The Need – Data Tools for Community-Based Oral Health Programs

Community-based oral health programs (COHPs) deliver dental healthcare services in the field directly to populations in need. They play a vital role in public health efforts to improve oral health and increase access to care, particularly among the underserved populations across the nation.

Often in stiff competition for funding, COHPs need tools that can help demonstrate the efficacy of their service models to their funders and tap into Medicaid reimbursement for additional support.

Dental practice management suites are sometimes used, but they cater to dentists working in a clinical setting— they are expensive, very complex, and not well-suited to fast-paced field-based work or public health reporting. More often, COHPs rely on either bloated spreadsheets or paper forms.

The Solution – The Dental Data Manager (DDM)

The Dental Data Manager (DDM) is an internet-based tool for recording data on dental services delivered to children in community-based settings (schools, preschools, WIC centers, etc.). The DDM has many of the features and functions found in dental practice management systems, but is designed specifically to meet the needs of community oral health programs.

Key features include:

  • Patient-centric structure, consistent with the public health approach
  • Billing for both private and public insurance, with an emphasis on Medicaid
  • Integrated case management functionality, to coordinate care and the completion of treatment plans
  • Tablet-based electronic forms for efficient field-based data entry
  • Graphical chart (“odontogram”)  for ease of clinical data entry
  • Licensed CDT procedure code set from the American Dental Association
  • Licensed EZCodes diagnostic code set  from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine
  • Sophisticated data analysis with powerful filtering and search capabilities
  • Comprehensive data import and export capability
  • HIPAA compliant and secure
  • Electronic Health Record (ONC certification anticipated in December 2014)

The DDM allows public dental health providers to capture their data in a secure database accessible from any device with an internet connection and a web browser. By using the DDM instead of paper forms, project staff can generate reports, look up patient data on demand, keep track of case management activities, and coordinate with other staff.

Unlike practice management software designed for use in traditional dental offices, the DDM is tailored to suit the workflows, reporting requirements, and other needs of community-based public dental health programs. However, as many public dental health programs are operated by established institutions with practice management systems in place, the DDM will include features that allow data to be shared with many common software suites.

The Dental Data Manager is the second generation of our Healthy Teeth Toolkit (HTTK) software. It has been rebuilt from the ground up, integrating much of the feedback received from users of the HTTK. The diagram below illustrates the proposed structure of the software.

The DDM is currently in development but is ready for use in your program. If interested, please contact OHS for more information.

Dental Data Manager Login Page