Optimizing Patient Care with EpicCare Link

Having a patient’s complete medical history is always an important detail determining the optimal dental treatment. Yet, many patients can’t provide accurate medical information, and others may downplay or lie about their health problems.

“Relying only on what patients remember to tell us can hinder our ability to provide optimal care,” says Roseanna P. Noordhoek, DDS, an oral surgeon at the Center For Oral Surgery & Dental Implants.

Caring for More Complex Patients

This is especially problematic because more dental patients now have complex medical histories. In the U.S., 60% of adults have at least one chronic disease, and 40% have two or more chronic diseases.¹

Most older adults—90%—take at least one prescription drug. Nearly 80% take at least 2 prescription drugs, and 36% take at least 5 prescription drugs.² Even younger patients are taking more prescription drugs and have more health problems than in the past.

Closing the Gap Between Medicine and Dentistry  

That’s why, in cases where the oral surgeon suspects that a patient can’t or won’t provide accurate and complete information, the Center For Oral Surgery & Dental Implants uses EpicCare Link to review a patient’s medical history and prescription drug use.

EpicCare Link is available through Epic, one of the largest providers of health information technology. Large U.S. hospitals and health systems, as well as other organizations, use Epic to access, organize, store and share electronic medical records. Currently, Epic has records on more than 250 million patients in the U.S.

A secure online portal, EpicCare Link provides convenient access to patient information to registered providers at any time on the safety of your own computer network. It includes each patient’s clinical history, test results, reports and images. Also, it lists the patient’s primary care physician and other physicians who have cared for the patient.

“As essential healthcare providers, dentists and oral surgeons can close the gap between medicine and dentistry,” says Dr. Noordhoek. “We can use EpicCare Link to integrate dentistry and medicine more closely to provide better patient outcomes.” The Center For Oral Surgery & Dental Implants has been using EpicCare Link since 2018, the year that Epic began offering technology to unify dental and medical patient records.

How to Sign Up for EpicCare Link

Read-only access to EpicCare Link is provided through health systems, at no cost to providers who are registered users. In Western Michigan, EpicCare Link is available through Spectrum Health and University of Michigan Metro Health. EpicCare Link uses industry-standard encryption technology to ensure that only registered providers can access the system.

“If you feel like you don’t understand a patient’s complete medical history, you can easily get that information with a quick login to EpicCare Link from your office,” says Dr. Noordhoek.

To sign up for EpicCare Link contact:

Spectrum Health

[email protected]

Metro Health | University of Michigan Health

Greg Henry: [email protected].

For more information about the use of EpicCare Link at the Center For Oral Surgery & Dental Implants, call 616-361-7327.

¹ CDC. Chronic Diseases in America. Accessed 9/23/20. 

² Aging and Drugs. Merck Manual. Revised 2018. Accessed 9/23/20.