Physicians' attitudes toward medical screening in a dental setting

Barbara L Greenberg, Pauline A Thomas, Michael Glick, Mel L Kantor
Journal of Public Health Dentistry 2015, 75 (3): 225-33

OBJECTIVES: We assessed primary care physicians' attitudes toward medical screening in a dental setting.

METHODS: A 5-point Likert scale (1 = very important/willing, 5 = very unimportant/unwilling) survey was mailed to a nationwide sample of primary care physicians in the United States. Descriptive statistics were used for all questions, and the Friedman nonparametric analysis of variance was used for multipart questions.

RESULTS: Of 1,508 respondents, the majority felt it was valuable for dentists to conduct screening for cardiovascular disease (61 percent), hypertension (77 percent), diabetes mellitus (71 percent), and HIV infection (64 percent). Respondents were willing to discuss results with the dentist (76 percent), accept patient referrals (89 percent), and felt it was unimportant that the medical referral came from a dentist rather than a physician (52 percent). The most important consideration was patient willingness (mean rank 2.55), and the least important was duplication of roles (mean rank 3.52). Level of dentist's training was significantly (P < 0.05) more important than duplication of roles and reimbursement (mean ranks 2.84, 3.52, and 3.14, respectively), and significantly less important than patient willingness (mean rank 2.55).

CONCLUSIONS: Primary care physicians considered chairside medical screening in a dental setting to be valuable and worthwhile.

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