Committed to the premise that the same standards of review for clinical practice may be applied to clinical teaching, The University of Texas Health Science Center Dental Branch at Houston began credentialing clinical faculty in 1997 as part of its quality assurance and risk management program, one of the first dental schools in the country to do so. Credentialing, modeled after health care institutions such as hospitals, is general and procedure-specific involving the review of qualifications such as licensure, training, education, experience, and performance of professional practitioners; measuring those qualifications against pre-established criteria; and granting of "clinical privileges" to clinical faculty to perform or supervise procedures for which they are deemed qualified, based on that review. The development process included the leadership of the Quality Assurance and Risk Management Committee who met with all interested parties, explained the rationale and justification for credentialing, and successfully gained the support of the clinical department chairs, clinical faculty, faculty senate, and the administration of the school in implementing the credentials process. Evaluation of this process indicates that it has been useful in providing a mechanism to address a variety of patient care and clinical education issues such as faculty competency, compliance, and accommodations through a peer review process.
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