• The Value of Evidence-Based Computer Simulation of Oral Health Outcomes for Management Analysis of the Alaska Dental Health Aide Program

      Kiley, Daniel P.; Haley, Sharman; Saylor, Ben; Saylor, Brian L. (Institute of Social and Economic Research, University of Alaska Anchorage, 2008-03)
      Objectives: To create an evidence‐based research tool to inform and guide policy and program managers as they develop and deploy new service delivery models for oral disease prevention and intervention. Methods: A village‐level discrete event simulation was developed to project outcomes associated with different service delivery patterns. Evidence‐ based outcomes were associated with dental health aide activities, and projected indicators (DMFT, F+ST, T‐health, SiC, CPI, ECC) were proxy for oral health outcomes. Model runs representing the planned program implementation, a more intensive staffing scenario, and a more robust prevention scenario, generated 20‐year projections of clinical indicators; graphs and tallies were analyzed for trends and differences. Results: Outcomes associated with alternative patterns of service delivery indicate there is potential for substantial improvement in clinical outcomes with modest program changes. Not all segments of the population derive equal benefit when program variables are altered. Children benefit more from increased prevention, while adults benefit more from intensive staffing. Conclusions: Evidence‐ based simulation is a useful tool to analyze the impact of changing program variables on program outcome measures. This simulation informs dental managers of the clinical outcomes associated with policy and service delivery variables. Simulation tools can assist public health managers in analyzing and understanding the relationship between their policy decisions and long‐term clinical outcomes.