New partnership to integrate medical and oral care

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New partnership to integrate medical and oral care

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Celebrating a joint venture in dental-medical integration: Pictured (left to right) are Dr Mark Schafer, CEO of MemorialCare Medical Group, Dr Barry Arbuckle, president and CEO of MemorialCare, Stephen Thorne, founder and CEO of Pacific Dental Services and Dr Carolyn Ghazal, founding owner dentist of Pacific Dental Services. (Image: Pacific Dental Services)
Dental Tribune International

Dental Tribune International

Tue. 20 December 2022

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FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif., US: Dentists and doctors will work under one roof and share access to patient records as part of a new partnership that aims to advance overall health. Medical care provider MemorialCare and dental support organisation (DSO) Pacific Dental Services (PDS) announced the new joint venture, which will mean that the two parties open 25 fully integrated primary health and oral care locations within the next five years.

MemorialCare and PDS will open several co-located dental and medical practices each year for the next five years, totalling at least 25 locations in the Californian jurisdictions of Orange County and Los Angeles County, PDS said in a press release. The venture, PDS said, was the first of its kind, and it followed an announcement that the University of California San Francisco would merge its medical and dental records into one electronic health record.

Decades of clinical research have determined that oral health is a critical component of overall health. “Now physicians and dentists who historically have worked in silos, will be able to easily communicate potentially life-saving information about their shared patients,” the press release read.

Providing what PDS called “comprehensive whole-person health”, the joint clinics will use the Epic electronic health record system, which is already in use at both PDS and MemorialCare clinics.

Dr Barry Arbuckle, president and CEO of MemorialCare, commented: “This unique, innovative venture provides our patients and community with seamless integration of primary care and oral health, an essential clinical service not previously offered.”

For Stephen Thorne, founder and CEO of PDS, the partnership represents a natural extension of the DSO’s goal to highlight the link between oral health and overall health. “Because many systemic diseases, conditions and even medications can affect a patient’s oral health, we have long advocated for closer collaboration between medical and dental professionals. This partnership brings that to fruition,” Thorne commented.

MemorialCare is a non-profit healthcare innovator based in southern California and has over 225 locations and 15,000 employees and affiliated health professionals. Having over 900 supported dental clinics across the US, PDS is one of the largest DSOs in the country.

One of the most prevalent trends that has supported the growth of DSOs in the US has been the bringing together of multiple dental specialists at one location in order to simplify the provision of care for patients. The new partnership between MemorialCare and PDS represents a new step in this trend, potentially allowing patients to align medical and dental appointments.

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