• Author / Creator
    Friesen, Reid
  • Objectives: To assess, characterize and analyze, referral patterns to an Oral Medicine Clinic at the University of Alberta. Emphasis was placed on assessing the types of referrals made by dental and medical practitioners, as well as access to care issues that patients face when receiving Oral Medicine specialty care. Materials and Methods: A retrospective chart review of all Oral Medicine/Oral Pathology specialists at the University of Alberta for the year 2015 was performed. Method analysis: Proportions for data points were collected using a 95% Wilson Score Confidence Interval. Two-sided Fisher’s Exact tests were performed to assess for statistical differences between data when relevant. Results: 924 patients were included in the analysis. Dental practitioners referred cases most frequently (81.4%) with general dentists representing the largest total proportion (74.5%). White/red lesions were the most common reason for referrals (38.0%), with the tongue (21.8%) and gingiva (17.6%) representing the most common locations of issues. There was no significant difference between the accuracy of provisional diagnoses between physicians and dentists, although dentists referred cases urgently more frequently (16.9% of dentist vs 7.0% of physician cases). The experience of dentists did not have any effect on accuracy of provisional diagnoses, however it did affect the type of conditions referred. Immune mediated conditions were the most common final diagnosis, which were 28.7% of cases. The average wait time for patients was 105.5 days. The average distance travelled by patients was 55.44 km. 18.7% of urgent referrals were seen within 2 weeks. Conclusions: Patients often travel long distances and experience extended wait times after referral. There are small differences between the referral patterns of dental and medical practitioners, but increased training and continuing professional development would benefit both groups. This data can be used to develop future curricula for dental students and can aid in developing CE courses for graduated dentists. In summary, this research highlights the need for improvement of access to Oral Medicine care by patients in Edmonton, Alberta.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2018
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
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