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Value and outcomes are important for both clinicians and patients, and you need to be fulfilling the needs of both if you want to be successful.
When you look at what is directing the future in dentistry, shaping the future in how dentistry delivered and how it is paid for-it is all about value and outcomes.
Value for the patient. Value for the dentist. Value for the employer and third party. Outcomes for the patient. Outcomes for the dentist. Outcomes for the employers.
It is quite clear that health care is moving away from a fee-for-service, pay-per-procedure model to a value and outcome based model.
Value for the patient is determined by ease of access, immediacy of service delivery, an understanding of the problems and the treatment, making the economics work, as well as the level of empathy, kinship and affinity in the relationship with the dentist. Basically, the comfort and service level experience the patient has with and in the dental office.
Value for the dentist or group practice is determined by the processes and technologies that allow them to do a better job for the patient, to deliver the best care for and with patients and to reliably produce the clinical result with the highest quality.
Outcomes-for-patients is determined by the level of pain experienced after treatment, dentistry that works and works for a long time, and the affordability of the treatment. If cosmetic improvement was part of their chief complaint, then patients need to feel that their cosmetic improvement meets their expectations.
Outcomes-for-dentists and group practices is determined by an ease-of-use and reliability of materials and methods, better economic results, an appreciation of patients of their effort and outstanding clinical results.
Given that values and outcomes are measureable, and given that managed group practices can measure these across numbers of practices, then the ability to use the data for continuous quality improvement, share knowledge across their networks, make adjustments using analytics and gap analysis, will give them the ability to refocus their attention and intentions to continually improve their outcomes.
Solo practice-where data is not shared, where individual preference dominates, where adding new parameters to measure will only add more work and time to their already limited resources-will only get further behind.
It’s time for dentists to rethink value and outcomes if they want to stay valuable.