Technology Briefs
Computerized Patient Assignment System Matches Patients’ and Students’ Needs

To help ensure the highest-quality patient care, NYUCD has introduced a computerized system that matches new patients to students based on the patients’ dental needs and the students’ clinical requirements.

Under the new system, introduced in September 2007, admissions staff enter a patient’s dental needs into a computer database based on the determination made by a student in collaboration with an oral medicine faculty member during the initial screening. If, for example, a patient requires a crown, the specific code is entered, and the database displays the names of students who are prepared to treat patients with that condition and who have available space in their practice to deliver prompt care.

If the name of the student who conducted the patient’s initial evaluation is on the list, the system automatically selects that student to treat the patient. Alternatively, the system assigns the patient to a student who the group practice director has determined has the best availability and skills to treat that patient. This process ensures that all patients receive the best care.

“In the past, it was more difficult for group practice directors and clinic managers to assess which students needed a patient assignment the most,” said Dr. Mark Wolff, Associate Dean for Predoctoral Clinical Education and Professor and Chair of the Department of Cariology & Comprehensive Care. “Computerizing the patient assignment process helps ensure that patients receive the best care and that all students are on track to meet their educational needs.”

Dr. Wolff developed the system in collaboration with Dr. Joan Phelan, Professor and Chair of the Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology and Medicine; Assistant Dean for Clinical Systems & Patient Care Jack Wiggin; and Dr. Elise S. Eisenberg, Director of Informatics & Digital Support Services. The system was programmed by the Informatics Web Development Team of Alex Ruano, Mike Rentas, and Matt Williams.