Assessing Cost-Effectiveness on Oral Health Preventive Interventions

(ACE Oral Health Prevention)

Unlike medical and other primary healthcare services, which are  funded under Australia’s public health insurance system, Medicare, 58% of the expenditure for dental services are largely borne by individuals. Dental care remains in principle, an individual responsibility and excluded from universal healthcare coverage.

From an Australian context, there is limited research to inform public policy directions for translating and implementing interventions to improve population oral health. Despite technological advances, dentistry remains treatment-dominated and highly specialised healthcare, and has not successfully tackled the global burden of oral disease.

The Assessing Cost-Effectiveness on Oral Health Prevention Interventions (ACE Oral Health Prevention) is a PhD funded research project by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). Using a priority-setting approach, the first of its kind in Australia (perhaps internationally), leverages on the expertise of key stakeholders from an established Project Steering Group (PSG).

The PSG is an integral component of ‘due process’ since it sets the research agenda according to the ACE framework. Members includes representatives from the professional associations, academics and consumers perspectives (e.g. includes Tony McBride, Chair of VOHA). The PSG provides strategic direction, technical advice and leadership throughout the life of the project.

The PSG met twice in 2020, and have agreed on the following prevention interventions for full economic evaluation modelling:

  • Oral health promotion (OHP), which includes anticipatory guidance, risk assessment, dental screening and referral, provided by primary care providers with/without fluoride varnish.
  • Implementation of a sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) tax.
  • Targeted pre/school-based dental screening with/without fluoride varnish.
  • Targeted school-based fissure sealants.
  • Minimally Invasive Dentistry (MID) (early detection and risk assessment, regular monitoring and preventive interventions).
  • Tobacco cessation services (individualised).

For more information, please contact the PhD Candidate, Tan Nguyen from Deakin Health Economics at tan.nguyen@deakin.edu.au.

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