The goal of this Mentored Clinical Scientist Award (K08) is to help Thankam Paul Thyvalikakath, BDS, MDS, MS, build on her previous training and experience to become a fully qualified investigator in dental informatics. Through the multidisciplinary mentorship, training and research experience proposed in this application, Dr. Thyvalikakath expects to become an independently funded researcher capable of leading and working in multidisciplinary teams that conduct cutting-edge research on clinical decision support interventions in dental practice. Despite an existing body of research, clinical decision support in dentistry has yet to produce advances in patient care and outcomes similar to those seen in medical care. This is especially true regarding risk-based approaches to diagnosing and treating dental disease, which have not been widely translated to and adopted in general practice. The multiple factors involved in the development and progression of oral diseases, and the lack of well-developed tools to integrate risk-based diagnosis and treatment into the workflow make it difficult for clinicians to consistently and systematically apply a risk-based approach. The objective of Dr. Thyvalikakath's research project is to integrate a computer-based risk assessment tool, the Periodontal Risk Calculator (PRC) (Previser Corp., Mount Vernon, WA), with a commercial computer-based patient record system (CPR), Dentrix Dental System (Henry Schein, American Fork, UT) and measure its impact on clinicians'decision-making. The three specific aims in this project are: 1) determine clinicians'opinions and recommendations on using risk-based care and risk-based tools in practice;2) determine the barriers and facilitators for routine implementation of risk-based tools such as the PRC in practice;and 3) integrate the risk assessment tool with a CPR and perform a feasibility study assessing the effectiveness of risk- assessment tool for decision-making in a dentist's office. In order for Dr. Thyvalikakath to carry out the proposed research projects, she will further develop her dental informatics knowledge and skills by completing the doctoral program at the Department of Biomedical Informatics at the University of Pittsburgh. She will be mentored by a multidisciplinary team consisting of Titus Schleyer, DMD, PhD, Asim Smailagic, PhD, Greg Cooper, MD, PhD, Karen Novak, DDS, PhD, Charles Sfeir, DDS, PhD and Charity Moore, MSPH, PhD all of whom are well-funded investigators and have proven track records of prior mentorship. The training and mentored research project, combined with the guidance of the multidisciplinary mentoring team and commitment of the School of Dental Medicine, will prepare Dr. Thyvalikakath optimally for a successful career as an independent investigator in dental informatics.

Public Health Relevance

This project will pave the way to developing effective methods to integrate decision support systems in general dental practice and thus enhance preventive management and improve patient outcomes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
Clinical Investigator Award (CIA) (K08)
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NIDCR Special Grants Review Committee (DSR)
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King, Lynn M
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University of Pittsburgh
Schools of Dentistry
United States
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Stein, Corey D; Xiao, Xiang; Levine, Steven et al. (2016) A prototype mobile application for triaging dental emergencies. J Am Dent Assoc 147:782-791.e1
Thyvalikakath, Thankam P; Dziabiak, Michael P; Johnson, Raymond et al. (2014) Advancing cognitive engineering methods to support user interface design for electronic health records. Int J Med Inform 83:292-302
Mago, Anjali; Thyvalikakath, Thankam P (2014) Impact of mood disorders on oral health-care utilization among middle-aged and older adults. Community Dent Oral Epidemiol 42:451-9
Thyvalikakath, Thankam P; Padman, Rema; Gupta, Sugandh (2013) An integrated risk assessment tool for team-based periodontal disease management. Stud Health Technol Inform 192:1150
Acharya, Amit; Hernandez, Pedro; Thyvalikakath, Thankam et al. (2013) Development and initial validation of a content taxonomy for patient records in general dentistry. Int J Med Inform 82:1171-82
Schleyer, Titus Kl; Ruttenberg, Alan; Duncan, William et al. (2013) An ontology-based method for secondary use of electronic dental record data. AMIA Jt Summits Transl Sci Proc 2013:234-8
Schleyer, Titus; Thyvalikakath, Thankam P (2012) Alert fatigue. J Am Dent Assoc 143:332-3; author reply 333-4
Schleyer, Titus K; Thyvalikakath, Thankam P; Spallek, Heiko et al. (2012) From information technology to informatics: the information revolution in dental education. J Dent Educ 76:142-53
Irwin, Jeannie Y; Thyvalikakath, Thankam; Spallek, Heiko et al. (2011) English and Spanish oral cancer information on the internet: a pilot surface quality and content evaluation of oral cancer web sites. J Public Health Dent 71:106-16