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OSAP 2015 Symposium Quality Improvement Challenges from the Patient Point of View – A Case Study

OSAP 2015 Symposium: Infection Control - Gaining the Edge

TITLE    Quality Improvement Challenges from the Patient Point of View - A Case Study




This case study is intended to raise awareness in patient safety and quality improvement among clinicians as part of cultivating skills on leadership, self-awareness, practice management, and communications. Its focuses specifically on challenges in (a) communications of clinicians with patients; (b) the need for clinicians to be able to see things through the eyes and experience of patients; and (c) shifting from a blaming culture to a safety/QI-based culture oriented to understanding, improving, and redesigning processes and systems based on openness to feedback and root cause analysis. The case immerses the learner in a set of interactions between a highly mismatched patient and dentist as the patient is experiencing those interactions. The patient views surface problems as manifestations of processes and systems that are poorly designed and/or executed, and thus as teaching/learning occasions for process change and improvement. The patient is therefore oriented to a high level of communication and building partnering relationships. The patient’s style and approach is alien to the self-preoccupied dentist who not only lacks communication and social skills, but also does not even see the need for them. The dentist’s novice clinical skills lead to rework that generates additional problems for the patient and requires correction and completion by a more senior dental team member. The general purpose of the case is to help dentists see and notice important issues embedded in everyday practice, become more self-aware, and see their actions and behaviors through the eyes of the patient. 





Elsbeth Kalenderian DDS MPH PhD






After attending this program, participants should be able to:

  • Disrupt business-as-usual by beginning to pull safety, quality, and communications issues out of the flux of activity and events—i.e., learning how to notice and see.
  • Provide dental clinicians practice with thinking systemically to improve safety, quality, and the patient experience.
  • Make dental clinicians aware of the importance of knowing one's current limits and the consequences of not knowing them.





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