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Dentistry data to inform and improve service

Crucial data collected by a new dentistry system is making sure that patients in Wales are receiving the right care in the right place.

The web based Dental Referral Management System offers comprehensive dashboards to make data easily available to health boards across Wales. The data reflects all dental referrals made; covering referrals into each health board, including the number to each speciality, the number of referrals to primary and secondary care and referrals returned due to error.

The data allows dentists to review patients’ care and monitor whether they are being seen in the appropriate setting. Having a digital system that regularly reports on patients’ journeys means that information is more reliable, resulting in more accurate planning and provision of future services.

Continually reviewing the system is a collaborative effort, achieved by NHS Wales Informatics Service, Public Health Wales, all Welsh health boards and the newly formed Clinical Reference Group (CRG) which has representatives from all these organisations.

To create the best possible system for dentists, the CRG is focusing on continued improvement and innovation, informing future developments and completing detailed data analysis to support decision making.

Alongside this, a study of the system is taking place to explore the possibility of integrating with existing national systems to create a seamless journey for patients needing specialist care.

Swansea Bay and Hywel Dda were the first health boards to use the system in March 2019, with all the rest of the health boards having access by the end of May. Since then, over 46,500 referrals have been made through the system, safely, securely and efficiently.

The DRMS is funded by the Welsh Government and provided by FDS consultants in conjunction with NHS Wales Informatics Service.