Centralized automated quality assurance for large scale health care systems. A pilot method for some aspects of dental radiography

Douglas Benn, Nick J. Minden, James C. Pettigrew, Minbo Shim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


President Clinton's Health Security Act proposes the formation of large scale health plans with improved quality assurance. Dental radiography consumes 4% ($ 1.2 billion in 1990) of total dental expenditure yet regular systematic office quality assurance is not performed. A pilot automated method is described for assessing density of exposed film and fogging of unexposed processed film. A workstation and camera were used to input intraoral radiographs. Test images were produced from a phantom jaw with increasing exposure times. Two radiologists subjectively classified the images as too light, acceptable, or too dark. A computer program automatically classified global grey level histograms from the test images as too light, acceptable, or too dark. The program correctly classified 95% of 88 clinical films. Optical density of unexposed film in the range 0.15 to 0.52 measured by computer was reliable to better than 0.01. Further work is needed to see if comprehensive centralized automated radiographic quality assurance systems with feedback to dentists are feasible, are able to improve quality, and are significantly cheaper than conventional clerical methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-254
Number of pages8
JournalOral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Dentistry(all)

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