Quality improvement and quality assurance programs are an integral part of providing excellence in health care delivery. The Dental Quality Alliance and the Commission on Dental Accreditation recognize this and have created standards and recommendations to advise health care providers and health care delivery systems, including dental schools, on measuring the quality of the care delivered to patients. Overall health care expenditures have increased, and the Affordable Care Act has made health care, including dentistry, available to more people in the United States. These increases in cost and in the number of patients accessing care contribute to a heightened interest in measurable quality improvement outcomes that reflect efficiency, effectiveness, and overall value. Practitioners and administrators, both in academia and in the “real world,” need an understanding of various quality improvement methodologies available in order to select approaches that support effective monitoring of the quality of care delivered. This article compares and contrasts various quality improvement approaches, programs, and systems currently in use in order to assist dental providers and administrators in choosing quality improvement methodologies pertinent to their practice or institution.

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Published in Journal of Dental Education, v. 81, no. 3, p. 347-356.

Reprinted by permission of Journal of Dental Education, Volume 81, 3 (March 2017). Copyright 2017 by the American Dental Education Association. http://www.jdentaled.org