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Dugoni School of Dentistry Goes Paperless with New Clinic Information System

New computer terminals in each operatory allow dental students to pull up an entire patient chart, including digital radiographs.

July  13, 2009

After more than a year of intense planning and development, University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry has launched a new clinic information system called AxiUm. The new system integrates multiple functions and processes across a wide range of departments within the dental clinics, as well as the dental school as a whole.

The new system is part of a school initiative called the Future of the Clinic Information System (FOCIS) and was implemented by a dedicated team of faculty, staff and students. AxiUm is expected to improve and transform many aspects of how the dental school functions.

In addition to the clinic information system, the project delivered a computer terminal, keyboard, and mouse to every operatory in the school's dental clinics in San Francisco. Union City and Stockton clinics will come on board in September 2009. Students are now able to pull up the entire patient chart at chairside and enter all treatment information while the patient is present. The ability to easily pull up digital charts and radiographs will result in better supervision of care and more consistent processes across the school's various clinics.

On the back end, all information has been integrated into one secure system which is hosted in University of the Pacific's data center in Stockton.

The initiative will improve the school's processes in the areas of finance, patient services, charting, dispensary, inventory and lab services will also be improved. For example, the new system will facilitate the centralization of billing, insurance processing, collections and cashiering. For the school's burgeoning research initiatives, AxiUm will improve collaboration among faculty, students and other dental schools. Students and faculty will be able to search a large patient health history database and a large pharmaceutical formulary to identify trends.

Prior to the collaboration, there were 14 different clinics with 14 different sets of business rules, noted Dr. Richard Fredekind, associate dean for clinical services at the Dugoni School of Dentistry. "Centralization will lead us to more consistent work processes and more consistent performance across clinics. Consistency creates easier understanding for students and patients."

While the patient experience will change as a result, the new system will also transform the educational experience for the dental students themselves.

"The biggest benefit I see is that students will be given feedback quicker than they are currently receiving it. This will enable students to identify problematic areas and make course corrections early on," explained James Michaud, a student in the DDS Class of 2010. Michaud added, "I think being paperless will be very beneficial to our school — it's the way everything is heading. It's also cheaper to manage electronic information (as opposed to paper charts and forms), places less burden on natural resources and will be an attractive attribute to future dental students."

Funding for the FOCIS project was provided by the Dean's Fund for Excellence. This annual fund gives the dental school added flexibility to fund school programs without using student tuition.

"This is an exciting step for our school's dental clinics and will benefit our entire community of patients, students and faculty," said Patrick J. Ferrillo, Jr., dean of the Dugoni School of Dentistry. "Medical and dental clinics across the country are exploring ways to implement electronic health records, so we're glad to be staying on the forefront of this important issue. The new system will also give our students up-to-date experience working within a paperless office and using new forms of medical records technology."

Category Type: General, University

Contact:  Office of Public Relations, 415.929.6434, pr@pacific.edu