Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Patterns and Factors Influencing Dental Service Utilization in Iran

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Insurance databases serve as a crucial repository of information that can significantly influence healthcare decisions, particularly in the realm of dental services. By analyzing this data, stakeholders can enhance risk assessments, predict outcomes more effectively, and ultimately improve service delivery. This study delves into the utilization patterns of dental services among individuals with complementary insurance in Iran, employing a sophisticated data mining methodology to uncover influential factors.

Methodology and Data Analysis

The study utilized a secondary data analysis approach, examining a comprehensive dental insurance dataset from Iran in 2022. The Cross-Industry Standard Process for Data Mining (CRISP-DM) framework was employed to extract meaningful insights. The outcome of interest was the utilization of dental services, which were categorized into nine distinct groups: diagnostic, preventive, periodontal, restorative, endodontic, prosthetic, implant, extraction/surgical, and orthodontic procedures. Independent variables such as age, gender, family size, insurance history, franchise, insurance limit, and policyholder were analyzed using a multinomial logistic regression model.

Findings and Utilization Patterns

The dataset comprised 654,418 records from 118,268 insured individuals. Restorative treatments emerged as the most frequently utilized service, constituting approximately 38% of the total services, followed by diagnostic (18.35%) and endodontic (13.3%) care. The highest rate of dental service utilization was observed among individuals aged between 36 and 60 years. Family dynamics also played a role, with families of three to four members showing higher usage rates.

Further, individuals with a one-year insurance history, those contracted with a 20% franchise, individuals with a high insurance limit, and those insured under small policyholders exhibited the highest rates of dental service utilization. The regression model confirmed that all independent variables significantly influenced the usage of dental services, although the patterns varied across different service categories.

Actionable Insights for Stakeholders

Based on the study’s findings, stakeholders can derive several actionable insights:

  • Target preventive care programs towards middle-aged individuals who show high utilization rates.
  • Focus on family-oriented dental health plans, especially for families of three to four members.
  • Adjust insurance policies to better accommodate individuals with high insurance limits and those under smaller policyholders.
  • Implement educational initiatives to increase awareness about the importance of diagnostic and endodontic care among the insured population.

In conclusion, restorative treatments are the most commonly utilized dental services among insured individuals in Iran, followed by diagnostic and endodontic procedures. The utilization patterns are significantly influenced by demographic characteristics and insurance attributes. These insights can guide policy adjustments and targeted interventions to optimize dental healthcare services.

Original Article: BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2024 Jun 24;24(1):180. doi: 10.1186/s12911-024-02572-6.

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