A Very Noteworthy Healthcare Collaboration

At a time when we seem to be treated to an endless barrage of negative news, some powerfully positive things are happening that bode well for our future, particularly in the area of healthcare. While the focus here is usually on costs, big breakthroughs are coming in combatting cancer and other afflictions.

But it’s not just dramatic advances in new health treatments that should excite us. Things are beginning to happen in better mobilizing medical information to treat patients more effectively.

One notable example is the just-announced collaboration between two giants in their respective fields: Epic Systems in electronic records and Pacific Dental Services (PDS) in oral healthcare. This collaboration holds great promise to improve health outcomes for patients. By fully deploying Epic Systems’ comprehensive health-records system in all the nearly 900 dental offices it supports, PDS is ushering in a new era of dentist/physician cooperation. It underscores the potential benefits of understanding the mouth-body connection, that is, realizing how many illnesses can have their roots in bad dental health.

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In today's new era of dentist/physician cooperation the potential benefits of understanding the mouth-body connection are underscored as we come to realize how many illnesses can have their roots in bad dental health.


Utilizing Epic’s state-of-the-art electronic health-records system will give PDS-supported clinicians the ability to share important health information about their patients with other healthcare professionals. This is crucial and cannot be overstated: Healthcare outcomes are vastly improved when providers have quick access to all relevant information on a patient.

Medical-care providers will be able to identify diseases, such as diabetes or arthritis, earlier, while patients will have access to their acute health, primary health and dental health histories all in one place. They can use Epic’s MyChart patient portal to communicate with providers, schedule appointments, request prescription refills, and more.

PDS CEO Stephen E. Thorne IV rightly points out that “Oral healthcare is a critical component of overall health, and this investment has enabled our supported clinicians and their patients to more fully participate in the promise of a seamless, comprehensive healthcare system focused on whole-body health.”

This cooperative effort will impact a lot of people. Epic holds more than 250 million patients’ current electronic health records. PDS has converted almost 10 million patient records from its existing practice-management software to Epic and trained nearly 14,000 team members in the new system. Benefits have already been seen, including a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis that had gone undetected until providers were able to access the patient’s oral health records.

The alliance between PDS and Epic is the wave of the future. As these two pioneering companies are demonstrating, linking dental and medical professionals will produce significant benefits for their practices, their staff members and, most importantly, their patients.

More broadly, such a joint effort in mobilizing needed information to improve patient care will be a powerfully positive model for the rest of the healthcare field.

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