Provider updates

A new type of dental visit to meet members’ needs during the public health emergency

Sep 23, 2022, 15:49 PM

In the early days of the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), CareOregon Dental, in collaboration with our Primary Dental Provider (PDP) network, developed additional guidance for clinics to expand and extend teledentistry services to patients as an innovative way to engage members, improve health outcomes and provide dental services in a financially sustainable method for partners. Dentistry, however, is highly procedural and the provision of most dental services requires a physical interaction not feasible via common telehealth models. To address this gap for pediatric populations, we launched a pilot to offer video visits with home hygiene kits, including fluoride varnish application, which are sent to the patient prior to the video visit.

Clackamas Health Centers, Neighborhood Health Center, and Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center joined our pilot’s Learning Collaborative and Work Sessions to develop workflows and identify key patient and educational materials. Items piloted include outreach scripting to schedule these unique visits, video visit capabilities and troubleshooting for providers, and patient materials for the hygiene kits. After the successful completion of two Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) cycles of the pilot, we are excited to announce this preventive teledentistry home hygiene kit program is offered to our entire PDP network.

As part of this program, CareOregon Dental offers partners the full program toolkit, technical assistance and patient home hygiene kits. These kits are comprised of an age-appropriate pediatric toothbrush, toothpaste, flossers, fluoride application, and guidance for the video appointment. Upon scheduling, staff can mail these postage-paid hygiene kits directly to patients. This home hygiene tele-video program aims to increase members’ access to preventive dental services. We hope this supplementary program will be a valuable resource to support patient engagement strategies as we navigate through the PHE and resulting staff shortages.

Thank you to pilot partners for their thought partnership and efforts in developing the preventive video visit concept.

CareOregon featured this pilot in our Annual report 2021 (careoregon.org). The article can be found under Stories- click on Piloting teledentistry for kids.

To learn more about this program offering email oralhealth@careoregon.org for support.