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An International Working Definition for Quality of Oral Healthcare.

  • Author(s): Righolt, AJ
  • Walji, MF
  • Feine, JS
  • Williams, DM
  • Kalenderian, E
  • Listl, S
  • et al.
Abstract

To assess and improve the quality of oral healthcare, we must first agree on what constitutes good care. Currently there is no internationally accepted definition for quality of oral healthcare. Therefore, the purpose of the study was to establish a working definition for quality of oral healthcare that would help to advance further improvements in the field of quality improvement in oral healthcare. The development of the working definition included a 3-step approach: 1) literature screening; 2) expert-based compilation of an initial list of topics, leaning on the National Academy of Medicine framework for quality of care; and 3) a World Café with voting, which took place during the annual general meeting of the International Association for Dental Research in 2018. Following this approach, the collective intelligence of involved participants yielded a comprehensive list of items, prioritized by relevance. The resulting working definition comprises 7 domains—patient safety, effectiveness, efficiency, patient-centeredness, equitability, timeliness, access to care—and 30 items, which together characterize quality of oral healthcare. This aspirational working definition provides the potential to facilitate further conversations and activities aiming at quality improvement in oral healthcare.

Knowledge transfer statement

This special communication describes the development of a working definition for quality of oral healthcare. The findings of this study are intended to raise awareness of the relevance of quality improvement initiatives in oral healthcare. The working definition described here has the potential to facilitate further conversations and activities aiming at quality improvement in oral healthcare.

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