U of M Awarded $3.1 Million to Develop Standardized Patient-Reporting Tool for Oral Health

The University of Minnesota School of Dentistry is leading an effort to create a universal tool that can be used internationally to measure patients’ perceived oral health quality. The tool, which will eventually take the form of a patient questionnaire, will one day generate the data needed by providers and researchers to more precisely measure the impact of treatment choices on patient populations.

“There is broad agreement today that the patient perspective is very important and that standardization of patient perceptions is a good thing,” said Mike T. John, PhD, DDS, MPH, associate professor and principle investigator on the project. “We intend to study and synthesize dozens of existing patient survey tools that have been created in the field of oral health and create one that reflects the simplest and best science.” 

Once developed and tested, John’s team of scientists, dentists and statisticians will incorporate their oral health module into a widely accepted measurement system already in use for general health. The Patient-Reported Outcome Measurement Information System is the most advanced, government-endorsed system of patient-reported outcomes for physical, mental and social health.

The $3.1 million grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research will enable John’s team to follow the PROMIS process in developing the oral health component for adult dental patients.  The instrument will involve assigning numeric values so that outcomes of oral diseases can be collected and measured consistently worldwide.

Previous studies by John and his colleagues, and endorsed by NIH, have provided a framework for organizing patient-reported oral health outcomes into four areas: oral function, oral-facial pain, oral-facial appearance and psychosocial impact.

“Standardizing patient input is an essential step in helping dentists and dental research teams identify and gauge the effectiveness of treatments on a large scale, across settings, systems and even countries,” said John. “When completed and in use, this tool will facilitate research, reduce costs and integrate oral health into overall health measures.”

(NIH Grant Award Number R01DE028059)

Research Team Members

Mike T. John, PhD, DDS, MPH, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry; Priscilla Flynn, DrPH, MPH, University of Minnesota School of Dentistry; Mark Davison, PhD, University of Minnesota College of Human Development; James Hodges, PhD, University of Minnesota School of Public Health; San Keller, PhD, American Institutes for Research, North Carolina

Mike T. John, PhD, DDS, MPH
Mike T. John, PhD, DDS, MPH