Stefan Listl of the Radboud University Medical Center will lead an international research project. With a five million euro grant from the Horizon Europe program, he and partners from seven countries will improve the quality of oral health care, especially for poorer and vulnerable groups in society. The DELIVER (DELiberative ImproVEment of oRal care quality) project will lead to more collaborative problem solving, better access to affordable oral care for all, and more attention to effective prevention.
According to a recent WHO report, oral health has received dramatically little attention in health policy to date. Oral diseases are in the top three most expensive conditions and affect 3.5 billion people worldwide, especially poorer and vulnerable populations. Essential oral health care is often not easily accessible to citizens with lower incomes, mainly for financial reasons. This leads to painful and sometimes life-threatening abscesses, and thus high treatment costs for society. Better access to affordable oral care and more attention to effective prevention can largely prevent this high burden of disease and unnecessary treatment costs.
'More attention to people who currently have little access to oral care is an important step,' says Stefan Listl, professor of Quality and Safety of Oral Care at Radboudumc. 'But if we want to solve the problems we also need a constructive dialogue between citizens, oral care professionals, health insurers and policy makers. They determine what options have priority for improving the quality of oral care. What doesn't work is preaching from the academic ivory tower that something else has to be done. We want to find out with whom and how we can best start the conversation. Various methods have been developed for stakeholder participation, but they have not been systematically applied to oral care until now.'
Listl and his project partners are receiving five million euros from the European Commission to better map and improve the quality of oral health care. Listl: 'Together with the parties involved we will first determine which indicators we can use to monitor the quality of oral care, both at the level of the oral care practice and at the level of the population. We will then use case studies to test how we can apply these indicators in different situations to promote the quality of oral care. We will look at how patient feedback can purposefully contribute to reflection by oral care professionals and how we can properly shape the dialogue on access to oral care for poorer populations. Furthermore, we will look at how health policy can better take into account the varied needs of different population groups.'
The DELIVER project is a collaboration with partners from Germany, Denmark, England, Malta, Portugal and Sweden. The total project budget is 5 million euros, of which 1.2 million is for the research at Radboudumc. The project will run from 2022 to 2026.
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