May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3



March 2012 Volume XLVIII Number 2


Society expects and deserves quality healthcare from competent professionals. The American Dental Association Council on Dental Education and Licensure’s document, Requirements for Recognition of National Certifying Boards for Dental Specialists1 states, "Each Board shall encourage its Diplomates to engage in lifelong learning and continuous quality improvement." However, we know that neither tenure in the profession nor continuing education alone can assure ongoing competence and performance improvement by healthcare professionals.

More than a decade ago - in 2001 - the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry introduced a 100-item, internet based examination to measure the cognitive expertise of a Time-Limited Diplomate undergoing recertification. To meet the demand for additional transparency in annual credentialing, continuing dental education, evaluation of knowledge, and parameters of care, the Board continued investigating other recertification models in medicine and dentistry. Following extensive study and consultation, the Board recognized that knowledge in pediatric dentistry is not static, but continues to evolve and change. Certification is not meant to be the end of professional growth and self-improvement, but the beginning of a continuous validation of professional excellence. To address this realization, the Board replaced the single-point-in-time examination with an ongoing recertification process.

This four-part Renewal of Certification Process (ROC-P) was launched in 2011. The fourth segment of this process is Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) modules.

These modules offer a methodical self-evaluation of parameters of care within any practice setting and each are based on an American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Oral Health Policy or Clinical Practice Guideline. They also provide an opportunity to compare practice parameters with other Diplomates in the specialty.

The ABPD believes that the combination of a professional "Guideline" with sound clinical judgment offers assurance to patients and their parents that a doctor is practicing pediatric dentistry of the highest quality.

In "When Good May Not Be Enough - The Need for Clinical Performance Measures in Dentistry2," the editor of The Journal of the American Dental Association states, "What is lacking are clinical performance measures that use a terminology acceptable to all stakeholders, that are scientifically valid, that can identify relevant clinical differences between varying levels of quality care, that can be applied among different communities and cultures and that can be independently reproduced by all relevant oral health care professionals in different workforce models."

The American Board of Pediatric Dentistry has developed a method to measure performance that is scientifically valid and can be applied in private or public health practices, military or hospital clinics, and educational settings. The data collected from Diplomates participating in the Continuous Quality Improvement modules will further demonstrate to the public, institutions and healthcare colleagues that our Diplomates provide the highest quality care for their patients.