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Medical-Dental Integration Can Help Close Oral Health Gaps in Rural America

DentaQuest symposium report to inform interprofessional practice improvements

A group of more than 40 industry leaders have identified important considerations for addressing gaps in oral health care and rural health disparities, according to a recent BMC Oral Health report. In the article, “Narrowing the Rural Oral Healthcare Gap,” researchers at The DentaQuest Partnership for Oral Health Advancement analyzed discussions and findings from the 2017 Rural Interprofessional Oral Health Practice Symposium.

With the goal of building shared knowledge around oral health disparities, the symposium convened a variety of health and policy leaders to discuss the current state of oral health care, a desired future state, and what’s needed to achieve that future state. Participants ultimately came to consensus on how to advance interprofessional practice (IPP), also referred to as medical-dental integration, to begin addressing those disparities.

Experts agreed the current system is fragmented and improved integration will bridge many gaps. However, they note, IPP can only be successful with consistency across integrated care structure, value-based financial models, and universal population health target outcomes. Additionally, attendees discussed needs for educational standards and more consumer engagement.

“The symposium was an excellent opportunity to hear from the nation’s leaders in health, oral health, and rural health,” said Kelli Ohrenberger, the DentaQuest Partnership manager of IPP. “Our collective insight, which was captured in the recently released article, will inform future collaboration and work to improve oral health care access and outcomes for people living in rural America.”

Read more about the outcomes of the symposium and the importance of the role that IPP can play in addressing oral health care disparities in rural areas across the country. And for more on The DentaQuest Partnership, visit https://www.dentaquestinstitute.org/dentaquest-partnership-for-oral-health-advancement.


About DentaQuest

DentaQuest is a purpose-driven oral health care company that is dedicated to advancing oral health for all. We bring a uniquely holistic perspective to our work – as we manage dental and vision benefits for more than 27 million Americans and provide direct care to patients through our network of more than 85 oral health centers in five states.

DentaQuest provides flexible and customized dental solutions for Medicaid and CHIP, Medicare Advantage, small and large businesses and individuals throughout the U.S. Our clients range from state governments to leading health plans.

At DentaQuest, we believe that business performance and social impact go hand-in-hand, and we have provided more than $200 million in funding for research, grants, and programs to advance oral health in communities across the country.

Our mission is bold – our commitment is strong. By advancing oral health for everyone, we will achieve better health for all. Welcome to Preventistry.

To learn more about DentaQuest and Preventistry, visit Preventistry.org, and follow us on social: Twitter @DentaQuest, Facebook www.facebook.com/DentaQuest, Instagram @Inside_DentaQuest, and LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/company/DentaQuest.