Aim To test the validity and acceptability of an online oral health assessment and biofeedback tool for young patients (under 17) for use in general dental practice.
Methods A convenience sample of thirteen practitioners were recruited to test the functionality of a novel version of the Denplan PreViser Patient Assessment tool (DEPPA) developed for young patients (YDEPPA). Dentists who had completed eight or more assessments during a one month window were sent a link to an online feedback survey, comprising eight statements about YDEPPA, with scoring options of 0–10, where a score of 10 indicated complete agreement with the relevant questions. Verbatim comments were encouraged. The clinical data submitted were held in a central database in an encrypted format so that only the user practice could identify individual patients.
Results Twelve practitioners completed eight or more assessments and were included in the survey. A total of 175 patient assessments were received. Ten practitioners completed the on-line survey. The statement 'YDEPPA produces a valid measurement of each patient's oral health' received an average feedback score of 8.8. The statement 'The full YDEPPA report is a valuable communication aid' received a score of 9.6. Feedback was generally very positive with all scores >8.2. Constructive critical feedback was received for the caries risk aspect of the YDEPPA protocol, with suggestions made for improving objectivity of data inputs. Eighty-one percent of the verbatim comments received were positive.
Conclusions Once the caries risk issues raised by pilot dentists have been addressed, YDEPPA appears suitable as a pragmatic analytical and biofeedback tool for use in general dental practice to assess the oral health of young patients, and to facilitate education and engagement of young patients and their parents/carers in positive health behaviours.
Introduces, through a favourable pilot study, enhanced functionality to the Denplan PreViser Patient Assessment on line tool (DEPPA). This enhancement provides evidence-based support in communicating oral health status and risk with young patients (under 17) and their parents/carers.
Incorporates numerical oral health status and risk scoring, which is intended to facilitate the audit of individual patient progress. In time it is planned that benchmarked group audit will become available, so that the progress of oral health policies can be monitored.
Opens the possibility of using oral health status and risk scores in order to band young patients for capitation fee guidance.
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