16:45 PM

How Do We Integrate Value into Oral Healthcare to Consistently Improve Health?

By Dr. Rob Compton, Vice President, Business Intelligence, DentaQuest

Energized by the ongoing discussion of healthcare in America, we are witnessing an unprecedented shift in the way we think about care management.

A particularly hot topic is the definition of value within the context of healthcare. How do we determine that optimal intersection of quality and affordability? And, perhaps most importantly, how do we – whether benefits providers, healthcare professionals, or patients – integrate value into oral healthcare in a way that consistently improves the health of the individual?

We know more care doesn’t necessarily equal better care, and that preventive measures haven’t always received their due. But the old mindset of “drill and fill” is fading fast. The question now becomes: what next? If we have the opportunity to create a new paradigm for oral healthcare, what does that look like and how do we manage it?

This is a challenging time – but one full of opportunities for innovation.

One such innovation is the way we are engaging all as partners in the goal of better health. This new, collaborative approach to oral healthcare rests on a foundation of proactive partnership between dentists, patients, and benefit providers. By offering enhanced benefits for higher-risk patients, data reports and a prevention-focused incentive program for our health care providers, along with educational resources for members, we’re seeing movement to better lifelong oral health.

This approach already is playing a vital role in care management. In a Massachusetts study involving a commercial PPO program, reports were sent to participating PPO dentists that identified patients who were more vulnerable to dental disease. Using these “Patient Prevention” reports, participating dentists were rewarded for their extra efforts to provide those patients with appropriate preventive care. After 12 months, collected data show a significant increase in the percentage of higher-risk patients in the program receiving recommended preventive treatments.

The chart above shows the one-year results of what I believe is a breakthrough system of care. Children ages 6 to 18 who have had cavities are receiving fluoride treatments at an increase of 30%. Similarly, we’ve seen a 30% increase in the number of adult patients with gum disease who are receiving periodontal cleanings every six months.

The numbers achieved so far through this collaborative approach focused on quality and value in care embodies our mission of “Improving the oral health of all.” We know dental disease is almost completely preventable, and we’re committed to eradicating it through best practices of prevention and early treatment. I’d invite you to find out more on the DentaQuest website.