PIOHQI report offers insights on states’ efforts

By: Meg Booth

A new report, Learning for Action, shares challenges and lessons that emerge from the first three years of the Perinatal & Infant Oral Health Quality Improvement (PIOHQI) initiative. During this period, the initiative was funded by the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) and managed by the Children’s Dental Health Project (CDHP), which created a National Learning Network that grew to include 16 states.

CDHP worked on PIOHQI in close collaboration with several partners: the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors, and the National Improvement Partnership Network.

The investment of MCHB in the oral health of pregnant women dates back to 2006 and has helped to improve access to care for pregnant women. However, it remains a challenge to show parity of access to both dental care and medical care for expectant moms. The Learning to Action report explores the impact through PIOHQI of working collaboratively across organizations and using the quality improvement methodology.

Although access to dental care has improved for pregnant women, it remains a challenge to show parity of access to both dental care and medical care for expectant moms.

The observations in this report are not intended to capture the entirety of PIOHQI as the initiative continues through 2019. However, for those interested in initiating a learning collaborative focused on perinatal access to dental care, this report captures the initial stages and identified the systemic barriers to make progress by using a quality improvement method. Our hope is that these findings can help kick-start new efforts and will provide a platform to expand on these insights as others embark on their learning collaboratives.

As CDHP continues to seek innovative policy solutions to improving the oral health of children and their families, the PIOHQI initiative gave us a front-row seat to the innovation and exploration that state are testing to make systems changes. The ability to prevent dental caries starts before birth but also requires attention to the ability to obtain oral health within the family.

For an infographic and other information about the oral health of pregnant women, visit http://www.endcavities.org/during-pregnancy/. And find links to a variety of reports and research on CDHP’s Oral Health & Pregnant Women Resource Center.

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44% }
of U.S. children will have at least one cavity by kindergarten.
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