Nestled on Long Island, a stone’s throw from Stony Brook Bay, is the Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine. It is the largest provider of primary oral health care services in Suffolk County. Since its inception in 1968, the dental school has achieved an enviable reputation for the excellence of its educational programs. It supplies the community with high-quality, well-educated dentists trained in the latest technical, biological, and psychological aspects of dental practice.
Stony Brook Dental School’s mission statement is straightforward, yet profound. “Through our continuous pursuit of excellence in education, patient care, discovery and leadership, we advance oral and general health throughout the local and global community.”
Through its mission and core values – compassion, respect, excellence, engagement, diversity – Stony Brook School of Dental medicine has realized its vision to become an international leader and innovator in dental education, patient care, research and service.
Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine uses axiUm to manage many aspects of its dental school’s operations – business administration, clinical efficiency and student management.
Going paperless with the electronic health record
As the idea of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) was gradually becoming a reality for many health organizations at the start of the new millennium, Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine began to set its sights on going paperless.
Dr. Mary Truhlar, a graduate of Stony Brook and now Dean of the School of Dental Medicine, was a Director at the time. “A little over 15 years ago, Exan approached us with a proposal to trial axiUm in our dental program,” said Dean Truhlar. “Initially, they asked if we wanted to go completely without the paper record or gradually phase in the electronic record. We decided then to jump in and go entirely paperless, relocating the paper charts to a room down the hall. After we turned on the axiUm Electronic Health Record, we referenced the paper records occasionally for about six months. Since then we’ve relied 100% on the EHR and haven’t looked back.”
According to Dean Truhlar, axiUm’s EHR also helped Stony Brook to advance rather quickly in many areas. It allowed the school to connect with its Mobile Dental Clinic and to download important patient data captured in the field. axiUm also enabled the dental school to link to the Stony Brook University’s Emergency Room patient health record system and import this data into axiUm, providing an advanced level of care for their patients.
A 28-year veteran of Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine, Associate Dean Dr. Allan Kucine, knows what it takes to be the “first” at something. As a practicing Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon and Stony Brook faculty member, Dr. Kucine also serves as the liaison between the various teams at Stony Brook’s dental school – faculty, students, IT and administrators. “Back then we were the first dental school to go completely paperless,” remarked Dr. Kucine. “We looked at other solutions, but hands-down we were confident that axiUm was the software for us.”
Today Dr. Kucine vaguely remembers when Stony Brook used paper records. “axiUm really is an essential part of our organization now,” he commented. “We rely on it to manage all levels of our dental school’s important operations – clinical, assessment, finance. As well, axiUm supports our Outcomes Assessment Committee on multiple levels, presenting data to assess if the school is accomplishing its goals in patient care and education.”
The benefits of axiUm
There are certain benefits to using axiUm that inherently stand-out for the staff and students at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine.
“What’s most robust are the fundamental database and reporting features in axiUm,” remarked Dr. Kucine. “The data captured makes reporting possibilities limitless. For example, we can track and report on student accomplishments, quality assurance and research. In fact, we’ve had a number of research projects supported by the data in axiUm.”
Dr. Kucine went on to say, “As a faculty member and an administrator, I use several of axiUm’s features. One of my favorites is the ability to pull-up the schedule from my office and see what’s going on in the Oral and Maxillofacial surgery clinics. I’m able to determine if-and-when I should go over to the clinic to assist or if it’s not necessary.”
Effective dental student assessment
Stony Brook prides itself on the high quality of its dental students, who are selected through a rigorous admissions process. “One of the elements I’m most proud of in our school is our high-caliber student body,” remarked Dean Truhlar. “Stony Brook attracts and produces a diverse group of bright, talented, generous individuals. These students have the privilege to work with an outstanding group of first-rate faculty and staff who possess the same qualities.”
axiUm plays an integral and fundamental part in the assessment of the dental students at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine.
“axiUm has been very useful for us in the formative and summative assessment of our students and residents,” said Dr. Ann Nasti, Associate Dean for Clinical Education at Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine. “Our faculty use the Evaluation module in axiUm to keep track of our students’ progress. We then use the data from the reports to formulate discussions about their progress.”
