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Texas Center for Oral Healthcare Quality and Safety

A Learning Health System (LHS) is one in which patients and clinicians work together to choose care based on best evidence, and to drive discovery as a natural outgrowth of every clinical encounter in order to ensure the right care to the right patient at the right time.

Our mission at the TCOHQS is to improve health by implementing a person-centered learning health system to ensure everyone receives safe, effective, and appropriate oral healthcare.

We are improving oral health by using Big Data and analytics to continuously evaluate dental care and create better patient outcomes. The center develops innovative learning health systems where informatics tools help dental providers capture patient data that researchers and computer programs analyze to improve care. The improvement process is ongoing, with patient care informing research, and research advancing patient care.

Focus Areas: 

  • Learning Health System for Dentistry
  • Improving Quality of Care for Individuals and Populations


Despite our tremendous investment in oral health, we have an untapped opportunity to improve the quality of care and prevent accidental harm to patients caused by routine dental care.


Learning Health System Informatics Infrastructure

  • BigMouth Dental Data Repository: our researchers have developed a multi-institutional database containing data on over 3 million patients from dental EHR systems 
  • Dental Diagnostic System (DDS): our researchers developed and implemented a standardized language to describe oral health diagnosis, implemented in the EHR and allow the tracking of patient outcomes

Patient Safety

  • Our researchers developed a Patient Safety Toolkit to allow dental organizations to efficiency mine EHR data to identify and classify adverse events
  • Conducted large scale chart reviews and determined incidence of Adverse Events in dental offices
  • Assessed Safety Culture at 4 Large Dental Institutions and identified areas for improvement
  • Awarded an AHRQ Patient Safety Learning Lab grant to use systems engineering principles to improve dental safety

Quality Improvement and Population Health

  • Implementing and validated 10 dental quality measures to assess performance across dental institutions
  • Used BigMouth and EHR data to efficiently collect quality measures, assess the relationship between these measures and longitudinal outcomes, and assess measures across sites. 
  • Our teams develop interactive dashboards with actionable information to drive quality improvements