Chapter 5. Quality Management

Chapter 5. Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement—Introduction

A clinic must provide quality services to its target population to achieve its mission. A quality professional workforce, working in an environment that requires and supports provision of quality care, is crucial. High quality administrative personnel, processes and procedures are, in turn, needed to support the provision of clinical care.

Selection and hiring of a quality workforce was covered in Chapter 4. Chapter 5 discusses how to assess, maintain, and improve the quality of clinical services and administrative processes.

  • Section 1, Definitions, contains general background material on quality assurance and quality improvement (QA/I).
  • Section 2, Accreditation, is a brief discussion on the topic.
  • Section 3, Quality in the Dental Clinic, presents some tools for tracking and measuring services. The tools are not listed in order of importance; all are important to your QA/I program.
  • Section 4, Quality in Health Care, provides more in-depth materials on quality improvement for those who wish to delve deeper into the topic.

    The forms and tools presented in this chapter are meant to be used as examples and templates; they are not the only methods available. They should allow new clinics to begin QA/I activities without needing to have a QA/I expert on staff. If the dental clinic is part of a larger health center or hospital, then a QA/I program or department may already exist where you can seek guidance.

Material presented in Section 4, Data Collection and Analysis, may be more detailed and academic than is needed for many clinics, while it probably is inadequate in scope and detail to guide a clinic through an accreditation cycle. If you choose to seek accreditation, review the advantages and costs of accreditation in Section 2 and obtain additional training from the accrediting body that you choose.

The Mobile-Portable Dental Manual, a companion manual to the Safety Net Dental Clinic Manual, presents a slightly different take on program evaluation. Visit the Mobile-Portable Dental Manual’s chapter 5, “Measuring Effectiveness and Outcomes.”external link


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