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Dental Quality Alliance trains ambassadors

June 09, 2015

By Kelly Soderlund

Quality participation: Future ambassadors for the Dental Quality Alliance listen at the group's conference May 1-2 at ADA Headquarters. One hundred and fifteen people attended to learn how they can spread word of quality measurement within dentistry.
One hundred and fifteen people departed ADA Headquarters with a bundle of information and instruction.

They were in Chicago for the Dental Quality Alliance conference May 1-2, tasked with learning how to be ambassadors for quality measurement within dentistry. The ambassadors came from a variety of dental practice settings and geographic regions and had different abilities to influence quality improvement.

"These are people we believe can influence change within dentistry," said Dr. James Crall, DQA chair, professor and chair of the division of public health and community dentistry at the University of California-Los Angeles and representative of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. "We hope they walked away knowing more about quality improvement as it affects dentistry; the roles of various dental sectors in quality measurement; and what the DQA has planned going forward. Our goal was to inform them about ways to implement quality measurement within their own practices and promote quality measurement to their colleagues with the ultimate goal of improving the overall oral health of their patients."

The DQA, formed in 2008 through a request from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, is comprised of multiple stakeholders from across the oral health community who are committed to developing consensus-based quality measures. The DQA measures have the potential to have an impact on every practicing dentist in the United States, and the future of dentistry, how it's modeled and how it's financed — specifically as a result of the Affordable Care Act — they'll become even more prevalent. The mission of the DQA is to advance performance measurement as a means to improve oral health, patient care and safety through a consensus-building process.

"We hope we were able to express the need for a quality measurement system within dentistry feared toward improving oral health care for patients," Dr. Crall said. "Part of the conference was devoted to examining emerging trends in quality measurement and improvement across the dental care continuum and highlighting strategies that attendees could use to lead and influence health care improvement through measurement in dentistry."

Dr. Leon Bragg, chief dental officer of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, enjoyed listening to various speakers discuss the differing roles of stakeholders  in quality measurement and having the opportunity to talk about the presentations with those at his table.
"I am impressed with the consistent forward movement by the ADA toward quality but am concerned that many practicing dentists are failing to see what is coming," Dr. Bragg said.

The DQA has already developed 12 comprehensive, fully-validated measures in dentistry titled Prevention and Disease Management for Dental Caries in Children. These initial DQA measures address utilization, cost and quality of dental services for children enrolled in public and private insurance programs. Of these, five have been endorsed and two have been recommended for endorsement by the National Quality Forum.
To learn more about the DQA and to view the speakers' presentations, visit