Previous studies demonstrated the efficacy of chairside medical screening by dentists to identify patients who are at increased risk for developing cardiovascular-associated events and the favorable attitude of dentists toward chairside medical screening. This study assessed patient attitudes toward chairside medical screening in a dental setting.
A self-administered questionnaire of eight five-point response scale questions was given to a convenience sample of adult patients attending an inner-city dental school clinic and two private practice settings. Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney tests and t-tests were used to compare responses between study groups. Friedman nonparametric analysis of variance was used to compare response items within each question.
Regardless of setting, the majority of respondents was willing to have a dentist conduct screening for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus infection, and hepatitis infection (55-90 percent); discuss results immediately (79 percent and 89 percent); provide oral fluids, finger-stick blood, blood pressure measurements, and height and weight (60-94 percent); and pay up to $20 (50-67 percent). Respondents reported that their opinion of the dentist would improve regarding the dentist's professionalism, knowledge, competence, and compassion (48-77 percent). The fact that the test was not done by a physician was ranked as the least important potential barrier. While all respondents expressed a favorable attitude toward chairside screening, the mean score was significantly lower among clinic patients across most questions/items. The priority rankings within an item were similar for both groups.
Acceptance by patients of chairside medical screening in a dental setting is a critical element for successful implementation of this strategy.
© 2011 American Association of Public Health Dentistry.