A submitted vingette where COL (Ret.) John King remembers some of the people who pioneered automated dental reporting in Army dentistry.
One of the elements of the Army Dental Care System success is a system of management information currently operated as the Corporate Dental Application (CDA) by DENCOM. When I wear my historian’s hat I realize that many people important to the excellence of Army dentistry go unrecognized simply because no one made a record of their names. Some of the people who moved information technology forward during my period of involvement include Warren Parker, Dave Brunner, Walter Brush, Norman Richter, Steve Rouse and Steve Fantasia (civilian). I have not documented my memory of knowledge of the history of CDA but feel it would be an interesting segment of history of Army Dentistry. The history book tells us that the “Father of the Dental Corps” John S. Marshall from the beginning asked that records be kept and reported to higher levels concerning what treatments were being performed. In 1978 dentists chairside tabulated daily “tick sheets” of dental procedures with pencil and paper; NCOs combined the numbers from all providers for the clinic; dental departments (or DENTAC) consolidated the numbers from clinic reports and mailed them to Health Care Studies Dental Office in San Antonio. These hand written procedure reporting sheets were input by human key punch operators onto IBM cards which were – along with statistical-program key punched IBM cards were read into a computer (the first encounter of data in this process with an actual computer). The computer spit out stacks printer paper measured in feet high. The public health dentist who supervised this process interpreted the results first by phone to the office of the Chief of the Dental Corps, then put summaries in the mail. Imagine how much more efficient CDA is today – and the improvement did not happen on its own. Warren Parker, Dave Brunner, Walter Brush, Norman Richter, Steve Rouse and Steve Fantasia were the early pioneers and should not be forgotten for lack of recording their names. Please “Leave a Reply” or email if you have something to add.