posted by Judd Wagner
on August 24, 2016
Improving the oral health of all – DentaQuest’s mission – means reaching those people who may struggle the most to access health care. In rural parts of the country, people face geographic, financial and other serious barriers to accessing health care services. What’s the solution? Innovative, evidence-based initiatives such as DentaQuest Institute’s Medical Oral Expanded Care (MORE Care) program.
As a partner to health plans, DentaQuest offers a variety of services to improve population health and access to dental care while lowering costs. Our unique enterprise allows us to cultivate novel ways of improving oral health, test concepts that show the most promise in reducing disparities and costs, and drive those best practices forward to deliver better outcomes for patients.
MORE Care is one program that holds the promise of improved access, lower costs, and better patient experience. The MORE Care program addresses oral health disparities by integrating oral health into primary care and developing dependable oral health care networks. Specifically, the program helps primary care practices in underserved areas effectively provide oral health risk assessments, oral exams, fluoride varnish, and referrals to dental partners for those needing further dental treatment.
Initially rolled out in rural areas, the program develops a robust network of local dental providers to support patients and provide treatment for those with dental disease. Focused on care integration and improved care coordination, MORE Care is testing solutions that can ease the burdens associated with an interprofessional approach to health care.
As the nonprofit, educational arm of DentaQuest, the DentaQuest Institute is dedicated to promoting optimal oral health through efficient, effective and high-quality care. Through its work to align clinical practice with evidence-based research, the DentaQuest Institute is helping oral health professionals find new ways to partner with patients to prevent and manage oral diseases.
To date, the DentaQuest Institute has partnered with the Colorado Rural Health Center, the South Carolina Office of Rural Health and the Pennsylvania Office of Rural Health to bring approximately 17 rural health clinics into the MORE Care Collaborative.
Rural populations are already at greater risk for many chronic conditions. But recent research has shown treatment of gum disease can actually lead to better health management for populations with chronic conditions. The MORE Care program acknowledges the challenges and needs of people living in rural areas of our country. Through the integration of medical and dental care, MORE Care is ensuring that people get the right care at the right time in a setting that is easy to access.
Integrated, patient-centered solutions like this are the most effective way to improve quality and population health while reducing costs.
Judd Wagner is Vice President of Sales for DentaQuest.