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Medical professionals should have convenient access to records detailing a patient's dental health, a computer and information systems expert has suggested.
Professor Valerie Powell of Robert Morris University recently organized a teleconference discussion on the topic of improving communication between dentists and doctors, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports.
She told the news provider she plans to compile a list of recommendations to send to Tom Daschle, who was recently announced as President-elect Barack Obama's choice for health secretary.
Powell explained that although there is a growing body of research supporting the link between dental care and whole-body health, a comparable change in professional behavior has not taken place.
"Dentists and physicians aren't communicating," she said. "I really don't believe we're going to get an optimal improvement in clinical care until we take care of this problem."
Some of the panel's suggestions include enhancing pre-practice education so that both medicine and dentistry have some knowledge of both fields and utilizing computer technology to share records.
Gum disease has been linked to a number of health conditions, including diabetes, stroke, kidney disease and low birth-weight babies.
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