A scoping review to inform the use of continuous quality improvement in Australian Aboriginal oral health care

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: The need to improve existing services to Aboriginal communities is prioritised by Australia's National Oral Health Plan. Although only an emerging area in dentistry, continuous quality improvement (CQI) approaches have positively impacted the delivery of primary health services to Aboriginal communities. This scoping review maps the applicability of CQI strategies to Aboriginal Australian oral healthcare services. Methods: A scoping review was conducted and studies that reported using CQI approaches to improve existing oral health services or quality of care deemed relevant to Aboriginal Australian communities were included. Results: A total of 73 articles were retrieved and eight articles were included in the final synthesis. Several CQI tools were identified, including: plan-do-study-act cycles, dental quality alliance measures, prioritisation matrices, causal mapping and the use of collective impact methodology. Conclusion: Data exploring CQI in the context of Aboriginal oral health is scarce. The plan-do-study-act cycle and its variations show potential applicability to Aboriginal oral health care. However, for CQI approaches to be adequately implemented, the prevailing model of dental care requires a paradigm shift from quality assurance to quality improvement, acknowledging the impact of structural and process elements on care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)478-484
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Health Review
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

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