Access to care is among the factors contributing to oral health disparities. Health care services focused on promoting, maintaining, attaining and restoring oral health may be grouped into two types: oral healthcare and dental care. Oral health is an aspect of overall health and may be broadly defined as a state of being free from pain, diseases and disorders affecting the oral cavity. Oral healthcare (or the “care” of oral health) is a part of the overall patient care and includes activities such as risk assessment, health promotion and education and referral for dental care services. Dental care is a critical component of oral health care which includes health services specifically focused on maintaining, attaining or restoring oral health. Whereas oral health care is broadly focused on identifying need and activating and engaging patients, dental care is specifically focused on the delivery of intervention and restoration. Oral healthcare is within the domain of all healthcare team members. Dental care, on the other hand, requires specific knowledge, training and, in some instances, licensure or certification. Dental care services are provided by health care team members who have completed the appropriate training and possess the required skills. The bottom-line: oral health care is everybody’s business, whereas dental care is the responsibility of specific team members.
In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a report, Improving Access to Oral Health Care for Vulnerable and Underserved Populations, which suggested that collaborative and multidisciplinary healthcare teams working across the health care system in various settings were needed to effectively address oral health in America. Today, health care organizations are turning to innovative health care delivery models to improve access to oral health care and reduce these oral health disparities.
Join Drs. Hannah Maxey, PhD, and Connor Norwood, PhD, MHA, this fall as they present a broad overview of the various strategies health care organizations have employed for oral health integration. This webinar will specifically focus on recently published research that examines how Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and primary care physicians have played a central role in oral health integration efforts throughout the country. This webinar will be delivered in collaboration with the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Workforce Studies at Montana State University. Stay tuned for more details regarding this event.