08:48 AM

Quality Improvement in an Era of Accountability

By Palmer Corson, Senior Manager Programs and Operations, DentaQuest Institute

For some time now, Medical care has had to come to terms with pay for performance, accountable care organizations, and value-based care. Dentistry is just entering this new "Era of Accountability” with managed care, pay for performance, diagnosis codes, transparency in cost, and a focus on outcomes.
Dr. Paul Glassman* framed the issues that the oral health community needs to consider in a 2012 report, Developing a Vision for Oral Health Quality Improvement in an Era of Accountability, funded by the DentaQuest Institute and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Driving this change is the dramatic escalation in total healthcare spending with poor health outcomes in the U.S. compared to other countries, wide variability in cost and care, capacity of the care delivery workforce, and large disparities in health outcomes experienced by various populations.
To encourage dialogue and action on the challenges and opportunities identified in the report, the DentaQuest Institute and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation hosted leaders across the dental profession, dental education, medicine, government, financing, philanthropy, quality improvement, and consumer advocacy to consider what a quality improvement framework that ensured all people have access to quality oral health care would look like. What resulted was a National Oral Health Quality Improvement Committee which has been meeting quarterly to develop a roadmap for an oral health care system that uses the tools of quality and accountability.
Since the first meeting in 2012, the Committee has developed both a visionfor the future of oral health and strategies for achieving that vision.
The steering committee of Dr. Paul Glassman, Dr. Marty Liebermann, Dr. Burt Edelstein and Dr. Man Wai Ng, met in Boston on February 14, 2014, to incorporate feedback on the plan and finalize strategies for approval by the full committee.
With an endorsed set of strategies and vision, the group will turn to the next big question of implementation and engaging stakeholders. The committee is thinking about the following questions as they move into the action period:
  • How does the oral health care system make this vision come to life?
  • What are the next steps for collective action across the systems that impact oral health?
  • What steps can participants on this committee take to bring these ideas to their colleagues and constituents?
Your thoughts? Email Palmer Corson, DentaQuest Institute, palmer.corson@dentaquestinstitute.org.