Dentists for Oral Health Innovation
Dentists unite to improve patient access
Currently, more than 47 million people have difficulty accessing dental care in their communities. Because of this alarming reality, a group of dentists have teamed up to form Dentists for Oral Health Innovation, or DOHI. The coalition has a singular focus – to help expand patient access to high-quality, cost-effective dental care. The launch of DOHI comes at a critical time with America facing a serious gap between patients who have access to dental care and those without it.
"DOHI started with a group of dentists coming together who wanted to advocate for patient access to dental care."
Samson Liu, DDS, MAGD, MBA
President of Dentists for Oral Health Innovation and Vice President of Clinical Affairs at Heartland Dental Care
As an organization that represents thousands of dentists nationwide, DOHI welcomes all dentists committed to providing affordable, quality dental care. Members include solo practitioners, dentists operating in group practices and dentists who affiliate with dental service organizations (DSOs) for administrative support services. DOHI is guided by a board of directors comprised of leading dentists across the country, including Executive Director Edward H. Meckler, DMD, and President Samson Liu, DDS, MAGD, MBA. "DOHI started with a group of dentists coming together who wanted to advocate for patient access to dental care," said Dr. Liu. "We believe that there is not one solution to the disparities in oral health and all practice models have a central role in addressing this issue. It is essential for America’s entire dental community to work together to expand access to convenient and affordable dental care in at-risk communities nationwide."
Patients face a number of barriers to oral health access, whether geographical, financial or educational.
- Geography: Some states have just 65 dentists per 100,000 people — fewer than the number of physicians for that same population.
- Financial: As many as 130 million Americans live without dental insurance coverage. (1) According to a report by the Institute of Medicine, patients who do not have dental insurance are approximately two-thirds less likely to have visited their dentist within the past year, compared with those who have dental insurance coverage.
- Education: Many Americans do not understand the integral role oral health plays in general health, mistakenly believing that dental care is only needed if they’re in pain. In addition, many adults seek dental pain treatment at an emergency room instead of a dental office.
DOHI seeks to address some of the oral health access barriers by focusing on three key commitments:
A primary focus for DOHI is delivering the quality clinical services that patients and communities need. DOHI members are committed to expanding access to dental care by devoting as much time as possible to the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective care to patients and less time to non-clinical administrative duties.
Continuing Education and Technology
As healthcare professionals, DOHI members are striving to enhance the patient experience and improve clinical care. Robust Continuing Education (CE) and training to stay abreast of new protocols, techniques and technology is vital. DOHI is committed to expanding patients’ access to innovations, such as digital x-rays, electronic health records and CAD/CAM systems.
DOHI actively gives back to its communities at home, across the country, and around the world. Members are passionate about initiatives that promote dental health, deliver free treatment services, provide oral health knowledge, and improve standards of living. That is why DOHI is actively engaged in numerous charitable initiatives that are achieving fundamental improvement in the health and lives of communities at home and around the world.
The mission of the organization is to expand access to high-quality, cost-effective care through the use of advancing models and methods. Examples of these models and methods include engaging others with progressive systems to handle aspects related to human resources, marketing, legal matters and insurance processing, among others. These resources enable dentists to not only meet the paperwork requirements of patients, but allow them to devote more time to patient care. By focusing on clinical services rather than business and administrative tasks, dentists increase patients’ and communities’ access to the oral health care they need. DOHI’s next step is to unveil its nationwide campaign to address the dental health crisis.
"We are passionate about joining others such as the American Dental Association in this fight," explained Dr. Meckler. "We've established a foundation to launch a national campaign that acts to significantly diminish the number of Americans who lack the dental care they need. We are prepared and excited to chart the course of our movement towards closing the current access gap."
To learn more about DOHI, visit www.OralHealthInnovation.org.
1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration http://www.hrsa.gov/shortage/