Beginning Feb. 1, 2023, new patients in Indiana University School of Dentistry (IUSD) comprehensive care clinics can manage their information and appointments using the school’s new online patient portal.
The IUSD Patient Portal (patientaccess.dentistry.iu.edu/PatientAccess/) allows patients to fill out required forms and provide medical history before their appointments, view their dental treatment plans, confirm future appointments, as well as update their profile, including address and insurance.
The patient portal interfaces with the dental school’s clinical management software. After patients make initial telephone contact with intake personnel, they receive an email that enables them to access their patient account via the online portal.
Once logged in, patients can review and fill out numerous forms within the portal. Intake staff and student dentists confirm this information with the patient in person; however, having the information in the patient’s file shortens the intake process and reduces wait times for patients. This advanced access also allows student dentists to tailor their patient interviews to be more dynamic and in depth.
“We’re constantly looking for ways that we can improve the clinical experience for our patients, and part of that is the ability to increase clinical efficiencies,” said Dr. Harvey Weingarten, IUSD associate dean of clinical operations. “This new portal should help ease the bottlenecks experienced during peak patient visits to our clinic, resulting in a better experience not just for patients, but for our students and staff as well.”
The development of the patient portal began during the pandemic with a multidisciplinary team led by Dr. Thankam Thyvalikakath, director of the IUSD and Regenstrief Institute Dental Informatics programs. The team collaborated to push the boundaries of teledentistry, with visions of live, remote interactions between doctor and patients, as so many interactions transitioned during the pandemic.
“Before we could reach that goal, we had to find a way to improve the way we handle all the rather unglamourous administrative regulation and paperwork that comes with running a health care facility of the scale of the clinics at Indiana University School of Dentistry,” said Dr. Weingarten.
IUSD launched the new patient portal internally on a trial basis in mid-2022, expanding the technology to orthodontic patients to refine the interface and test usability.
“As patients use the portal, we’re happy to take suggestions for improvement,” added Kathy Pedigo, Assistant Director of Patient Care Services. “This is version 1.0. Version 2 will be to give access to our returning patients and allow patients to request an appointment. We’re going to keep working to improve this portal and to provide better patient access at IU School of Dentistry.”