An intervention to improve general practice connections for dental patients

Ramini Shankumar, Grant Russell, Sharon Clifford, Katrina M Long, Joanne Enticott

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Objective: Good communication between primary health services is crucial for best health outcomes, especially for patients with complex healthcare needs. Monash Health Dental Service (MHDS) collaborated with Monash University for IMPACT Study, to improve access to primary care using a health broker, linking vulnerable patients with a General Practitioner (GP). Methods: The project screened 10,329 dental patients to identify if they have a regular GP. To prevent underreporting of GP affiliation, MHDS trialled a modified set of intake questions and trained dental clinicians to improve patient engagement. A cross-sectional survey, to evaluate the quality of patients’ relationship with their GP, was completed by 245 patients via paper or iPad. Results: The screening found that majority of patients had regular access to and good engagement with a GP. Over 59% of participants were female with mean age 54 years (age range 18-90). Of those, only 75 patients (52% female, 27% represented 18-29 age group) and 26 patients advised that they don’t have a regular source of care and regular GP, respectively. Twelve out of 26 were connected to GP by health broker but only five attended GP appointment. With modified intake questions, GP documentation increased from 80% to 99% at MHDS. The survey found that majority of patients had good relationship and engagement with their GP. However, 37% had difficulty securing appointments and 43% waited for an appointment. Conclusion: This study gave MHDS a greater understanding of the number of patients with a regular GP. The gap between actual and recorded source of primary care can be closed by asking patients a modified set of questions at initial contact. MHDS aims to conduct a further study to enhance quality of care between dental patients and their GP, to assist in improving the general and oral health of dental patients.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Cite this