Developing forms and records, tracking students, and collecting and analyzing data are necessary activities for monitoring the impact of school-based dental sealant programs. Data can provide information about staff productivity, program costs, oral disease burden, quality of care provided, treatment needs, and need for referrals and follow-up.
As part of the process of planning a school-based dental sealant program, program administrators should determine the information needs of the program and how information will be monitored and retrieved. Administrators need to identify required data and then to plan for collecting and analyzing it. Funders, parent organizations, and school districts or school systems in which the program operates may require specific information to ensure accountability and to demonstrate success. It is therefore extremely important for program administrators to talk to key stakeholders to identify all their information needs before developing an information-management plan. Consent forms, student records, and follow-up letters to parents all should be designed with the program’s data-collection needs in mind.