MemorialCare and Pacific Dental Services (PDS) announced a first-of-its-kind partnership to bring dentists and doctors together under one roof to provide patients comprehensive whole-person health. The joint venture is propelled by the power of shared electronic health records on the Epic system – ensuring a seamless coordination of care and easy access to health records for patients and providers.
Through the unique partnership, several co-located practices will open each year over the next five years to reach a total of at least 25 locations, with PDS-supported dental offices located within select MemorialCare Medical Group health centers throughout Orange and Los Angeles counties.
“MemorialCare has a long history of partnering with innovative organizations that share our vision of delivering best practice medicine and improving community health,” says Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D., President and CEO of MemorialCare. “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.”
Decades of clinical research have determined oral health is a critical component to overall health. Bringing oral health care to the primary health care setting supports MemorialCare’s mission of providing easily accessible, high-quality care along with PDS’ unwavering dedication to medical-dental integration to improve health outcomes while reducing hospitalizations and annual healthcare expenses.
“This unprecedented partnership is a natural extension of Pacific Dental Services’ goal to bring to light the link between oral health and overall health – what we at PDS call The Mouth-Body Connection® – in an effort to improve the health of patients,” says Stephen E. Thorne IV, Founder and CEO of Pacific Dental Services. “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.”
The fact that both organizations use Epic’s comprehensive electronic health record system paved a path for this collaboration, as primary health and oral health clinicians can use the system to seamlessly view patient data, including past dental and medical visits, lab results, and prescriptions, creating a comprehensive picture of a patient’s health for any provider they visit.
“Healthcare outcomes are vastly improved when providers have quick access to all relevant information on a patient,” says Judy Faulkner, Founder and CEO of Epic. “Our partnership with Pacific Dental Services that achieved final implementation to their 900+ dental practices earlier this year was a significant step forward in linking dental and medical professionals. We’re proud to be a part of extending that link to now include merging our software with dental and medical professionals under one roof.”
In the United States, 2 in 5 adults are affected by some form of gum disease, which is one of the earliest warning signs of systemic health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and even certain cancers. 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 partnership also allows patients to take more ownership of their health, by enabling them to view their acute health, primary health, and dental health history all in one place. By accessing their own health information through Epic’s MyChart patient portal, patients can communicate with providers, schedule appointments, request prescription refills, and have a better chance of identifying diseases early, based on changes in gum and oral health.
This announcement comes at a time when integration between medical care and oral health care is top of mind. Among the many parallel efforts in this area, in 2021 the CDC announced a medical-dental integration partnership with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, and just last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced its final ruling on the expansion of coverage for medically necessary dental services as part of Medicare. These efforts highlight the importance of dental-medical integration to form a seamless, comprehensive healthcare system focused on the health of the whole person.
MemorialCare, nonprofit Southern California integrated delivery system and innovator in value-based care, has over 225 care locations; 15,000 employees and affiliated physicians; top hospitals—Long Beach Medical Center, Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital Long Beach, Orange Coast Medical Center and Saddleback Medical Center; award-winning MemorialCare Medical Group and Greater Newport Physicians; MemorialCare Select Health Plan; and outpatient surgery, imaging, urgent care, dialysis, breast health and physical therapy centers. MemorialCare’s many honors have included Best U.S. Health Systems, Top Places to Work, Top Hospital rankings from readers of eight regional newspapers, 10 Largest U.S. Children’s Hospitals, Top 100 Hospitals, A Hospital Safety Score, Top 50 Cardiovascular Hospitals, Magnet nursing excellence status for all MemorialCare hospitals, among much more.
About Pacific Dental Services
Founded in 1994, Pacific Dental Services (PDS) is one of the country’s leading dental support organizations, providing supported autonomy that enables dentists to concentrate on clinical excellence and the highest levels of cost-effective comprehensive patient care. PDS originated the Private Practice+ model to enable dentists to focus on their passion: serving patients.
PDS also pioneered the concept of modern dentistry so that dentists are equipped to combine advances in the latest technology with the best operational practices and procedures, highly skilled support staff and a commitment to ongoing training and education. PDS continues to grow, with more than 900 supported dental offices across the United States. PDS has been on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in America 14 times. PDS-supported dentists aim to be the provider of choice in all the markets they serve and to develop Patients for Life.
For more information, visit us at pacificdentalservices.com or follow us on Facebook: @pacificdentalservices, Instagram: @pacific.dental, LinkedIn: @pacific-dental-services, Twitter: @pacificdental, and YouTube: @pacificdentaltv.
Epic is a registered trademark of Epic Systems Corporation.