Oral Diagnostic Sciences update

by Dr. Duane Schafer

Members of Oral Diagnostic Sciences at your service. Left to right: Aniket Jadhav, D.D.S., M.D.S., M.S.H.A.; Sonali Rathore, D.D.S., M.S.; Sarah Glass, D.D.S. (D.D.S. ’14/D); and Duane Schafer, D.D.S., M.S.

Out with the old, in with the new

This familiar phrase became a part of the mainstream vernacular in 1976, with the introduction of the popular television show, Logan’s Run. In Logan’s Run, it is the year 2274 and anyone under age 30 lives a protected, sheltered life within the confines of a domed city. But the domed city is not that big, so the population must be controlled and those in power tell the citizens that once a person reaches age 30, they will be ritually killed. Hence “out with the old, in with the new”!

Two archaic components of the VCU School of Dentistry oral pathology biopsy service will meet a similar ritualistic death in 2020… and, no, John Svirsky is not one of them!

Streamlining and efficiency coming in 2020

What our providers will see early in the new year is a revised biopsy Tissue Submission Form and that will be followed closely by an updated Pathology Results Form. Both of these changes are driven by various security, privacy, and data access requirements with the aim of enhancing the service we provide to our valued contributors. 

The Tissue Submission Form was redesigned to follow the flow of a patient encounter and provide some lesion descriptor check-boxes that will aid the contributor in capturing a clinical presentation of the patient’s condition, symptoms, and pertinent medical history in as short of time as possible. This form will also be made available as a fillable PDF that the offices can personalize to save time. No need to enter standard information (i.e., doctor name, address, phone and fax numbers) with each biopsy submitted.

A lack of online adaptability was the driving force for switching our pathology reporting software to APEasy®. Offering a more robust data management capability with online tracking and secure biopsy result reporting, we will be migrating to this service near the end of the first quarter 2020 with additional features becoming available later in the year. We are excited about an easier to read Pathology Results Form highlighting the most important diagnosis information without cell character limitation. In addition, the system allows local interface to keep pace with changing pathologic nomenclature, newly described entities, and updating of ICD-10 and CPT codes in real time.

As with any newly implemented change, we anticipate a learning curve, and our team will be standing by to answer your questions and allay any sense of ritualistic doom. We take your trust in our VCU Oral Pathology team very seriously and strive to provide the best services and most accurate diagnoses for your valued patients. We appreciate your continued support in 2020.

Another breakthrough CE course 

Last year, VCU School of Dentistry partnered with the American Cancer Society for an educational event centered around educating oral health care providers about human papillomavirus (HPV) and oropharyngeal cancer. Over 100 providers participated in the free 8-hour CE course where a variety of speakers explored the topic from different perspectives. Prior to the event, only 19% of the participants were willing to speak with their patients about HPV. After the event, 93% were ready to advocate for the HPV vaccine, perform thorough head and neck exams, and felt confident having difficult conversations with their patients.