Methods for controlling dental care expenditures are taking on greater importance with the rapid increase in prepaid dental plans. The use of regulatory systems to monitor provider performance are necessary to prevent gross over-utilization but are unlikely to result in net savings of more than five per cent of total gross premiums. Theoretically, prepaid group dental practice (PGDP) may reduce expenditures by changing the mix of services patients receive. The modest estimated savings and the small number of PGDPs presently in operation limit the importance of this alternative for the next five to ten years. If substantial reductions in dental expenditures are to be obtained, it will be necessary to limit dental insurance plans to cover only those services which have demonstrated cost-effectiveness in improving health for the majority of people. The concept that richer benefit plans may have small marginal effects on improving oral health may not be easy for the public to accept but, until they do, expenditures for dental care will be difficult to control. (+info)
Developing a group practice comprehensive care education curriculum.
In fall 2002 the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry implemented a Group Practice Comprehensive Care Clinical Education Curriculum. The primary responsibility for patient care has shifted in this comprehensive care curriculum from the students to the faculty and staff. Students have a primary responsibility for learning. This competency-based education curriculum utilizes a variety of student evaluation methods including self-evaluation, OSCE, and portfolio to verify competence. Formative evaluation methods are utilized in daily assessment of student performance. On-time graduation rates have increased from 60-70 percent to 96 percent, and regional board first-time pass rates have been maintained at 90+ percent. Overall predoctoral clinical productivity in the first full year of the program has increased by over 300,000 dollars. (+info)
Evolution of dental school clinics as patient care delivery centers.
Dental school clinics, originally envisioned as closely similar to private practice, evolved instead as teaching clinics. In the former, graduate and licensed dentists perform the treatment while undergraduate dental students are assigned treatment within their capabilities. In the latter, dental students provide the treatment under faculty supervision. It is generally recognized that the care provided by the teaching clinics is inefficient. However, in the last quarter of the twentieth century, dental school clinics began to pay much more attention to how treatment is rendered. The comprehensive care movement and quality assurance systems are leading towards more efficient patient-centered care. Case studies at the University of Maryland, Columbia University, and University of Louisville describe activities to make their clinic programs more efficient and patient-friendly. This article explores whether the potential exists for faculty to take a direct patient care delivery role in dental clinics in order for those clinics to become efficient patient care delivery systems as originally envisioned in the early part of the twentieth century. (+info)
Restorative treatment thresholds for interproximal primary caries based on radiographic images: findings from the Dental Practice-Based Research Network.
This study sought to quantify the depths of proximal caries lesions that lead dentists in regular clinical practice to intervene restoratively, based on hypothetical scenarios that present radiographic images and patient background information, and to identify characteristics associated with restorative intervention in lesions that have penetrated only the enamel surface. This study surveyed dentists from the Dental Practice-Based Research Network (DPBRN) who had reported doing at least some restorative dentistry (n = 901). Dentists were asked to indicate the depth at which they would restore a lesion, based on a series of radiographic images depicting interproximal caries at increasing lesion depths in a mandibular premolar; in addition, the dentists were questioned regarding two caries risk scenarios: one involving a patient with low caries risk and another involving a patient at higher risk. Logistic regression was used to analyze associations between the decision to intervene restoratively and specific dentist, practice, and patient characteristics. Of the 901 DPBRN practitioner-investigators, 500 (56%) completed the survey. For a high caries risk patient, 66% of respondents indicated that they would restore a proximal enamel lesion, while 24% would do so once the lesion had reached into the outer third of the dentin. For a low caries risk patient, 39% of respondents reported that they would restore an enamel lesion, and 54% would do so once the lesion had reached into the outer third of the dentin. In multivariate analyses that accounted for dentist and practice characteristics, dentists in large group practices were less likely to intervene surgically for enamel caries, regardless of patient's caries risk. (+info)
Restorative treatment thresholds for occlusal primary caries among dentists in the dental practice-based research network.
OBJECTIVES. The authors report on a study aimed at quantifying the carious lesion depths at which dentists intervene surgically for cases of varying caries penetration and caries risk. They also aimed to identify characteristics that are associated with surgical intervention. METHODS: The investigators surveyed dentists enrolled in a dental practice-based research network who reported performing at least some restorative dentistry. In the survey, dentists were asked to indicate whether they would intervene surgically in a series of cases involving occlusal caries. Each case presentation included a photograph of an occlusal surface displaying typical characteristics of caries penetration and a written description of a patient at a specific level of risk of developing caries. Using logistic regression, the authors analyzed associations between surgical treatment with dentists' and practices' characteristics and patients' caries risk levels. RESULTS: A total of 517 DPBRN practitioner-investigators responded to the questionnaire. Sixty-three percent of the respondents (326 of 517) indicated that in patients at low risk of developing caries, they would surgically restore teeth with lesions located in inner enamel surfaces and 90 percent would surgically restore teeth with lesions located in outer dentin surfaces. Regarding patients with a high risk of developing caries, 77 percent (398 of 517) of the respondents reported that they would surgically restore inner enamel lesions, and 94 percent (486 of 517) reported that they would restore lesions located on the outer dentin surface. Dentists who did not assess caries risk were more likely than dentists who did assess risk to intervene with dentinal lesions (P = .004). Practitioner-investigators who were in solo practice or a private practice with fewer than four dentists were significantly more likely to intervene surgically with enamel lesions than were dentists in large group practices (those with four or more dentists) (P < .001). (+info)
A faculty group practice-driven credentialing and privileging infrastructure in a school of dental medicine.
Credentialing and assigning clinical privileges are well-established practices in institutions that need to verify a clinician's ability to provide direct patient care services. The credentialing process verifies a provider's credentials to practice his or her profession, while privileging authorizes the individual to perform enumerated procedures within a specific scope of practice. All clinical faculty members at Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM) practice in the Faculty Group Practice (FGP). Because of the number of practitioners in the FGP, the organization instituted a more formal process of credentialing that verifies that practitioners are not only licensed to practice, but also are competent to provide direct patient care. In contrast to other dental schools that have established similar protocols, HSDM approached the process not from the academic side, but rather from the clinical practice side, explicitly taking into account whether the FGP could accommodate another practitioner when an academic department wished to appoint a new faculty member. In doing so, we had to be careful to reconcile our educational and research needs with those of the FGP. In this article, we describe how, within this framework, we established a credentialing and privileging program in which all full- and part-time faculty members, as well as advanced graduate students, were included. (+info)
Methods dentists use to diagnose primary caries lesions prior to restorative treatment: findings from The Dental PBRN.