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Health Promot Pract. 2018 Jul;19(4):531-541. doi: 10.1177/1524839917737752. Epub 2017 Oct 26.

Integrating Medical-Dental Care for Diabetic Patients: Qualitative Assessment of Provider Perspectives.

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1 Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, Marshfield, WI, USA.
2 University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison WI, USA.


Globally, periodontal disease and diabetes have achieved epidemic proportions and have become a top health care priority. Mutual bidirectional exacerbation of these conditions is promoting creation of cross-disciplinary integrated care delivery (ICD) models that bridge the traditionally siloed health care domains of dentistry and medicine. By engaging focus groups inclusive of both medical and dental providers and one-on-one interviews, this qualitative study investigated provider knowledgeability, receptiveness, and readiness to engage ICD and sought input from the medical-dental primary care practitioner participants on perceived opportunities, benefits, and challenges to achieving ICD models for patients with diabetes/prediabetes. Statewide regional representation and inclusivity of diverse practice settings were emphasized in soliciting participants. Thematic analysis of focus group and interview transcripts was undertaken to establish current state of the art, gauge receptivity to alternative ICD models, and seek insights from practitioners surrounding opportunities and barriers to ICD achievement. Forty providers participated, and thematic analyses achieved saturation. Providers were well informed regarding disease interaction; were receptive to ICD, including implementation of better screening and referral processes; and favored improving interdisciplinary communication inclusive of access to integrated electronic health records. Perceived barriers and opportunities communicated by participants for advancing ICD were documented.


delivery of health care; delivery of healthcare; dentistry; diabetes complications; integrated; medicine; periodontal diseases

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