QUALITY MANAGEMENT IN DENTAL CARE: PATIENTS’ PERSPECTIVES ON COMMUNICATION. A QUALITATIVE STUDY
Background and aim. Dental care usually faces the traditional doctor-patient relationship, according to which the doctor does not seek feedback and patients feel uncomfortable when being involved in the healthcare process.
The current study aims at analyzing patients’ attitudes and knowledge about dental care and asses the level of communication between them and their dentists.
Methods. A series of telephone interviews (N=40) were applied to patients in the city of Cluj-Napoca in order to identify attitudes and knowledge about dental care. The interview guide was applied separately to each respondent and each interview was audio recorded with the verbal consent of the respondent. The data collected was assessed and we performed thematic analysis on the provided answers.
Results. When asked about the dentist’s attitude during the consultation, the respondents reported only positive attitudes. The majority of the respondents stated that the communication with their dentist was an efficient and professional one, focused on their dental problems. When asked if they understood the verbal and written information received from the dentist, the majority of respondents said they understood the information without any problems.
Conclusion. Identifying the patients’ health literacy about dental services leads to better communication between dentist and patient, which is essential for establishing a quality management system in dentistry. Effective communication leads to a high level of patient involvement.