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DT U.S. Edition, November 2010, Vol. 5, No. 22

HYGIENE TRIBUNE The World’s Dental Hygiene Newspaper · U.S. Edition Are you getting ready for mandatory electronic health records in 2014? Making HIPAA safety simple Major portions of our day- to-day lives are online using e-commerce options. More than 33 percent of airline booking is online. Nearly half of us (48 percent) shop online. More than 65 million households pay bills online. How secure are those records? One hundred percent we hope, right? If we can shop online, bank online and book travel online, isn’t it time for health records to be online? Interoperable elec- tronic health records (EHR) are inevitable. EHR will include a patient’s entire medical histo- ries, pharmacy, vision, labora- tory tests and all other clini- cal information. Dentistry is not exempted from this in the near future. However, the transition is inevitable and on track for 2014. This fact strikes fear, concern and anger in many health-care providers, leading them to ask: “Why is this necessary? What about privacy and security? What about the cost?” The real potential of EHR is to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of care to help practi- tioners make better clinical deci- sions. Interoperability will allow the appropriate information to be portable and to move with patients who consume health care from one point of care to another. EHR moves from record and practice management toward cross-provider clinical decision support tools. The ideal is for clinical decision support to pro- vide clinicians and patients with clinical knowledge and patient- related information at the appro- priate time to enhance patient care. Key information will be intel- ligently filtered and presented in a way so that this patient-centric information can be used to man- age wellness and assist with per- sonal healthcare decisions. EHR is not only valuable to health-care professionals. Patients will have the oppor- tunity to be proactive con- sumers in the management of their own health. Who can/should access personal health information? When? Why? How? These questions are vital. The HIPAA Privacy Rules pro- vide federal protections for personal health information and give patients an array of rights with respect to that information. At the same time, the pri- vacy rule is balanced so that it permits the disclosure of personal health information needed for patient care and other important purposes. In nearly a year since the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment g HT page 3B November 2010 vol. 3, No. 10 By Patti DiGangi, RDH (Photo/Nyul, While Halloween may be over, the candy left over from this annu- al night of merriment can remain in the house for weeks or even months. Dental professionals say that when it comes to oral health, there are some important things to keep in mind before indulging too heavily in the sweet stuff. “Long after the scary costumes are put away, the horror of cavi- ties remain,” said Ellen Standley, president of the California Den- tal Hygienists’ Association (CDHA), one of several dental associations that recently offered tips on get- ting through the Halloween season without causing damage to teeth. “Parents can let their children enjoy some candy, but just do it in a responsible way.” More children suffer from dental decay than from asthma. In fact, frightening of all Halloween treats,” Standley said. “This new generation of candy is highly popular, but espe- cially dangerous due to the high acid levels.” “The key thing for parents to remember is that it is how often sugar is consumed, rather than how much sugar, which affects the chance of decay,” said Dr. Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Brit- ish Dental Health Foundation. “It takes the saliva in the mouth up to an hour to neutralize the acid. This means every time sugary foods or drinks are consumed, the teeth are under attack for an hour. If chil- dren are constantly snacking on sweet foods, their teeth never have a chance to recover completely.” Parents should axe the sour candy and take other steps to pro- tect their children’s teeth this Hal- loween. Sour candy comes in dozens of according to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, dental car- ies is the most chronic disease of childhood. It affects 50 percent of children by middle childhood and 70 percent by late adolescence. “Fun as it is, Halloween is really the start of the country’s candy and dessert intensive holiday sea- son,” said Fred Joyal, founder of 1-800-DENTIST. “Between now and New Year’s, Americans will consume millions of sweets. Being smart about how and what they eat will help them avoid starting 2011 with serious dental problems.” Excessive consumption of candy creates the perfect recipe for tooth decay. All candy is not created equal. Sour candy is the worst. This candy has an acid content on par with battery acid and has the power to cause even more damage to your teeth than regular sweets. “Sour candy is one of the most varieties and forms, including hard, soft, chewy, gummy, gels, liquid sprays, crystals, foam sprays, pow- ders, cotton candy and chewing gums. According to the CDHA, most people think this type of candy is safer, but it is not. With repeated exposure and fre- quency, sour candy can also lead to a host of oral-health problems, including increased cavities, tooth sensitivity, staining, soft-tissue sensitivities and dulling of teeth, according to the CDHA. Here are more tips for people who want to enjoy sweet treats while preventing tooth decay: • Avoid hard candy. Hard candy is risky. Bite into a piece the wrong way, and you might wind up with a cracked tooth or broken crown. Suck on a piece of hard candy too long and your teeth will be over- How to let kids enjoy candy without doing permanent damage to teeth By Fred Michmershuizen, Online Editor g HT page 2B