Thankam Paul Thyvalikakath, DMD, MDS, PhD

Thankam Paul Thyvalikakath, DMD, MDS, PhD
Thankam Paul Thyvalikakath, DMD, MDS, PhD

Associate Professor & Director of Dental Informatics Core, Department of Cariology, Operative Dentistry and Public Health

Contact Info

Phone: (317) 274-5460

Office Address

Indiana University School of Dentistry
Department of Restorative Dentistry
1121 W Michigan Street, Room S313
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5186

Narrative of Professional Career

Dr. Thyvalikakath is Director of the new Dental Informatics Core Initiative at the Indiana University School of Dentistry. As core director, she is creating a program designed to pursue the School's missions with research, teaching, information technology services and clinical care. The core's primary objective is to enhance patient care through improved data capture and documentation and phenotyping of electronic health records data. Previously, she was faculty at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine since 2006. During her tenure there, she held secondary appointments in the Department of Biomedical Informatics and Clinical and Translational Science Institute at the School of Medicine. Dr. Thyvalikakath earned her PhD degree in Biomedical Informatics in 2012 from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She also holds a dental degree and certificate in clinical research from the University of Pittsburgh as well as a dental degree from the University of Kerala, India and a Master's degree in Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery form the University of Calicut, India. Dr. Thyvalikakath has served as Principal Investigator, co-investigator or consultant on National Institute of Health grants. She received two career development awards from the National Institutes of Health (KL2RR024154 from the NCRR through the University of Pittsburgh CTSI and 5K08DE018957 from the NIDCR) that applied cognitive engineering methods to improve electronic dental records interface and evaluated a risk assessment tool for periodontal disease. These projects established foundational knowledge on applying user-centered design and cognitive engineering methods to design and evaluate clinical systems in dentistry.

Professional Interests

Dr. Thyvalikakath is a clinician and an informatics researcher. In addition to her directorship, she teaches predoctoral students in her capacity as an Associate Professor in the School's Restorative Dentistry Department. She is an active member of the American Association of Dental Research, American Dental Association, American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) and American Dental Education Association (ADEA). She is the Chair for Dental Informatics Section at ADEA (2013-14); co-chair for Dental Informatics Work Group, AMIA (2013-14); Scientific Program Committee member and CDE planner for the 2014 Annual meeting of AMIA.

Research Programs

Her core research interests are in developing interventions that promote interdisciplinary care across specialties and care settings and translating best evidence at the point of care to improve patient outcomes. Other interests: User-centered design of clinical information systems; Cognitive task analysis during diagnosis and treatment planning in dentistry; Identifying high-risk population for chronic oral diseases using clinical data; Evaluating the completeness, correctness and currency of electronic health records data. Development of a novel interface for electronic dental records: PhD Thesis: Designing clinical data presentation using cognitive task analysis methods


1. Thyvalikakath TP, Dziabiak M, Johnson R, Torres-Urquidy MH, Acharya A, Yabes J, Schleyer TK. Advancing cognitive engineering methods to support user interface design for electronic health records (accepted)

2. Rush WA, Rindal DB, Schleyer T, Kirshner M, Boyle RG, Thoele MJ, Asche SE, Thyvalikakath TP, Spallek H, Durand E, Enstad C, Huntley C. Integrating support for tobacco cessation counseling into electronic dental records: A multi-methods approach (in press)

3. Acharya A, Hernandez P, Thyvalikakath TP, Ye H, Song M, Schleyer TK. Bottom-up development of a hierarchical information list for patient records in general dentistry Int J Med Inform. 2013 Jul 6. doi:pii: S1386-5056(13)00135-4. 10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2013.06.007

4. Rindal DB, Rush WA, Schleyer T, Kirshner M, Boyle RG, Thoele MJ, Asche SE, Thyvalikakath TP, Spallek H, Durand E, Enstad C, Huntley C. Computer-assisted guidance for tobacco counseling in dental offices - A randomized clinical trial. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2013 March 44(3):260-264.

5. Schleyer TK, Ruttenberg A, Duncan W, Haendel M, Torniai C, Acharya A, Song M, Thyvalikakath TP, Liu K, Hernandez P. An ontology-based method for secondary use of electronic dental record data. AMIA Summits Transl Sci Proc. 2013 Mar 18;2013:234-8.

6. Schleyer TK, Thyvalikakath TP, Spallek H, Dziabiak M, Johnson L. From information technology to informatics: The information revolution. J Dent Educ 2012 Jan; 76(1):142-53.

7. Schleyer TK, Thyvalikakath TP, Smailagic A. Informatics innovation in Clinical care: A Visionary Scenario for Dentistry. Electronic Journal of Health Informatics 2011; 6(4): e36.

8. Irwin JY, Thyvalikakath TP, Spallek H, Wali T, Kerr AR, Schleyer TK. English and Spanish oral cancer information on the Internet: a pilot surface quality and content evaluation of oral cancer Web sites. Journal of Public Health Dentistry 2011 May;71 (2):106-16.

9. Thyvalikakath TP, Monaco V, Thambuganipalle H, Schleyer T. Comparative study of heuristic evaluation and usability testing methods. Stud Health Technol Inform 2009;143:322-7.

10. Bekhuis T, Thyvalikakath TP, Oliver R. Interventions for treating ameloblastomas of the jaws (Protocol). Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews. 2009;Issue 4. Art. No.: CD003975. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003975.pub2.

11. Thyvalikakath TP, Monaco V, Thambuganipalle HB, Schleyer T. A usability evaluation of four commercial dental computer-based patient record systems. J Am Dent Assoc 2008 Dec;139(12):1632-42.9.

12. Spallek H, Butler BS, Schleyer TK, Weiss PM, Wang X, Thyvalikakath TP, et al. Supporting emerging disciplines with e-communities: needs and benefits. J Med Internet Res 2008;10(2):e19.

13. Schleyer TK, Thyvalikakath TP, Malatack P, Marotta M, Shah TA, Phanichphant P, et al. The feasibility of a three-dimensional charting interface for general dentistry. J Am Dent Assoc 2007 Aug;138(8):1072-80.

14. Thyvalikakath TP, Schleyer TK, Monaco V. Heuristic evaluation of clinical functions in four practice management systems: a pilot study. J Am Dent Assoc 2007;138(2):209-18.

15. Schleyer TK, Thyvalikakath TP, Spallek H, Torres-Urquidy MH, Hernandez P, Yuhaniak J. Clinical computing in general dentistry. J Am Med Inform Assoc 2006;13(3):344-52.