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A whole-team approach to optimising general dental practice teamwork: development of the Skills Optimisation Self-Evaluation Toolkit (SOSET)

Abstract

Introduction Studies across the health service reveal benefits of teamwork and barriers to its optimal use. Drawing upon the established Maturity Matrix Dentistry method, the Skills Optimisation Self-Evaluation Toolkit (SOSET) was developed to enable the whole dental team to critically review how they address skill-mix in delivery of patient-centred oral healthcare in their practice. This paper outlines the development of the SOSET and explores its usefulness to general dental practice teams.

Methods Research literature and interview data from general dental practice teams were coded for high-level factors (positive and negative) influencing teamwork. We used this coding to identify skill-mix domains, and within each, define criteria. The SOSET process was refined following consultations with dental professionals and piloting.

Results Eighty-four papers were coded and 38 dental team members were interviewed across six sites. The SOSET matrix was developed containing nine domains reflecting the use of skill-mix, each containing six development-level criteria. The domains addressed factors such as team beliefs on skill-mix and knowledge of team members' scope of practice, patient demand, the business case, staffing and training, and the practice premises. The process was piloted in 11 practices across South Wales, and feedback was received from 92 staff members. Results showed that the SOSET process was straightforward, that the whole team could contribute to discussion and that it would be used to improve practice. Following piloting, four domains were merged into two new domains, and the number of criteria within all domains was reduced and the wording simplified (seven domains, with four criteria each).

Conclusion We used a systematic and rigorous process to develop the SOSET to support dental teams to progress their teamwork practices. Its usefulness was demonstrated in the pilot. The SOSET is now being offered to general dental practices across Wales.

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Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge the contribution of the QI tutors - Kathryn Marshall, Sue Stokes and Lesley Taylor - and the pilot practices, as well as those who contributed to the evening session. For more information on the SOSET please visit: https://dental.walesdeanery.org/quality-improvement/soset---skills-optimiser-tool or email HEIW.DentalQI@wales.nhs.uk.

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Correspondence to Emma Barnes.

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The wider study was funded by Health and Care Research Wales (project ref RfPPB-15-1101).

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Barnes, E., Bullock, A., Moons, K. et al. A whole-team approach to optimising general dental practice teamwork: development of the Skills Optimisation Self-Evaluation Toolkit (SOSET). Br Dent J 228, 459–463 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41415-020-1367-3

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