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DentaQuest Institute White Paper Examines Advantage Dental’s Approach to Person-Centered Care

Prevention focus results in improved outcomes and lower costs for patient care

WESTBOROUGH, MA – The DentaQuest Institute, a national nonprofit dedicated to promoting optimal oral health through efficient, effective and high-quality care, today released its newest white paper, “A Model for Better Health, Better Access, and Better Value: Advantage Dental’s Approach.” Institute researchers worked collaboratively with Advantage Dental, a leading dental accountable care organization in Oregon, to examine Advantage’s unique, person-centered oral health model.
 “Advantage Dental has created a highly unique person-centered model that emphasizes prevention at every stage of life,” said Dr. Natalia Chalmers, lead author and director of analytics and publications at the DentaQuest Institute. “Our examination revealed that Advantage’s approach improved access, while utilization of evidence-based preventive services like sealants reduced the need for more invasive treatments and lowered the cost of keeping their patients healthy throughout their lifespan."
In 2012, Oregon implemented a novel approach to Medicaid by authorizing and contracting with 16 coordinated care organizations (CCOs). Advantage Dental was one of the first dental accountable care organizations to build a successful prevention-focused business model by partnering with CCOs to deliver care to 300,000 Medicaid patients.
"When I started Advantage Dental, I knew that the dental profession wasn’t doing nearly enough to address the social determinants that impact the oral health of children and families," said Dr. Mike Shirtcliff, president and founder of Advantage Dental. "Today, Advantage Dental is improving the health of the population we serve by addressing the needs of the whole person, not just their mouth."
DentaQuest Institute researchers interviewed Advantage Dental leadership and program staff to understand the key elements of its unique approach. They then analyzed Advantage Dental patient data (2011-2016) and compared results to those of a national sample of Medicaid patients (2013 - 2015) from the Truven Health Marketscan Medicaid Database.
Several key components of the Advantage model were identified as having contributed to its success. 

  • Care plans are based on patients’ risk profiles so that patients get the right care at the right time.

  • Disease management strategies reduce the need for restorative services throughout a patients’ lifespan.

  • Ongoing investment in cultural competency programs for clinicians and staff help them identify, understand, and address the impact of social determinants of health on their patients’ oral health and overall wellbeing.

  • Expanded practice dental hygienists provide care outside the dental clinic setting, bringing care to patients in the community.

  • Investment in technology and connectivity has led to more efficiently delivered services and less unwarranted use of emergency departments.

“Our team set out to uncover whether Advantage’s person-centered model of care was improving outcomes while lowering per capita costs,” said Tequila Terry, executive director of the DentaQuest Institute. “The data revealed that when an accountable care model in oral health is supported by the state Medicaid agency, it can do just that.”
Advantage receives a capitated payment linked to quality metrics for services provided to Medicaid patients which facilitates the organization’s ability to invest in early and ongoing preventive care as well as support services beyond direct care. These other services address non-clinical factors impacting the oral health – and overall health – of the people Advantage serves.
To learn more and download a copy of “A Model for Better Health, Better Access, and Better Value: Advantage Dental’s Approach”, visit www.dentaquestinstitute.org.

About the DentaQuest Institute 

The DentaQuest Institute is a not-for-profit organization focused on improving efficiency, effectiveness and quality in dental care. Through its work to align clinical practice with science-based research, the DentaQuest Institute is helping oral health professionals find new ways to partner with patients to prevent and manage oral diseases. This work ensures patients get the right care, at the right time, with the right outcome. The DentaQuest Institute is an affiliate of DentaQuest, a leading U.S. oral health enterprise.