Linking medical and dental health record data: A partnership with the Rochester Epidemiology Project

Jennifer L. St Sauver, Alan B. Carr, Barbara P. Yawn, Brandon R. Grossardt, Cynthia M. Bock-Goodner, Lori L. Klein, Joshua J. Pankratz, Lila J. Finney Rutten, Walter A. Rocca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose The purpose of this project was to expand the Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP) medical records linkage infrastructure to include data from oral healthcare providers. The goal of this linkage is to facilitate research studies examining the role of oral health in overall health and quality of life. Participants Eight dental practices joined the REP between 2011 and 2015. The REP study team has linked oral healthcare information with medical record information from local healthcare providers for 31 750 participants who have resided in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Overall, 17 718 (56%) participants are women, 14 318 (45%) are 40 years of age or older and 26 090 (82%) are white. Findings to date A first study using this new information was recently completed. This resource was used to determine whether the 2007 guidelines from the American Heart Association affected prescription rates of antibiotics to patients with moderate-risk cardiac conditions prior to dental procedures. The REP infrastructure was used to identify a series of patients diagnosed with moderate-risk cardiac conditions by the local healthcare providers (n=1351), and to abstract antibiotic prescriptions from dental records both pre-2007 and post-2007. Antibiotic prescriptions prior to dental procedures declined from 62% to 7% following the change in guidelines. Future plans Dental data from participating practitioners will be updated on an annual basis, and new dental data will be linked to patient medical records. In addition, we will continue to invite new dental practices to participate in the REP. Finally, we will continue to use this research infrastructure to investigate associations between oral and medical health, and will present findings at conferences and in the scientific literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere012528
JournalBMJ open
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • Electronic health records
  • dental records
  • medical-dental record linkage
  • oral health
  • oral systemic health
  • population health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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