Learning from Biofilms

Dental professionals can learn lessons from biofilm. Biofilms are both resilient and adaptive. They often show remarkable organization and can communicate, coordinate, and cooperate with each other. In times of change and challenge, this cooperation enhances their individual fitness and increases the efficiency of the biofilm. Dentistry can create similar synergies with the rest of healthcare through the use of interoperable electronic health records (EHRs).

Healthcare Silos

Interoperable electronic health records (EHR), can break down these silos. Many individual practitioners and practices are in transition. In the near future, Minnesota practitioners will no longer have the choice. Minnesota dentists, oral surgeons, and orthodontists are required to adopt a certified, interoperable EHR system, like their medical counterparts, by 2015.2 The greatest potential benefit of interoperable EHR is to breakdown silos to share collective knowledge. Like biofilms, working together requires communication and cooperation.

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