The American Dental Association (ADA) is sponsor and secretariat of the Accredited Standards Committee (ASC) MD156 for Dental Materials, Instruments and Equipment. In 1992 there was interest in the standardization of clinical information systems. After evaluating current informatics activities, the ADA initiated several projects relating to clinical technology. A task group of the ASC MD156 was created by the Association to initiate the development of technical reports, guidelines, and standards on electronic technologies used in dental practice.
Components of the task group include five working groups for clinical information systems. The working groups were established to promote the concept of a dental computerized clinical work station and allow the integration of different software and hardware components into one system in order to provide for all of a clinician's information needs. Clinical information systems include all areas of computer-based information technologies such as digital radiography, digital intraoral video cameras, digital voice-text-image transfer, periodontal probing devices, CAD/CAMs, etc. By establishing standards for these modules, the need for several stand-alone systems in the dental office will be eliminated.
Each working group encompasses a broad spectrum of projects under a central theme. Within each working group, subcommittees are responsible for the specific projects. Each subcommittee has been researching standards already in existence to determine if they could be applicable to dentistry. Participants are also interfacing with standards groups active in medical informatics.
The ADA also sponsors participation in ANSI activities of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Technical Committee 106 on dentistry and acts as secretariat for ANSI for Working Group 2 of ISO/TC 106. Thus, the ADA works both nationally and internationally in the formation of standards for dentistry.
The American Dental Association has been sponsoring a standards program for dental materials, instruments and equipment since 1928. From 1928 to 1953, all specifications for dental materials, instruments and equipment were developed at the National Bureau of Standards by the federal government in cooperation with the ADA. Between 1953 and 1970, the Dental Materials Group of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) acted as advisor to the ADA in developing specifications. In 1970, American National Standards Committee MD156 (ANSC MD156) was established by the American National Standards Institute, replacing the Dental Materials Group.
In 1983, the ANSC MD156 became an accredited committee by ANSI making the committee the Accredited Standards Committee MD156 (ASC MD156).
To date, 56 specifications for dental materials, instruments and equipment have been adopted by ANSI as American National Standards. In addition, the ADA acts as proprietary sponsor on a project to handle standards for dental radiographic film. This activity is conducted under the Accredited Canvas Method of ANSI.