Online Program

Communication practices of dentists and staff: Opinions of Maryland adults

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Alice M. Horowitz, PhD, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park,, MD
Dushanka V. Kleinman, DDS, MScD, School of Public Health, University of Maryland College Park, College Park, MD
Min Qi Wang, PhD, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
With the growing interest in increasing oral health literacy, communication practices of dental care providers are especially important because most patients report they get their oral health information from the dentist and staff. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of Maryland adults with a child 6 years and younger about the manner in which their dentist and staff communicated with them. Five questions from AHRQ's Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey were included. Land phones with two sampling frames were used: a random sample and a low income sample. In July 2012 a total of 802 surveys were completed with adults 18–65 years of age. The analysis included frequencies, percentages, chi-square tests, and multivariate logistic regression. Overall, most respondents reported positively about the communication skills of their dental team. Those with higher levels of education and women were more likely to respond favorably. Respondents whose child was insured with Medicaid were signifiantly less likely to respond favorably than those with private insurance (p=0.01). Medicaid recipients are frequently those persons with the greatest dental disease and in greatest need of prevention information and regimens for themselves and for their children. Ensuring these patients are armed with accurate information provided in a manner that patients feel respected and listened to likely contributes to the patient's ability to understand and act upon this information. Communication practices of dentists and staff are important to increasing oral health literacy and potentially decreasing dental disparities.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Describe at least three of the AHRQ's questions regarding communication skills of healthcare providers Explain the rationale for determining communication skills of providers from the perspective of patients

Keyword(s): Communication, Oral Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the PI on the study and have undertaken such research for many years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.