Dental care benchmarking

Dental care benchmarking has been implemented since 2009 as a continuous service. It involves municipalities of various sizes, which may differ in organisational and management structures, but where most of the efficiency-influencing factors are the same. Dental care benchmarking is used to analyse the productivity, effectiveness and quality of the services. The current economic situation has put a great strain on the extent of municipal dental care services, but with long-term development and emphasis on the most effective core operations, the needs of the population can be met despite the challenging circumstances.

Benchmarking seeks solutions to improve participants’ technical and the allocative sense of the word. The impact of resourcing and the different concepts on the cost, effectiveness and quality of the treatment is studied with episode-based comparisons conducted in primary healthcare, emergency services, orthodontics and root treatment. The results are then used to study, for example, factors behind the cross-unit differences in productivity, and whether the detected regional differences in dental care can be explained by the different approaches in the nursing units.

In dental care, the traditional annual statistics comparison can easily lead astray, because here, the course of treatment often consists of a series of visits over a number of months. The episode-based comparison draws from almost ten-year organisation-based longitudinal data. The employed cost estimation model is based on appointments made with specific occupational groups and corresponds to actual dental care costs with relatively high accuracy. By combining the exact cost data and the episode studies, the cost-effectiveness of the different approaches can be compared.