MORE Care is a new initiative of the DentaQuest Institute that focus on the integration of oral health into primary care. In 2015, a pilot collaborative in South Carolina was developed. In this pilot, DQI is working with the South Carolina Office of Rural Health, the Medical University of South Carolina, and six rural primary care practices to develop and test strategies for the effective integration of primary and secondary oral health prevention into the rural primary care practice. With the assistance of the South Carolina Dental Association, the project team is also working with local dental providers to connect the participating rural primary care practices with dental providers so that patients identified in primary care as needing further treatment can be easily referred to a local dental provider.
On August 21st, the primary care teams convened in Columbia, South Carolina at the SC Office of Rural Health to learn from local, state and national experts about integrating oral health into the primary care practices. Primary care teams shared about why oral health was important to their practice and their patients, gained knowledge about oral health and oral health risk assessments, and developed quality improvement skills. Throughout the fall and early winter, the teams are testing strategies to integrate risk assessments, oral exams, fluoride varnish and oral health patient/parent education into their workflows. The project team and faculty are also working on connecting each primary care team with a local dental provider so that patients needing additional care can be easily referred through a defined referral relationship to a dentist. Teams will reconvene for a second learning session in Columbia on December 4th.
“We’re enthusiastic about the work that these rural primary care teams are doing to improve the oral health of patients who otherwise might not receive care,” said Sean Boynes, Director of Interprofessional Practice for the DentaQuest Institute. “Particularly in rural areas where dental providers are sparse and resources are limited, the delivery of preventive oral health care and education to patients as part of their overall health is extremely beneficial for patient outcomes.”
To learn more about MORE Care, contact Kelli Ohrenberger at firstname.lastname@example.org.