Integration Toolkit

Integration Toolkit

Why Integrate Oral Health and Primary Care?

Health providers from multiple disciplines can deliver oral health services, education and referrals in most care settings; dental providers can offer similar clinical services as well. In many instances, these services are reimbursable. In all instances, they improve patient care and reinforce bi-directional, comprehensive care.

Click on the diagram to see examples of integrated services by discipline or view all examples.

Integration Toolkit: Integrating Oral and Overall Health

Opportunities to Address Community Health Needs

Emergency Room Diversion
Reduce unnecessary use of emergency room for dental issues and related costs; direct patients to appropriate primary healthcare services in the community. 
Related Resource: Integrated Care Model for Emergency Department Diversion

Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia in the ICU
Reduce risk of ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP) and related respiratory issues; reduce hospital stay and in-hospital adverse events and mortality. 
Related Resource: Integrated Care Model for VAP in the ICU

Maternal and Child Health and Wellness 
Improve perinatal health; improve birth outcomes; increase use of preventive oral health care for young children and access to a dental home. 
Related Resources: Integrated Care Model for Pregnancy and Childhood

Chronic Disease and Wellness
Improve overall health; address and manage oral and overall health of individuals with chronic disease (e.g. diabetes, heart disease, chronic inflammatory conditions) and ensure appropriate and timely use of the health care system and services. 
Related Resource: Integrated Care Model for Chronic Disease

Behavioral Health and Wellness
Improve overall health; behavioral health providers address oral health issues that may arise due to prescription medication use/abuse or issues with self-care. 
Related Resource: Integrated Care Model for Serious Mental Illness

Learn more about the State Innovation Model (or "SIM") initiative in Virginia. 

Core Components of Integration

Who are the administrative and clinical leadership that will champion this initiative?

What are the oral health educational needs of your clinical and administrative staff?

Patient Population 
What are some of the most significant health issues in your community? What are your patients' needs? What questions have your patients asked regarding oral health and chronic disease? Do you provide care that fits with a patient's cultural background?

Health Care Services 
What services are available onsite and what requires a referral? What services can you introduce (e.g. fluoride varnish, diabetes testing, health education)? Who will provide these services?

Communication and Information Sharing 
How will you share patient information and coordinate care? 

Measures and Assessment 
How will you determine, collect and evaluate process and outcome measures that assess access to care, utilization of services and health outcomes? How will you measure clinical performance and patient/family experience to monitor the care system?

What payment models and funding streams can your patients utilize? 

What staff, information-technology (including certified electronic health record technology), capacity or support changes are necessary to support integration efforts? How will you manage referrals and cross-disciplinary care transitions? Can you utilize team members differently to integrate care?

Community Supports 
What types of clinical or social support activities are happening in your community systems (e.g. diabetes education groups, centering programs, transportation or job training)?  Is there potential for partnership? 

Integration Model Checklist

The resources below were developed by Community Health Solutions. Use the Integration Model Checklist to walk through the core components of your integration strategy (note: the checklist was originally developed for clinics seeking Patient Centered Medical Home Certification). The Leadership Assessment and Development guide will help you assess and build team readiness for integration work. 

Clinical Practice Tools

For Patient Education Resources, visit our Patient Resources webpage.

If you have additional Clinical Practices Tools that you'd like to share in this section, please send them to Samantha Dorr

Continuing Education Opportunities


Visit our Event Calendar to view upcoming live trainings and events.

How to Use the Integration Toolkit

First, take a look at Opportunities to Address Community Health Needs and consider the prompt questions within Core Components of Integration to begin identifying your integration approach. Use Community Health Solutions' Integration Model Checklist  to design an integration model for your workplace. The Clinical Practice Tools section offers helpful resources you can download and use in your practice today. 

Free Continuing Education

For free continuing education on oral health integration in primary care, check out Smiles for Life: A National Oral Health Curriculum.

Case Studies

Send Us Your Story

Are you integrating oral health and primary care? Tell us about it!

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Thank you to the Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, The Daily Planet and Community Health Solutions for their contributions to the integration toolkit!


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