Clinical Judgment Laboratory

"Dentists' judgment is the master driver of oral health."

The Dugoni School of Dentistry is among the first dental schools to create a Clinical Judgment Laboratory devoted to research on the role of professional decision making among practicing dentists.

The lab, which launched in the summer of 2017, is a virtual collaboration of scholars, practitioners, policy makers and industry members seeking to understand and influence dentists' clinical judgment by creating and sharing theory and data.

Dentists' behavior is the independent variable (what can be changed) and oral health is the dependent variable (what we are trying to improve). The dominant approach in research up to this point has been to justify technologies. The Clinical Judgment Laboratory's focus will be on results, and what choices are made to achieve them.

Examples of Issues
  • Who should be treated, when, and how?
  • What are the standards for acceptable outcomes?
  • What is the role of the patient in care, independently and in collaboration with clinicians?
  • How do dentists blend evidence and experience, and what else determines treatment decisions?
  • How do practitioners learn about innovations and what prompts them to try and adopt them?
  • How does context (staff, community, regulations, compensation) affect judgment?
  • How do practitioners respond to unfamiliar and unanticipated situations?
  • How do dentists characterize personal and professional satisfaction?
  • Can oral health be defined in measurable terms?
Goals
  1. Improve patient health and practitioner satisfaction
  2. Establish clinical judgment as a legitimate area of scholarship
  3. Advocate for outcomes-based protocols, policies, and technology
  4. Recruit, train, and support scholars and investors to this project
  5. Bring distinction to Pacific
  6. Serve as nexus for funding

For more information about getting involved in the Clinical Judgment Lab, please contact Dr. Dave Chambers, professor of Diagnostic Sciences, at dchamber@pacific.edu.