ADHA Graduate Student/Faculty Research Project: health history. Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: An American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA) study gathered demographic and practice data on dental hygienists in the United States. This paper describes the health history component of the survey. Specifically, this report focuses on who sees new patients first in the dental office, who collects health history information, who updates the health history and when, type of health history used, and how positive responses to health history items are investigated. METHODS: A questionnaire jointly developed by ADHA and a research firm was sent in July 1986 to a stratified random sample of 10,507 ADHA member and nonmember dental hygienists licensed and practicing in the United States. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) to determine frequency distributions, cross-tabulations, and select profiles. Results. A response rate of 49.6% was obtained. Results revealed that new nonemergency patients were scheduled first with the dental hygienist. Health histories were recorded for almost all new patients but updated irregularly. A combination of a self-administered form and verbal interview was used. Recall patients' health histories were mainly updated by an oral interview. Follow-up on positive responses was most often accomplished by asking additional questions, followed by consultation with the dentist and/or physician. Dental hygienists felt least adequately informed to follow up on positive responses to homosexual status, and i.v. and recreational drug use. Conclusions. The dental hygienist plays a significant role in health history data collection both for new and recall patients. Educational programs for entry-level and practicing dental hygienists should emphasize effective interviewing to gather patient health history data.

published proceedings

  • J Dent Hyg

author list (cited authors)

  • Campbell, P. R., Shuman, D., & Bauman, D. B.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Campbell, PR||Shuman, D||Bauman, DB

publication date

  • November 1993