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The role of DSOs in promoting medical and dental integration for better healthcare outcomes

Attendees pick up their badges during the 2022 ADSO Summit in Austin, Texas. Photo: Dental Tribune USA
Andrew Smith, Executive Director, ADSO

Andrew Smith, Executive Director, ADSO

Wed. 23 November 2022


In recent years, we have gained a stronger, more in-depth understanding of the “mouth-body connection” and the fact that healthy mouths are inextricably linked to healthy bodies.

Studies have shown direct links between oral health and serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Despite these learnings, dental care is still all too often viewed in a silo, with patient data, treatments and experiences remaining isolated from conversations about overall health.

As healthcare professionals continue to move toward a more holistic view of patient treatment focusing on a larger continuum of care, medical and dental integration will prove vital to maintaining overall patient health. Dental Support Organizations (DSOs) are in a unique position to promote this integration and lead the charge into a new era of dental care.

Because the mouth serves as one of the main gateways to the rest of the body, it plays a critical role in the overall health of an individual. One of the core insights behind medical dental integration is that serious illnesses can be detected earlier through proper dental care, which can lead to a patient being treated more effectively.

On the other hand, if dental professionals are not able to interact or share information with other medical professionals, signs and symptoms can be missed that could have a significant impact on a patient’s treatment if they were detected properly.

Given their nature, DSOs are in a unique position to advise dental practitioners and help drive the adoption of practices that work toward better medical and dental integration. One way to achieve this is for DSOs to actively partner with organizations that believe in the patient journey. DSOs can also help by advocating for greater opportunities for dental staff to interact with the healthcare system.

The Association of Dental Support Organizations (ADSO) is passionate about greater medical and dental integration in service of patients, and we will continue working with members to help foster greater opportunities and better strategies for implementation. By working with medical practitioners and industry partners, we hope to realize a future where comprehensive medical and dental integration is the norm.

Editorial note:

To learn more about the ADSO and its 2023 Summit, visit www.theadso.org/event/2023-adso-summit.

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