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Rural Health Information Hub

Types of Metrics Commonly Used in Evaluations

The specific goals of the rural oral health program should be considered when determining the metrics for program evaluation. Rural oral health programs collect qualitative and quantitative information on program processes, outputs, and outcomes. Common metrics include:

Demographic Information on Participants or Practices

For program participants:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Type of health insurance
  • Socio-economic status
  • Language spoken

For implementing programs:

  • Gross annual operating expenses
  • Revenue and revenue per encounter
  • Average length of time that a dental clinic is fully scheduled
  • Payer mix

Process Measures

  • Number of encounters for oral health services per month or year
  • Number of dental professionals trained to use an evidence-based curricula
  • Number of dental professionals providing oral healthcare services
  • Number and level of participation of organizations involved in the program
  • Number of preventive procedures provided
  • Number of referrals to other providers
  • Number of participants who express awareness of the existence of oral health programs in their communities

Outcome Measures

  • Frequency of tooth brushing
  • Time spent brushing teeth
  • Reasons for not brushing teeth
  • Time since the last visit to the dentist
  • Preventive services received during the past two years
  • Health outcomes (oral health improvements)

Impact Measures

  • Percentage increase in patients served
  • Percentage increase in oral health exams given by dental clinics
  • Amount of additional revenue available to health centers/ dental clinics

Resources to Learn More

Educators' Guide to Service-Learning Program Evaluation
Provides information on the outcome measures of program evaluation and the process used to design them.
Organization(s): RMC Research Corporation

Pediatric Oral Health Quality and Performance Measures: Environmental Scan
Presents findings from an environmental scan of performance and quality measures for pediatric populations. Describes existing measures and gaps in quality measurement concepts, and presents an initial set of pediatric oral health performance measures for use by dental professionals.
Organization(s): American Dental Association (ADA), Dental Quality Alliance (DQA)
Date: 2012

The Dental Dashboard
Describes an interactive data and chart presentation tool designed for community health centers (CHCs) to help them measure the quality of their dental programs.
Organization(s): National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA)