Standardized Oral Health Patient Questionnaire Under Development

Dentistry Today


The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry is leading an effort to create a universal tool that can be used internationally to measure patients’ perceived oral health quality. The patient questionnaire will generate the data needed by providers and researchers to more precisely measure the impact of treatment choices on patient populations, the university reports.

“There is broad agreement today that the patient perspective is very important and that standardization of patient perceptions is a good thing,” said Mike T. John, PhD, DDS, MPH, associate professor and principle investigator. “We intend to study and synthesize dozens of existing patient survey tools that have been created in the field of oral health and create one that reflects the simplest and best science.” 

Once the tool is developed and tested, the scientists, dentists, and statisticians involved in its development will incorporate their oral health module into a widely accepted measurement system already in use for general health. The Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System (PROMIS) is the most advanced, government-endorsed system of patient-reported outcomes for physical, mental, and social health, the university says.

A $3.1 million grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research will enable John and his colleagues to follow the PROMIS process in developing the oral health component for adult dental patients. The instrument will involve assigning numeric values so outcomes of oral diseases can be collected and measured consistently worldwide. 

Previous studies by John and his colleagues endorsed by the National Institutes of Health have provided a framework for organizing patient-reported oral health outcomes into four areas: oral function, oral-facial pain, oral-facial appearance, and psychosocial impact, the university says. 

“Standardizing patient input is an essential step in helping dentists and dental research teams identify and gauge the effectiveness of treatments on a large scale, across settings, systems, and even countries,” said John. “When completed and in use, this tool will facilitate research, reduce costs, and integrate oral health into overall health measures.”

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