007 – Understanding the relationship between dental professionalism and PP status

  • Chief Investigator A: Dr Denise Bailey
  • Chief Investigator B: Prof Mike Morgan
  • Chief Investigator C: A/Prof Clare Delaney
  • Associate Investigator: Dr Ross Musolino
  • Research Collaborator: Tan Nguyen
  • Support: ADAVB


Over the last few decades there have been major environmental and contextual changes in health care, such as the proliferation of private health insurance (including dental insurance) and the emergence of a “health care marketplace”. One method by which health insurers hope to contain costs and manage treatment quality is via contracted dentist schemes, commonly known as Preferred Provider Schemes, under which the dentist agrees to work in a particular manner at a pre-specified fee rate for the contracted period. In return, the funding agent promotes the service of the contracted dentist(s) to its patient members. When working under such contractual arrangements dentists become implementers of policies determined by the funding agent.


  • Provide some insight into how a change in the working landscape is impacting on dental professionalism, autonomy and patient relationships
  • Explore how individual dentists are responding to and adjusting their work practices in light of their preferred provider status


The project found:

  • Preferred provider schemes impact on dentists’ decision-making autonomy and potentially influence the development of trust and rapport within the dentist-patient relationship
  • A need to develop strategies to respond to altered work conditions