Abstract –Objective: To evaluate the use of a national register for strategic management of dental health services for 0–17-year-old Danish children and to identify determinants for their use of the system as a strategic tool in management of the services. Methods: During the period December 1997 to January 1998, the leaders of 268 private and public dental services were mailed a self-administered postal questionnaire on their use of the dental health reporting system of the Danish National Board of Health, the so-called SCOR-system. Ninety-six percent responded. The questionnaire contained questions about the use of SCOR (dependent variable) and the following independent variables: 1) the dental service in the municipality; and 2) the leader of the dental service, including his/her assessment of and knowledge related to the SCOR-system. Information concerning other independent variables such as: 1) the population and the socio-economic, cultural and political environment of the municipality; and 2) dental morbidity was collected as antecedent data from various official sources. Results: Seventy-seven percent of municipalities with public clinics and 68% of municipalities without public clinics used SCOR-tables for planning purposes and preventive intervention. Forty percent reported data for all age groups to the SCOR-system and 36% used non-obligatory special codes in order to monitor more specific questions. Use of SCOR data was positively associated with the dental health services being organized in public clinics, with a high number of public clinics in the municipality, and with a positive assessment among the dental leaders of the reporting system as a planning tool. Special codes for precavitated lesions and/or fissure sealants were used more frequently in municipalities where DMFS in 15-year-olds had decreased from 1995 to 1996. Otherwise no associations between dental health and use of the system could be demonstrated. Conclusions: SCOR is widely used as a strategic planning instrument concerning the Danish dental services for children and adolescents. The predictors associated with its use are partly structural characteristics of the municipality and its dental service and factors partly related to a leader's knowledge about and assessment of the system. These factors might be amenable to change through training of the users of the system.
Community Dentistry and Oral Epidemiology, 2001, Vol 29, Issue 2, p. 92-98