Marshfield Clinic Health System, as a member of the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ), has become one of the first dental practices in the country to publicly report oral health quality measures to the WCHQ reporting website, WCHQ.org.

‚ÄčThe five founding members of the WCHQ Oral Health Collaborative include: Marshfield Clinic Health System; ForwardDental; Dental Associates; HealthPartners (MN); and Children's Wisconsin. The practices serve a diverse demographic and geographic range of pediatric and adult patients in rural and urban communities throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota.

The first publicly reported measures are: carries risk assessment in children; ongoing care in adults with periodontitis; and, topical fluoride application in high risk children. These three oral health measures are commonly found in family practice settings that care for children and adults.

The WCHQ acquires and analyzes the quality measures from de-identified data submitted by the dental organizations. Measure specifications along with the individual organization reports are available to the public on the WCHQ website.

“WCHQ has proven that 'what gets measured and reported publicly, improves faster'," according to Chris Queram, President/CEO, WCHQ. “It has been exciting to see dentists work with our organization and join physicians and health systems to work toward setting a new standard of overall, holistic care. Our goal is to see a closer alignment between oral and medical providers in our region because a number of serious health issues must be managed in both settings."

The integration of oral and medical health delivery is a goal at Marshfield Clinic Health System, which has dental and medical clinics in central and northern Wisconsin and a research center dedicated to oral and systemic health. As executive director of Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, Amit Acharya, B.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., has developed dashboards that help dentists and physicians jointly monitor conditions that have an impact on overall health.

“Our goal is to improve the health of peop‚Äčle in our communities. It is extremely helpful working with the members of the oral health collaborative to develop measures where we can compare our results to one another, network to share common practice issues and improve our performance through collaboration," said Dr. Acharya.

The WCHQ Oral Health Collaborative is working on its next set of metrics with a goal to help practitioners better manage patients with chronic medical conditions using the results of measures that incorporate medical and dental data.