The Oral health workforce optimisation project is a team-based model of care developed to see patients off the general waiting list. Each patient is booked a comprehensive exam with an extended scope OHT, who prescribed a personalized oral health promotion plan using a form developed by the project team. This form is given to the dental assistant, who provides a tailored oral health education, dietary advice, and smoking cessation counselling (if applicable) in the adjacent surgery immediately after the examination. Treatment is then allocated to a dentist, OHT and/or prosthetist as required. Every patient is asked to complete a patient experience survey, and the project team recorded patient flow through the new model of care. Productivity, cost-effectiveness and treatment mix are assessed from the Information System for Oral Health database.
By redistributing clinical responsibilities, the model aims to provide new opportunities for dental assistants with a Certificate IV in Health Promotion, extended scope Oral Health Therapists (OHTs), and dental prosthetists to utilize their full scope of practice.
The project has successfully navigated healthcare system challenges to deliver change, improvement and innovation in the health service and has presented at the Clinical Excellence Queensland Showcase 2019.