Tracking Oral Health in a Standardized, Evidence‐Based, Prevention‐Focused Dental Care System


Joel M. White, Ryan G. Brandon, Joanna M. Mullins, Kristen L. Simmons, Aubri M. Kottek, and Elizabeth A. Mertz 

October 26, 2020

Learning health‐care systems are foundational for measuring and achieving value in oral health care. This article describes the components of a preventive dental care program and the quality of care in a large dental accountable care organization. A retrospective study design describes and evaluates the cross‐sectional measures of process of care (PoC), appropriateness of care (AoC), and outcomes of care (OoC) extracted from the electronic health record (EHR), between 2014 and 2019. Annual and composite measures are derived from EHR‐based clinical decision support for risk determination, diagnostic and treatment terminology, and decayed‐missing‐filled‐teeth (DMFT) measures. It was found that the preventive dental care system demonstrates excellent provider adherence to the evidence‐based prevention protocol, with measurably better dental outcomes by patient risk compared to national estimates. These achievements are enabled by a value‐centric, accountable model of care and incentivized by a compensation model aligned with performance measures.