A growing body of research suggests an association between oral and systemic health, particularly in terms of the impact of periodontal disease on chronic illnesses, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and pregnancy outcomes. Numerous studies have already demonstrated that receiving concurrent care for both oral and medical disease enhances the effectiveness of both; further, some show reduced costs mainly due to lower hospital-related expenses.
In the April issue of Inside Dentistry, the cover story focuses on the potential integration of oral and primary health care and what affect this could have on the dental community. R. Bruce Donoff, DMD, MD, is among those seeking health care integration. Dr. Donoff, who is dean of the Harvard School of Dental Medicine (HSDM), hosted a forum on this issue at the school last fall.Dr. Donoff believes that integrating medical care and dental care within a single system is good for the patient and would improve overall health in this country.
“Burgeoning data from a whole host of insurance companies that insure both medically and dentally now indicate that there are economic as well as health benefits to be gained from including oral health care coverage in their plans,” says Dr. Donoff. This offers a compelling cost-saving case for integration during a time of skyrocketing health care costs.
The groundbreaking forum at Harvard brought together leaders outside the dental community, including insurers, business leaders, economists, and public health experts, to explore the costly impact of poor oral health care on overall health especially chronic disease.
Economist Clayton Christensen, one of the key opinion leaders at the Harvard forum, regards the separation of oral and overall health care as a problem whose solution may lie in application of the “disruptive innovation” economy theory for which he is known worldwide. “ The reason why health care is complicated and expensive and not accessible is because the pricing of individual services does not work.” According to Christensen “You have to put the pricing inside the system.”
This is the first in a series of articles from Inside Dentistry that will engage with our readership and offer a healthy forum for debate on the integration of oral and medical health care. To read the full article or to subscribe to the print edition go to our website at www.insidedentistry.net. You can also follow us on twitter at https://twitter.com/InsideDentistryor like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/InsideDentistry.
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Founded in 2005 with the launch of its flagship publication, Inside Dentistry, AEGIS Communications is the culmination of more than 100 combined years of professional experience and insight into healthcare publishing, education, and multimedia communications. Our extensive oral healthcare platform includes The Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry, Inside Dental Technology, DentalAegis, and CDEWorld. AEGIS provides the entire team—clinicians, technicians, hygienists, assistants, and students—with a comprehensive collection of accessible, high–quality, purposeful content designed to enhance their practice and patient care.