The Role of Algorithms in Oral Health Care and Disease Prevention and Management: Consumer and Provider Perspectives

Published 01/27/2023

Consumers and providers support the use of algorithms and digital health tools to deliver more personalized, patient-centered care, according to findings in a report by CareQuest Institute.  

Using Health Data to Predict and Treat Disease 

The research report shares insights from surveys of consumers and providers about their attitudes toward the use of algorithms for clinical decision-making and for health insurance companies to develop benefits. Key findings include: 

  • More than two-thirds of consumers said they support the use of algorithms if the tools help their oral health care provider and health insurance carrier provide them with more personalized care.  
  • Most consumers said they would authorize an oral health care provider to share their medical information with other medical providers. However, fewer than one in five consumers said their oral health provider had ever given them a referral to a primary medical provider.  
  • The majority of oral health providers agreed that algorithms and other digital tools could help them deliver higher-quality and more patient-centered care, as well as improve patients’ oral and overall health outcomes.  
  • The majority of providers agreed that oral health providers should screen their patients for conditions like diabetes, and that an oral health visit can be an initial point of care in chronic disease prevention and management ― especially for more than 100 million individuals who visit an oral health provider but not a physician each year. 

Algorithms in health care are used to predict the likelihood that a patient will develop a specific medical condition, or whether a patient would benefit from a particular treatment. They have been used to predict tooth loss and dental caries (decay) in oral health care and systemic conditions like diabetes.  

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