Conceptualising a framework for improving quality in primary dental care

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This paper sets out a conceptual framework by which quality improvement in primary dental care can be approached. We argue that seeking a unified definition for quality in dentistry is a distraction to the more important end of quality improvement. An approach to quality improvement that interfaces Donabedian’s domains of structure, process and outcome which various dimensions of quality gives a rational approach by which quality can be assessed and improved. The importance of valid, evidence driven indicators and methods for their implementation in primary dental care is described. Further work is required in order to identify which dimensions of dentistry are most important, but the Institute of Medicine’s dimensions of safety, effectiveness, patient centeredness, timeliness, equity, efficiency are a good starting point. Trying to develop an absolute list of dimensions of quality should not distract from implementing an approach based paradigm of quality improvement. Bioinformatics offers new solutions by which quality measures may be implemented and reported in the primary care setting. The focus of future research should be in implementing data-driven quality indicators at the level of the primary care practitioner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865-868
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Early online date22 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


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