clinical risk assessment resources, which estimate an individual patient’s likelihood of developing or experiencing progression of a disease, including the input and output elements, usability, and security and privacy features.

What are the three major points a dentist needs to know?

  1. Input elements — The oral health risk assessment employs information about the patient, including social determinants of health, personal characteristics and behaviors, environmental factors, personal medical history, dental history and clinical observations.
  2. Risk — The risk assessment tool utilizes computational tools to calculate the likelihood that an individual patient will experience the occurrence or progression of a specific oral disease or condition over time based on measurable factors associated with disease occurrence, progression or avoidance.
  3. Prevention and treatment improvements — When based on best-available scientific evidence, these tools can assist clinicians in educating and motivating patients; as well as selecting appropriate interventions to prevent or treat oral disease. Risk assessment may be used to suggest actions that the patient and health care provider can take to modify the outcome predicted by risk.

What should dentists ask vendors about oral risk assessment tools?

  1. Repeatability — Does the risk assessment software provide repeatable and reproducible output results?
  2. Outputs — Does the risk assessment tool provide a variety of outputs: descriptively, pictorially and/or by numerical scores?
  3. Privacy and Security — Is the risk assessment tool HIPAA compliant?
  4. Understandability — Does the output of the risk assessment provide data about health status and risk that are easily understood by both dental professionals and patients and a numeric score or pictorial representation?