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Partnering for Integrated Care: A Learning Collaborative for Primary Care and Oral Health Teams

HumanInsight Partnering for Integrated Care: A Learning Collaborative for Primary Care and Oral Health Teams

Ann Fam Med. 2023 Feb;21(Suppl 2):S22-S30. doi: 10.1370/afm.2918.


PURPOSE: The Teaming and Integrating for Smiles and Health (TISH) Learning Collaborative was developed to help health care organizations accelerate progress in integrating delivery of oral and primary care. By providing expert support and a structure for testing change, the project aimed to improve the early detection of hypertension in the dental setting and of gingivitis in the primary care setting, and to increase the rate of bidirectional referrals between oral and primary care partners. We report its outcomes.

METHODS: A total of 17 primary and oral health care teams were recruited to participate in biweekly virtual calls over 3 months. Participants tested changes to their models of care through Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles between calls. Sites tracked the percentages of patients screened and referred, completed the TeamSTEPPS (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety) and Interprofessional Assessment questionnaires, and provided qualitative feedback and updates in storyboard presentations.

RESULTS: On average, with implementation of the TISH Learning Collaborative, sites displayed a nonrandom improvement in the percentages of patients screened for hypertension, referred for hypertension, referred to primary care, and referred for gingivitis. Gingivitis screening and referral to oral health care were not markedly improved. Qualitative responses indicated that teams made progress in screening and referral workflows, improved communication between medical and dental partners, and furthered understanding of the connection between primary care and oral care among staff and patients.

CONCLUSIONS: The TISH project is evidence that a virtual Learning Collaborative is an accessible and productive avenue to improve interprofessional education, further primary care and oral partnerships, and achieve practical progress in integrated care.

PMID:36849470 | DOI:10.1370/afm.2918

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