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Can Americans Trust the ADA?

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Trusting the American Dental Association?

[By D. Kellus Pruitt DDS]

In January 2011 – the same month a new Minnesota law demanded dentists purchase e-prescription software whether they want it or not – the ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics published White Paper No. 1070: “Implementation of the Electronic Prescription Standard for Dentistry.”

Minnesota lawmakers who logically turned to the respected ADA for what they expected to be reliable and unbiased professional advice, were assured by the Committee that e-prescribing  will not only “insure the elimination of illegible prescriptions” but it will also “reduce preventable errors such as drug to drug interactions, drug-allergy reactions, dosing errors, therapeutic duplication, and other error types.”


Really, ADA? On what evidence did the ADA Department of Dental Informatics base their self-serving claims?

This week, MedicalNewsToday.com reporter Christian Nordqvist posted “11.7% Medication Error Rate In E-Prescribing,” which directly contradicts the ADA’s advice to trusting Minnesota lawmakers and ADA members. Nordqvist writes: “The chances of mistakes occurring in prescriptions sent electronically are no lower than in those written out by hand, a researcher from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston wrote in the Journal of American Medical Information Association. This will be a disappointment for health reform experts and policymakers [and ADA officials] who assured that E-prescribing would have fewer medication errors, as well as saving the government billions of dollars.”


If one considers the JAMIA a credible Journal, research clearly suggests that e-prescribing is a bust for physicians who write many more prescriptions than dentists. Yet ADA officials continue to encourage dentists to adopt paperless practices without mentioning that e-prescriptions not only produce just as many errors as paper, but that they are hundreds of times more expensive because of the cost of computers, software and HIPAA requirements.

In addition, if a dentist’s computer is stolen or hacked – even if he or she properly reports a breach of e-prescription records – the tragedy can easily bankrupt a practice between the HIPAA fines, state attorneys general lawsuits, patient notifications and local media coverage of the breach (as required by HIPAA/HITECH). The Ponemon Institute estimates the cost to be over $200 per dental patient. And the price is only increasing. I just read that HHS is to conduct 150 HIPAA audits in 2012. Ka-ching!!!


That announcement from HHS should also conveniently boost sales of “The ADA Practical Guide to HIPAA Compliance” (on sale now at ADA.org for $220 while supplies last).

Sounding the Alarm

I personally started warning ADA leaders about this over 5 years ago. Yet as far as I can tell, they continue to blissfully ignore the IT disaster in dentistry. They don’t have to listen to nobody. And it shows.

As illogical as it sounds for an organization whose only purpose is to serve the interests of dues-paying members, the ADA hasn’t a single “vetted” EDR expert who will allow him or herself to be accessed on the internet. One such rumored expert is long-time ADA Trustee Dr. Robert Faiella. Since the Osterville, Massachusetts periodontist is so secretive with the ADA members he serves, like Soviet leaders of the 1970s, it’s hard to tell for sure if he is still in power or even alive.

Suspiciously, in these days of rapidly-expanding openness through social networks, the ADA cannot even contribute experts’ answers to Sharecare.com as promised – much less open a Facebook with over 12,000 waiting fans. So instead of ADA members’ questions about e-prescribing being answered by ADA experts on a convenient venue like a Facebook, ADA members must turn to irrelevant, Committee-approved publications… just like the Soviet Union of the 1970s.

I have personally found it is easier to obtain responses from my US Senator John Cornyn than from shy ADA officials. But then, I’ve discovered that Senator Cornyn is a remarkably caring individual. Not an evasive not-for-profit apparatchik with nice teeth.


How long before dentistry’s handful of entrenched ADA leaders apologize for the harm they’ve caused and stop deceiving Americans about electronic dental records? It’s the least Dr. Robert Faiella could do before resigning his ADA position.

As long as obsolete ADA officials wink at a bankrupt policy of deception, can the reclusive not-for-profit organization ever regain America’s trust?


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Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com


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