Software for dental hygiene schools helps build communities

November 12th, 2013

Academic institutions may want to invest in dental hygiene school software programs to create more meaningful ways to engage students in the educational process. Universities have always employed unique strategies for offering real-world experience to people interested in fostering long-term careers in oral health care. In addition to classroom time, today's dental hygiene students have access to volunteer opportunities, independent research projects and other initiatives that are just as valuable as course exams in preparing for both existing and future challenges within the industry.

According to EIN News​ Desk, an online publication covering global issues, the University of California, Los Angeles's School of Dentistry recently completed one such extracurricular program that deals directly with fostering more engagement between students, faculty, staff and the greater Los Angeles community. Members of the dentistry program set up a free, temporary clinic at Wilshire Bank in Koreatown aimed at providing screenings for underserved community residents. The initiative was funded in part through a $100,000 pledge from the bank, which operates in 28 states but is headquartered in Los Angeles.

Aside from free health screenings, faculty and students from the dentistry program also used the event as an opportunity to develop long-term relationships with new customers. In fact, nearly half of the 250 patients who attended the event received access to a free follow-up event a week later at one of the school's several clinic locations around Los Angeles.

"These screenings and corresponding treatment create an opportunity for those severely lacking in access to receive definitive dental care and oral health education at the UCLA School of Dentistry's clinics," No-Hee Park, dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry, told EIN News​ Desk.

Improving communication with the public
Software for dental hygiene schools can help administrators improve the quality of community outreach programs like the one completed recently at UCLA. For example, advanced technology that integrates both academic management and clinical procedures makes it easier to not only provide students with appropriate course credit, but to incorporate contact information from new patients into existing databases as well. Such a seamless integration of tasks can lead to greater operational efficiency in the long run. It can also ensure community outreach programs serve their purpose in both offering valuable real-world experience to students and genuinely helping patients in need.

Software tools can also make it easier for academic institutions to communicate the importance of dental hygiene to the public. The Association of American Medical College website said technology plays a major role in community outreach. 

"It's not just about science writing and the ability to speak with the media," Glenn Hampson, founder and executive director of the National Science Communication Institute, told AAMC. "It's everything from informatics to collaboration to using big data tools. Communication is about being able to share information and knowledge. Right now, we're at a junction where science realizes there's value in this, but it doesn't quite know how to include it."

Dental hygiene school software provides both students and educators with the right balance of data and efficiency to make it easier to communicate the most recent developments in the oral health care field.

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