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Journal of Dental ResearchEvidence-Informed Oral Health Policy Making: Opportunities and Challenges

The Global Commission on Evidence to Address Societal Challenges highlights that the pandemic has accelerated the focus on evidence and collaboration among various stakeholders.

The article underscores the urgent need for evidence-informed policy making to transform oral health systems. Despite the availability of evidence and stakeholder values, the oral health community has been slow in leveraging these resources for collective problem-solving and policy making. The article argues that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a unique opportunity to fast-track evidence-based decision-making processes, and it outlines various advancements and opportunities in this arena.

HCN Medical Memo
This article serves as a clarion call to actively participate in the transformation of oral health systems through evidence-informed policy making. The current gaps in leveraging evidence and stakeholder values can only be bridged through a multi-disciplinary approach that includes medical professionals. The time is ripe, especially in the wake of the pandemic, to seize the opportunity for fast-tracked, evidence-based decision-making processes that can significantly improve oral health outcomes.

Key Points:
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) and other global bodies have called for urgent improvements in oral health systems, emphasizing the role of evidence in strengthening these systems.
  • The article identifies “know-how” and “know-do” gaps that need to be addressed to make evidence-informed policy making a reality in oral health.
  • Dentists responding to the article stress the need for a collective problem-solving orientation, involving not just policy makers but also citizens, service providers, and payers.

Despite oral diseases being largely preventable, they are the third most expensive diseases to treat in the European Union.

Additional Points:
  • The article provides a taxonomy for health systems, breaking it down into governance arrangements, financial arrangements, delivery arrangements, and implementation strategies.
  • It discusses the role of citizen deliberations and stakeholder involvement in evidence-informed policy making.
  • Various examples of ongoing projects and initiatives aimed at evidence-informed policy making in oral health are provided.

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