A quality improvement initiative for clinical records in the public dental services.
The dental clinical record is fundamental to good patient care. Without it, the clinician could have problems with the continuity of care, along with legal issues and non-compliance with Dental Council's Code of Practice. The writer implemented a quality improvement initiative to increase the relevant information required in the record for the emergency dental visit.
The HSE change model was used to guide the writer throughout the change project, providing templates and e-learning, through the Change Hub. A protocol, audit tool and prompt cards were developed to provide guidance for the clinicians and to allow a baseline assessment of the records. Weekly audits were carried out to measure compliance and allow for further intervention. The results showed an overall improvement of the information captured. Staff also completed a feedback questionnaire to elicit their viewpoint of the prompt cards. Communication via email, telephone and face-to-face was a vital component in the process. Recommendations include further development of the audit process and an increase in collaboration with all staff to promote continuous quality improvement.