study published in this month’s ADEA Journal
of Dental Education (JDE) reveals dental practitioners’ reliance on
practice-based research networks (PBRNs), and a wide range of educational
resources, for determining practice guidance. The article “Information-Seeking Behaviors of Dental Practitioners in
Three Practice-Based Research Networks,” by Maria T. Botello-Harbaum, Ed.D.,
M.S., et al., is the result of an exciting collaboration between dental
educators and practitioners in a National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial
is changing from primarily a procedure-based health care profession to a
diagnostic risk-based profession; as a result, the methods to seek dental
evidence-based information have diversified over the years,” explains Dr.
Botello-Harbaum, Outreach Manager of the EMMES Corporation. “There is little
information on how evidence-based sources can enhance clinical practice and
contribute to decision-making.”
Faced with this scarcity of data, the article’s authors
conducted an assessment of self-reported information-seeking behaviors of 950
participating dentists in three PBRNs. Ultimately, researchers concluded that
dentists get a wide range of information from a wide range of information
outlets, suggesting the need for a very broad approach in information
dissemination aimed at practitioners.
Gregg Gilbert, D.D.S., M.B.A., article co-author and
Professor and Chair of the Department of Diagnostic Sciences at the University
of Alabama at Birmingham School of Dentistry, describes a specific “knowing”
gap that currently exists between effective treatments that have been
scientifically proven and practitioners’ awareness of those treatments. According to Dr. Gilbert, addressing this
research-practice gap could lead the dental community one step closer to
eliminating other obstacles in both knowledge and implementation.
“The take-home message of this study is that we need to
use a wide range of information outlets when we target dental practitioners,”
says Dr. Gilbert. “I wish it were easy.”
Still, a few additional trends emerged in the study. For instance, on average, dentists prefer to
get information from printed academic journals, though experienced dentists
read other dental information sources more frequently than dentists with fewer
years of experience. Overall, dental PBRNs appear to play a significant role in
the dissemination of evidence-based information.
“Dentistry is still made up of private practitioners, 71%
of whom are isolated from their peers,” adds Dr. Botello-Harbaum. “Where they
get their information makes them discriminating, more likely to accept change,
and more likely to incorporate change based on evidence.”
the full article at www.jdentaled.org .
To learn more about the ADEA Journal of Dental Education, visit www.adea.org.