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Dental practices start publicly reporting quality measures for the first time

Wisconsin initiative to compare, improve patient care

November 23, 2020

By David Burger

Madison, Wis. — Five dental practices have joined forces as members of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality to become the first in the country to publicly report on oral health quality measures.

These dental practices serve a diverse demographic and geographic range of pediatric and adult patients in rural and urban communities throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota. The practices include ForwardDental, Marshfield Clinic Health System, Dental Associates, HealthPartners and Children’s Wisconsin.

 Dr. David Gesko
Dr. Gesko
Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality, or WCHQ, is a voluntary nonprofit consortium of organizations committed to improvements in the quality and affordability of health and dental care in the region.

The first publicly reported measures are: caries risk assessment in children, ongoing care in adults with periodontitis, and topical fluoride application for high-risk children.

The WCHQ acquires and analyzes the quality measures from the data submitted by the dental organizations. Measure specifications along with the individual organization reports are available to the public on the WCHQ website.

“Comparing one’s practice to others shows what can be achieved and allows practices to share how one practice is able to achieve higher results and incorporate those best practices into their own routine,” said David S. Gesko, D.D.S., dental director and senior vice president of Health Partners, an integrated health system with dental offices in multiple states. “In the quest for better outcomes, patients benefit by receiving those best practices and care that is more effective and efficacious.”

Oral, overall health

For Children’s Wisconsin, children’s oral health is essential to ensuring good overall health, said Lori Barbeau, D.D.S., in a WCHQ news release.

“Children deserve great dental care and good heath starts with a healthy mouth,” she said. “The ability to collaborate with four dental organizations focused on improving dental care through measurement, public reporting and sharing best practices will help ensure that children receive the best care possible everywhere in the state.”

Thomas Manos, D.D.S., owner and CEO of Dental Associates, said in the release that he is looking forward to working with WCHQ as a partner to continue to develop quality metrics related to oral health.

“There is a critical link between oral health and general health and well-being,” Dr. Manos said. “We know poor dental hygiene is linked to an increase in chronic and acute diseases. We are looking forward to working with our colleagues in both the medical and oral health communities to improve the overall health of the people we all serve.”

Evidence-driven measurement of quality care is the wave of the future, Dr. Gesko said.  “This will not necessarily be embraced by all. However, in my opinion, it is needed evolution towards better outcomes and quantitative measurement by our profession.”

“‘What gets measured gets done’ has been a driving force,” Dr. Gesko continued. “Being among the first practices to do so simply means to me that we are moving in the correct direction and indeed realizing that goal.”