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Relationships between dental personnel and non-dental primary health care providers in rural and remote Queensland, Australia: dental perspectives


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Stuart, JC ORCID: 0000-0003-2240-3188, Hoang, Ha ORCID: 0000-0001-5116-9947, Crocombe, L ORCID: 0000-0002-3916-0058 and Barnett, T ORCID: 0000-0002-1376-6414 2017 , 'Relationships between dental personnel and non-dental primary health care providers in rural and remote Queensland, Australia: dental perspectives' , BMC oral health, vol. 17, no. 1 , pp. 1-10 , doi: 10.1186/s12903-017-0389-y.

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Background: Collaboration between dental practitioners and non-dental primary care providers has the potentialto improve oral health care for people in rural and remote communities, where access to oral health services islimited. However, there is limited research on collaboration between these professional disciplines. The purpose ofthis paper was to explore the relationships between dental practitioners and non-dental primary care providersfrom rural and remote areas of Queensland and to identify strategies that could improve collaboration betweenthese disciplines from the perspective of dental participants.Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted between 2013 and 2015 with visiting, local and regionaldental practitioners (n = 12) who had provided dental services to patients from eight rural and remote Queenslandcommunities that did not have a resident dentist. Participants were purposely recruited through a snow ballsampling technique. Interview data were analysed using thematic analysis with the assistance of QSR Nvivo v.10.Results: Four major themes emerged from the data: (1) Communication between dental practitioners and ruralprimary care providers; (2) Relationships between dental and primary care providers; (3) Maintenance of professionaldualism; (4) Strategies to improve interprofessional relationships (with subthemes: face to face meetings; utilisationof technology; oral health training for primary care providers; and having a community based oral health contactperson). Participants observed that there was a lack of communication between the dental providers whosaw patients from these rural communities and the primary care providers who worked in each community.This was attributed to poor communication, the high turnover of staff and the siloed behaviours of somepractitioners. Visiting dental practitioners were likely to have stronger professional relationships with hospitalnursing, administrative and allied health care staff who were often long term residents of the community.Conclusions: The findings suggest that there was little relationship between the dental personnel and primarycare providers. Interprofessional collaboration between dental care providers and non-dental rural primary careproviders in the rural and remote communities sampled could be improved by having regular face to facemeetings between practitioners from across the health disciplines, providing oral health education to primarycare providers, establishing and maintaining effective communication and referral pathways, and exploring agreater role for tele-dentistry.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Stuart, JC and Hoang, Ha and Crocombe, L and Barnett, T
Keywords: Collaboration, Dental practitioners, Interprofessional relationships, Primary care providers, Oral health
Journal or Publication Title: BMC oral health
Publisher: BioMed Central
ISSN: 1472-6831
DOI / ID Number: 10.1186/s12903-017-0389-y
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2017 The Authors. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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