It has been an exciting year for the DentaQuest Institute as we helped dental sites manage, treat, and prevent early childhood caries (ECC). Led by Faculty Chair, Man Wai Ng, DDS, MPH, Dentist-in-Chief at Boston Children’s Hospital, 32 sites, representing FQHCs, academic hospitals, and private practices, worked to implement a chronic disease management protocol in their practices. Over the course of 18 months, teams were challenged to implement caries risk assessment, risk-based recall appointments, self-management goal setting for at-home care, fluoride and other remineralization techniques, as well as minimally invasive restorative treatment for children 0-60 months old. Based on the premise that caries is a multifactorial disease, the disease management approach has led to many positive changes in clinical practice and parental engagement. By the end of the collaborative, nearly 90% of patients from participating providers received a caries risk assessment, and close to 80% of patients from participating providers received self-management goals. Their commitment to learning another way to deliver care and using data to determine whether or not the changes they are making are leading to improvements is inspiring.
Because of these results, we knew more people needed to learn about this disease management approach. In May we launched, as a pilot, the Early Childhood Caries Virtual Practicum, which consists of an entirely virtual program designed to spread the Institute’s disease management approach. Twenty-one dental sites are participating, which includes monthly webinars that deliver clinical content, as well as tips and strategies to test and implement this new approach into clinical practice. Pilot teams have access to a comprehensive course site that contains resources and tools designed to assist in adopting a disease management approach in their offices. A discussion board provides the opportunity to chat, share best practices, and learn from each other. Teams are working diligently to incorporate standardized caries risk assessment into clinical care. This new process requires a different skillset in order to effectively communicate with caregivers about children’s oral health and track progress using data.
The DentaQuest Institute is using lessons learned from both the ECC Collaborative (Phases I, II, and III) and the ECC Virtual Practicum to develop an innovative learning environment so that many more clinicians can learn about disease management and our approach. We look forward to sharing more of our work with you in the months to come!
In other news, we recently shared our early childhood caries work at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. Adam Richman, Quality Improvement Project Manager, presented a poster on the Institute’s early childhood caries initiatives on Monday, November 2. Thank you to those who stopped by, we enjoyed meeting you!