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DQA approves guidance for practice-based, pediatric measures for quality improvement

December 11, 2018

By David Burger

Performance reporting at the practice level should be transparent and clear, according to guidance approved by the Dental Quality Alliance at its November meeting at ADA Headquarters in Chicago.  The guidance is based on the DQA's pediatric, practice-based measure testing project.  

Photo of Dr. Amundson
Dr. Amundson
The DQA was established by the ADA to develop performance measures for oral health care. The DQA is an organization of major stakeholders in oral health care delivery that uses a collaborative approach to develop oral health care measures, according to its website. 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.

Dental practices have routinely conducted self-assessments for improvement purposes. Dental practices are also increasingly being measured for quality of care of their patient populations by third-party payers and program administrators.

To ensure that appropriate measures and methods are used to measure dental practice performance for accountability purposes, the DQA developed the just-released Guidance on Practice Based Measurement. The purpose of this guidance document is to inform stakeholders on key implementation considerations recommended by the DQA for use of practice-based measures for accountability applications, external reporting and internal quality improvement.

The DQA's hope is that with such guidance in place, only meaningful measures that are aligned with improvement goals are used for rating dental practices, said Dr. Craig Amundson, chair of the DQA's Measure Development and Maintenance Committee.

Photo of Dr. Schweinebraten
Quality improvement: Dr. Marie Schweinebraten, periodontist and chair of the Dental Quality Alliance education committee, listens to a presentation on the FDI World Dental Federation's definition of oral health at the Dental Quality Alliance's Nov. 2 meeting at ADA Headquarters.
In addition, the DQA also has developed measurement specifications to assist practices in getting started with measuring the quality of their care, Dr. Amundson said. These specifications are meant for use in regular self-reporting on quality improvement applications within dental practices, Dr. Amundson said. They are related to topical fluoride application, care continuity and placement of dental sealants for pediatric patients.

The ultimate goal, he said, is improving patient care.

The guidance document, as well as other applicable resources, is available on the DQA's Educational Resources page.

The Dental Quality Alliance also set the date for its biennial conference, May 17-18 at ADA Headquarters. With the title Pathway to Improvement, the conference is designed to continue the march to quality improvement and measurement and explore strategies to influence, implement and integrate change, said Dr. Marie Schweinebraten, chair of the Dental Quality Alliance education committee.

"The conference is designed to strengthen in-depth understanding of the quality measurement infrastructure within dentistry by canvassing on concrete opportunities for system-wide improvement," she said. "Quality improvement should be taken seriously by all dentists and this conference will identify ways in how we — including patients — can all benefit from measures to assess quality that can implemented in the clinical environment."

Conference registration and the accompanying agenda will be available in January on the DQA website.