What leads to happy patients for a dental practice?

I was thinking about changing dental practice and I was curious to know if data could help me choose a practice. Luckily the NHS publish a lot of dental practice data and some of this has been aggregated together. The problem for me was that there are many measures and I don’t know how one measure trades off against another. This post will describe a way to combine the measures to give an estimate for typical patient happiness in a practice with those measured attributes.

For busy readers, here’s a potential approach to choose a dental practice:

  • Look at Care Quality Commission reports
  • Look at practice level survey information but note that for many practices the sample size will be small and there’s a large range of variability
  • Consider the proportion of different treatment courses carried out. More Band 1 (non-urgent) treatments seem to be good
  • Look at the proportion of adults at the practice and the 3-month revisit rate. See below for more details but in contrast to the NHS’s view, a high revisit rate seems to be a good thing.

You may find my combined measure described below useful for combining some of these different measures.

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