Founded in 1902, the Canadian Dental Association is the professional association representing Canada’s dentists. Since its inception, the Association has played a key role in the oral health of Canadians. Working closely with Canada’s provincial and territorial dental associations and many other stakeholders, CDA advocates for optimal oral health for Canadians.
In addition to being a knowledge broker and advocate for the profession, CDA administers a number of programs and services designed to add value to the dentists’ clinical and business activities.
For over 20 years, CDA has been actively involved in the electronic dental claims ecosystem, with a focus on ensuring the needs of dentists are adequately represented among the many stakeholders that are active in this arena. CDA has played a significant role in protecting the security of patient, and dentist, information when documents are transmitted electronically.
In recent years, there has been an increasing need for dentists to transmit other documents with patient information electronically. This is being driven by factors such as the expectation for virtually instant communication and the fact that radiographs are now often captured digitally, so to send them electronically is an obvious workflow advantage.
The nature of electronic records raises additional issues for both dentists and patients, particularly with respect to accuracy, authenticity and access. Dentists have been rightly concerned about the security and privacy risks, such as the potential for exposing the personal health information of patients to hackers and others with malicious intent. However, while CDA and dental regulators routinely remind dentists of their obligation to maintain the confidentiality of patient information, some dentists have been lured by the convenience of unsecure email, and even Facebook, to send patient information.
Members looked to CDA to provide a solution. The result is the eReferral Pilot.
CDA has committed to developing and championing a new electronic health service known as the eReferral Pilot. The eReferral Pilot is an online dentist-to-dentist referral solution that enables dentists across Canada to electronically share patient information, discuss cases, and select treatment plans in a secure and compliant fashion. The service is built anticipating an increasing demand from dentists for workflow tools that enable online conversation and collaboration in an intuitive and informative format. In addition to providing a secure and compliant solution to electronically transmit patient information, the eReferral Pilot creates office efficiency through savings in time and resources required by the referral function.
The benefits of Canada Health Infoway’s strategic investment in the eReferral Pilot are apparent. Patients benefits from secure, efficient referrals. Dentists are meeting their professional obligations regarding patient privacy and seeing office efficiencies. Dentists receiving referrals recognize the benefits of referrals being standardized in structure and content, and the CDA has benefitted through reinforcing its role in facilitating dentists in their practices.