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Quality of oral surgery referrals and how to improve them

Authors Bjorkeborn M, Nilsson H, Anderud J

Received 28 March 2017

Accepted for publication 13 September 2017

Published 15 November 2017 Volume 2017:9 Pages 111—116

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CCIDE.S138201

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Christopher E. Okunseri


Mikael Björkeborn,1 Henrik Nilsson,2 Jonas Anderud1

1Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Halmstad Hospital, Halmstad, Sweden; 2Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Växjö Hospital, Växjö, Sweden

Aim: To assess the quality of routine oral surgery referrals received at Halmstad Hospital and Växjö Hospital and to emphasize areas for improvement.
Method: A retrospective study was performed on all routine oral surgery referrals received between 2014 and 2015 at both Halmstad Hospital and Växjö Hospital. A total of 1,891 referral letters were assessed for their quality against a predetermined checklist of basic requirements of a satisfactory referral. The referrals were also categorized according to if it was sent by a male, female, private dental service, or the Swedish Public Dental Health service.
Results: A diagnosis was missing in 30% of all referrals. Radiographs and information about previous radiographic examinations were not included in 10% of the referrals. Of those referrals that included radiographs, only around half were deemed adequate for diagnostic purposes. The presenting complaint was missing in 40% of all referrals. Current medical history was absent in 40% and current medication was omitted in 60% of the referrals. Information about tobacco use was only included in 10% of all referrals. Overall, female referrers performed better than male colleagues. Private referrals more regularly included information about diagnosis, previous treatment, and current medication. On the other hand, referrals from the public dental health service more frequently included radiographs, tobacco use, and current medical history.
Conclusion:
There is plenty of room for improving the standards of oral surgery referrals. We suggest that future electronic referral systems should only allow for submission once all of the essential information has been considered.

Keywords:
clinical audit, referral quality, oral surgery referrals

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