“Perhaps one of my favorite features is the ability to develop very specific reports,” Dr. Nasti explained. “If we want to measure certain aspects of a student’s progress – whether it’s their professionalism or specific clinical skill sets – axiUm is very good at assisting us in developing a reporting mechanism in which we can extract the data and analyze it. From this we can understand, through accurate metrics, where the student started and where the student ended.”
Fourth year dental student Jenna Chimon praises axiUm for helping her through dental school. “axiUm definitely makes it easier to manage patients and run clinics. It allows me, and my fellow students, to stay on top of what we need to accomplish. It helps us get through dental school as smoothly as possible.”
“One of the features I really like about axiUm is the ability to keep track of your patients,” Ms. Chimon went on to say. “I can open up a patient report which lists when their recall exams are due, alerts if they’re overdue for a cleaning, or indicates the date of their next appointment.”
Joseph Manzella is a first-year dental student at Stony Brook and uses axiUm in the dental school’s Simulation Lab. Working in the sim lab provides first-year students with “hands-on” experience, but without the pressure and anxiety of having to work with a real, live patient.
“By using axiUm in the sim lab, we’ve learned how to chart a “fictitious” patient and enter all the various dental anomalies that might be present,” remarked Mr. Manzella. “I’m looking forward to learning all the different operative procedures and how these work with charting in axiUm.”
Quality patient care
Stony Brook University prides itself in delivering outstanding, patient-centered care to the citizens of Long Island, particularly those in Suffolk County. As a result of its modest fees and participation in dental insurance programs, Stony Brook’s Dental Care Center has become a safety net for the underserved, the pediatric and geriatric populations, patients with systemic conditions that impact upon or are affected by their oral health, and those patients with special needs. These vulnerable groups require primary oral health care services to maintain their oral and systemic health. One of the primary goals of the Dental Care Center is to provide these patients with an outstanding, state-of-the-art, oral health care service, with reasonable fees, in a comfortable, friendly and professional environment.
“We are generally more efficient because axiUm is integrated throughout all of our dental school’s operations,” explained Dr. Kucine. “This efficiency, in turn, allows us to deliver exceptional, patient-centered, oral health services to our community and ultimately improve the quality of our patient care.”
One of Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine’s initiatives is to ensure they continue to align with medicine. With dentistry being an integral part of overall health care, they started the PACE (Partnership to Advance Collaborative Education) program. PACE is an interprofessional wellness center that focuses on meeting the health promotion and disease prevention needs of adults on Long Island. Located in Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine’s Dental Care Center, the PACE team includes a nurse practitioner and dental and social work professionals from Stony Brook University Schools of Dental Medicine, Nursing, and Social Welfare.
“We’ve started to see some amazing results from the PACE program,” declared Dean Truhlar. “Our patients enjoy receiving several points of care at one facility. They take comfort knowing they can come back to the same facility and receive both dental and medical treatments.”
Looking ahead to the future – Digital Dentistry
To prepare its dental students for the future, Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine knows full well that it must stay at the forefront of digital technology. It’s therefore focused on developing educational initiatives to move the dental school forward in a digital arena. Consequently, Stony Brook was chosen as one of five pilot schools by the American College of Prosthodontics to develop a digital dentistry curriculum. In the program, dental students start year one immediately practicing digital dentistry.
“Part of the digital dentistry curriculum involves the development of digital dentistry codes for the axiUm Electronic Health Record,” explained Dr. Anne Nasti. “It’s for this reason that axiUm has become so relevant to Stony Brook, as we seek to become a leader in this area of emerging technologies.”
“Clearly the future of dentistry is digital,” claimed Dr. Allan Kucine. “Stony Brook is fortunate to have axiUm as its central platform in which all the other digital technologies will communicate with. And because axiUm allows us to incorporate these new emerging technologies, it’s really going to help us move forward in this digital arena.”
About Stony Brook
The Stony Brook School of Dental Medicine conducts a world-class educational program for its students and contributes to scientific knowledge through its programs in research and development. By actively participating in community service programs, Stony Brook provides dental care to thousands of community residents each year. The school is fully accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation and the New York State Education Department and is a component of the Health Sciences Center at Stony Brook. To learn more, go to https://dentistry.stonybrookmedicine.edu/.