Unit 5. Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement
Quality Assurance & Quality Improvement

Section 2. Setting the Stage for Quality


Privileging is the process that defines what procedures a health professional is qualified, by skill level, to perform in the clinic. The dental director has primary responsibility for assessing the training of each dentist and determining what procedures that dentist will be allowed to perform in the clinic. For example, you don’t want a general dentist with only basic dental school training to extract partial or full bony impaction unless you have assurance that he or she is trained to do that. If the dental director is the only dentist at the health center, this responsibility generally rests with the medical director or another assigned clinic official.

It is also important to note that if dentists perform procedures they do not have privileges for, these procedures will likely not be covered by their malpractice carrier or by FTCA malpractice coverage.

One way to look at privileging is to divide the procedures into two categories:

  • Basic Package. The basic package includes the majority of the procedures your dentists will perform and should be ones that any licensed dentist would be expected to have the skill set to perform in a quality manner.
  • Expanded Package. The expanded package typically includes only those procedures for which additional training from a dental school is required. You should know that some dental schools no longer adequately train dentists in molar endodontics.

Qualifications for Privileging. This is a document you should create that spells out what education, extra continuing education, or on-the-job experience you require for the procedures in the expanded package. This document helps you to make effective decisions about granting privileges for the expanded package. For the high-risk procedures your dentists request, you should develop a process whereby a select number of the procedures in question are mentored by a dentist already privileged for that procedure.