By Carson Wolf

In Spring of 2022, the College of Dental Medicine (CODM) at Roseman University of Health Sciences opened a new state-of-the-art dental clinic. Along with this new clinic, CODM is set to transition from a four-year to a three-year dental program incorporating a Team-Based model of education curriculum into their clinics. The new clinic has two reception and patient waiting areas, twenty-four dental operatories, two quiet rooms and provides the ability to accommodate up to ten thousand patient visits annually. It also includes several collaborative student workspaces with innovative integrated technology throughout, and it is configured with the latest interior modular construction that can be easily reconfigured based on future patient care or educational needs or to meet emerging technology changes. The space is light, open, and inviting; the operatories are wrapped in windows, offering spectacular views of the Wasatch mountains and surrounding horse pastures.

“The new three-year program will also significantly reduce student debt. The current four-year program costs students the maximum amount borrowed on loans for Tuition, Fees and Living expenses $490,000,” said Dr. Frank Licari, Dean of the College of Dental Medicine at Roseman University. “With the new three-year program that debt level will decrease to $360,000, more than a twenty-five percent reduction.”

As an expansion to the existing Roseman Dental clinical space, the Team-Based Education clinic will share the same high-quality patient-centered operating procedures, general and specialty dentistry services, and affordable pricing. However, there are very distinct differences between the two clinical spaces. In the existing clinic space, the faculty dentist, dental hygienist, and dental assistants oversee the students in providing direct patient care and treatment while students fill the support positions. The Team-Based Education clinic will give a fresh perspective on this traditional teaching model. The new model will allow the faculty dentist and dental hygienist to directly provide team-based general dentistry care to patients and teach students their initial procedures in the clinic. Dental assistants will also be more actively engaged in providing direct chairside assistance to the providers. Students will continue to rotate and train through all support positions, including dental assistant and hygienist, emphasizing learning how to treat a volume of patients as a dentist, thus creating a student ‘Team-Based’ educational model and service delivery in a clinical setting. This updated perspective is the vision of an educational model that prepares graduates for a future-ready group practice environment. As such, Roseman will develop a futuristic faculty educator and a highly efficient person-centered care delivery system in which student learning and assessment occur without compromising overall patient care outcomes.

Each team will have eight students and one faculty dentist (Team-Based Educator) to treat assigned patients. The faculty dentist is accountable for the patients progressing through treatment and actively interacting with students by actively demonstrating and providing probing questions to assess student knowledge and progress through competence. Students will be paired in teams based on the provider’s patient needs and skill level, and all procedures will have a recommended time interval for completion. The vision and significant focus of the clinic is to provide person-centered care at maximum efficiency. Efficiency will be collected via integrated technology throughout the clinic and assessed under specific quality control measures.

“Our innovative clinic model has students seeing four to six patients a day. We can see students become competent much earlier in the curriculum and were able to re-design the entire curriculum to a three-year program with the same or better outcomes of a four-year program,” said Dr. Frank Licari. “Our class of 2022 just had a one hundred percent first-time pass rate on the new Integrated National Dental Board Exam.”

It is a given that dental school clinics prioritize high-quality oral healthcare, which effectively prevents and manages dental disease. The Team-Based Education clinic’s quality management system is designed to promote quality-driven oral healthcare, is evidence-based, and increases the likelihood of desired health outcomes. The clinic considers the quality of care in the fundamental areas of structure, process, and outcomes and will assess six specific aims for improvement: safe, effective, efficient, person-centered, timely, and equitable.

The Team-Based Education clinic will follow defined best practices. Such strategies include, but are not limited to, a formally documented policy that defines all aspects of quality assurance and improvement, tracking and reporting quality metrics to identify problems, resolve issues and implement changes, and solicit patient feedback. These practices will demonstrate that the program is meeting community standards and pursuing excellence.

As part of Roseman’s commitment to graduate future-ready practitioners, the Team-Based Education clinical space will also significantly focus on technology integration through all aspects of the clinic. The clinic is equipped with collaborative student workspaces with large interactive digital screens, digital signage, scheduling displays, etc. It has built-in innovative Bluetooth technology with data-collecting sensors to optimize operational efficiency, student education, and patient care. Patient appointments will be monitored for efficiency, timeliness, and overall patient satisfaction.

“When fully operational, our new three-year curriculum and team-based clinic model should significantly lower student debt, teach students to work and lead teams and provide graduates ready for group practice environments,” said Dr. Frank Licari.

Roseman believes the Team-Based Education clinic’s educational model is the future of dental education and will serve as a model moving forward. The College of Dental Medicine looks forward to welcoming its first students to the new state-of-the-art clinic!