A qualitative study exploring strategies to improve the inter-professional management of diabetes and periodontitis

Susan M. Bissett (Lead / Corresponding author), Philip M. Preshaw, Justin Presseau, Tim Rapley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
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Aims: To explore inter-professional communication and collaboration in guideline-concordant diabetes and periodontitis care.

Methods: Qualitative design using iterations of workshops to identify ways to improve multidisciplinary working attended by staff from medical and dental primary care practices, and people with diabetes (n = 43). Workshops were semi-structured around a topic guide. Recruitment was via the UK Clinical Research Network, and a patient and public involvement group in the North of England.

Results: Medical practice participants were unaware of the bidirectional evidence linking diabetes and periodontitis and stated that they had never received a referral from a dental professional in this context. The patient participants with diabetes reported never having been informed about the links between diabetes and periodontitis from either their family physician or dentist. Medical and dental practice participants gave negative accounts of inter-professional communication, with claims of inappropriate requests and defensive or non-responses that stymied future interaction. Indirect communication through the patient was suggested as an alternative to direct communication.

Conclusions: Indirect referral, whereby the patient is signposted to a healthcare professional, was suggested by medical and dental professionals as a useful alternative to the traditional (and time consuming) letter or telephone call, particularly in the case of suspected diabetes or periodontitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-132
Number of pages7
JournalPrimary Care Diabetes
Issue number2
Early online date9 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Diabetes
  • Inter-professional
  • Multidisciplinary
  • Periodontitis
  • Qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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