The Role of Patient-Centered Care in Modern Dentistry

A Simple Guide to Dental Billing and Best Practices You Should Do
For a long time, surgical and treatment-oriented approaches have been the dominant treatment modalities within dentistry. Times are changing now. With a patient-centered care model, dentists are called to focus on disease management and prevention-oriented primary care, considering the patient’s overall health and well-being. This also promotes oral health as an integral part of overall health.

At Synapse, we believe in putting patients at the forefront of all decision-making and treatment. Our blog aims to enlighten you on patient-centered care (PCC) and how to implement it in your dental practice.

What is Patient-Centered Care?

According to the Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Quality of Health Care in America (2001), patient-centered care is defined as the “humane and respectful of the needs and preferences of individuals.” This mode of health‐care delivery ensures that the patient’s values serve as guidance across all clinical decisions. PCC emerged as a call to transform the 21st-century healthcare system to be more equitable, meeting all Americans’ health needs regardless of race, ethnicity, location, or socioeconomic status.

In other words, PCC is a holistic approach that considers the patient’s preferences, biopsychosocial factors, access to care, continuity and transition, physical comfort, and coordination of care, etc.

Discourse on Patient-centered Care within Dentistry

While it has been adopted in several healthcare settings, with varying degrees of success, from patients being actively involved in shared decision-making to experiencing care tailored to their needs and personal preferences, PCC has not been well-studied in dentistry. It remains cloaked with “inadequate evidence available to understand PCC within general dentistry” (Böhme Kristensen, 2023).

This may be due to the lack of education and training to increase the knowledge, awareness, and skills necessary to implement a PCC approach among newly qualified dental professionals. As the rest of healthcare moves forward PCC, many fear dentistry will be left behind.

However, evidence suggests that PCC is imperative in improving oral health because it offers the following benefits:

  • Reduced use of care
  • Enhanced patient satisfaction
  • Enhanced health status

It was revealed in Böhme Kristensen’s study (2023) that PCC could help us understand dental anxiety since it accounts for the patient’s biological factors, behavioral patterns, and social circumstances. The more dental practitioners embrace that psychosocial factors are central to oral health, the more we can advocate for mental health programs to lessen dental anxiety. Most importantly, it was shown that healthcare professionals experience reduced levels of litigation and greater work satisfaction because of PCC.

What You Can Do to Apply PCC in Your Practice

Modern dentistry has a long way to go in integrating PCC due to its complexity in theory and practice. Still, there are steps you can take to move in the right direction. For instance, the UK General Dental Council (GDC) encourages dental providers to uphold the principles of patient respect, dignity, and choices.

On the other hand, for a practical guide on implementing PCC in dental clinics, you may refer to Scambler and Asimakopoulou’s theory and empirically derived model of PCC. Overall, this model proposes a uniform definition of PCC, consisting of the four core aspects of PCC, with an incorporated hierarchy of information and choice. Kindly see Figure 1 below.

An emiprical model of PCC designed for dentistry

Fig. 1 An emiprical model of PCC designed for dentistry. The model is derived from previous work by Scambler and Asimakopoulou (2014).

Care Better For Your Patients With Synapse

Patient-centered care is an essential topic for reflection and must be assessed by dental professionals, considering how they can use this holistic method for teaching, training, and clinical practice. Partnering with us conveys that you are ready to move forward with patients at the core of your practice. We will help you save time by taking care of your revenue cycle management needs so that you can strategize on implementing PCC. Call us today or fill out our contact form to give you a head start on our contact list.