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Linking medical and dental health record data: a partnership with the Rochester Epidemiology Project
  1. Jennifer L St. Sauver1,2,
  2. Alan B Carr3,
  3. Barbara P Yawn1,4,
  4. Brandon R Grossardt5,
  5. Cynthia M Bock-Goodner6,
  6. Lori L Klein1,
  7. Joshua J Pankratz6,
  8. Lila J Finney Rutten1,2,
  9. Walter A Rocca1,7
  1. 1Division of Epidemiology, Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  2. 2Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  3. 3Department of Dental Specialties, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  4. 4Department of Research, Olmsted Medical Center, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  5. 5Division of Biomedical Statistics and Informatics, Department of Health Sciences Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  6. 6Department of Information Technology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  7. 7Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jennifer L St. Sauver; stsauver.jennifer{at}


Purpose The purpose of this project was to expand the Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP) medical records linkage infrastructure to include data from oral healthcare providers. The goal of this linkage is to facilitate research studies examining the role of oral health in overall health and quality of life.

Participants Eight dental practices joined the REP between 2011 and 2015. The REP study team has linked oral healthcare information with medical record information from local healthcare providers for 31 750 participants who have resided in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Overall, 17 718 (56%) participants are women, 14 318 (45%) are 40 years of age or older and 26 090 (82%) are white.

Findings to date A first study using this new information was recently completed. This resource was used to determine whether the 2007 guidelines from the American Heart Association affected prescription rates of antibiotics to patients with moderate-risk cardiac conditions prior to dental procedures. The REP infrastructure was used to identify a series of patients diagnosed with moderate-risk cardiac conditions by the local healthcare providers (n=1351), and to abstract antibiotic prescriptions from dental records both pre-2007 and post-2007. Antibiotic prescriptions prior to dental procedures declined from 62% to 7% following the change in guidelines.

Future plans Dental data from participating practitioners will be updated on an annual basis, and new dental data will be linked to patient medical records. In addition, we will continue to invite new dental practices to participate in the REP. Finally, we will continue to use this research infrastructure to investigate associations between oral and medical health, and will present findings at conferences and in the scientific literature.

  • electronic health records
  • oral health
  • dental records
  • population health
  • oral systemic health
  • medical-dental record linkage

This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:

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  • Contributors JLSS, ABC, BPY, LJFR and WAR were involved in the conception and design of the study. ABC, CMB-G, LLK and JJP engaged dental practitioners and collected the data. JLSS, BRG, CMB-G and WAR participated in data analysis. All authors contributed to interpretation of the data and critical revision of the manuscript. All authors also approved the final version to be published.

  • Funding This study was made possible using the resources of the Rochester Epidemiology Project, which is supported by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health under award number R01AG034676. This study was also supported by the Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Mayo Clinic Center for the Science of Healthcare Delivery Population Health Research Program.

  • Disclaimer The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or the Center for the Science of Healthcare Delivery.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval This study was approved by the Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center Institutional Review Boards. Informed consent was waived; however, we did not include data for any patients who had not given permission for their medical or oral health records to be used for research (Minnesota Research Authorization).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Researchers can request access to the data by submitting a request to The Rochester Epidemiology Project website provides further information for interested investigators:

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