Altarum’s SmileConnect program is a scalable model that combines provider education and information technology to improve access to dental care. The three elements of the SmileConnect model include:
1) A continuing medical education program that helps primary care providers integrate preventive oral health exams and other basic dental care services, such as application of fluoride varnishes, into well-child visits.
2) A secure online portal that makes it easy for primary care doctors and other community providers to refer children to nearby dentists who accept Medicaid and CHIP, and to track the care of their young patients.
3) A social networking platform that connects children in the community who need dental care with dental clinicians who are willing to volunteer their services.
All three elements of the SmileConnect program have been implemented in communities across Michigan, resulting in nearly one million children covered by Medicaid or CHIP receiving earlier access to preventive oral health services. In addition, more than 54,000 children in 30 states using the SmileConnect social networking platform have been connected with donated oral health supplies, education, and preventive services in predominately low-income areas.