“This data system is going to provide important information about oral health trends that will help public health workers and private providers do a better job of keeping the teeth of adults and children cavity-free and healthy.”
Minneapolis (PRWEB) April 17, 2013
Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation has awarded $300,000 to the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to create the first Minnesota Oral Health Surveillance System (MNOHSS), pronounced “Minnows”. MNOHSS is a technology innovation that will support the Oral Health Program’s capacity to respond effectively and efficiently to the state’s oral health surveillance needs.
“This is a significant milestone for oral health in Minnesota and a great example of a public-private partnership,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health, Edward Ehlinger. “This data system is going to provide important information about oral health trends that will help public health workers and private providers do a better job of keeping the teeth of adults and children cavity-free and healthy.” MDH reported in February that more than half of Minnesota third-graders have or have had cavities and that inadequate dental care has significant long-term health and cost consequences for Minnesota.
With grant funding, the Minnesota Department of Health will create a consolidated, easy-to-use data source that contains a myriad of Minnesota oral health indicators for the public, health leaders and decision-makers to access. This “one-stop data shop” will give Minnesota’s oral health community the capacity to make strategic decisions based on data, monitor the state’s progress in meeting its oral health goals, and effectively use data to improve access to oral health services.
An important and innovative feature MNOHSS can support is Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping technology. GIS technology has the capacity to identify existing and potential ‘dental deserts’—geographic areas that have shortages of dental providers and/or low utilization of the dental care system.
The Minnesota Oral Health Program within the health department will work widely to promote the use of Minnows to meet the needs of underserved populations, the major focus of the Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation. the most pressing data gaps are dental caries incidence and prevalence among toddlers and adolescents; older adults living in elder care facilities; migrant and native populations; school-based sealant coverage; and the oral health of pregnant women, according to the Minnesota Oral Health State Plan.
“This project embodies two core values of the Foundation,” says Ann Johnson, Executive Director, “a belief that partnerships are fundamental to achieving demonstrable and sustainable oral health improvements, and that decisions about how to best use our limited health resources need to be grounded in quality data.”
About Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation – Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation is designed to support Delta Dental of Minnesota's mission of improving the oral health of the people in Minnesota. The Foundation will focus on improving access to oral health for people living in Minnesota, with special attention to increasing access among underserved persons, groups and communities as well as ideas and programs that provide innovative, long-term, sustainable solutions.
Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation was formed out of the proceeds of the 2009 sale of the dental benefit management company, DeCare Dental. Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation had assets of approximately $92 million and granted about $2 million in 2012.
Delta Dental of Minnesota Foundation is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Delta Dental is a registered mark of Delta Dental Plans Association. Delta Dental of Minnesota is an independent nonprofit dental services company and is an authorized licensee of the Delta Dental Plans Association of Oak Brook, Illinois. For more information, visit http://www.deltadentalmn.org