Risk assessments: Integrating intraprofessional health models

A respected chiropractor in my community was at yoga this morning. Knowing that she had moved her chiropractic practice to a new location six months ago, I asked her how she liked her new location. She lit up with excitement, and without a nanosecond of hesitation said she loved it. She felt that the move had elevated the care of her patients. You see, her office had moved to a health facility that had a physician, a pharmacist, a hearing specialist, a physiotherapist, and a massage therapist all in the same building. She expanded on the benefits of this holistic model, revealing that the proximity to other health-care providers offered her the ability to consult about the needs of her patients and design care in a holistic manner. I listened intently and noted that, as of yet, there was no dental professional in the building.

The model of multiprofessional health-care providers in the same location stems from the growing recognition that the systems of the human body are interconnected. What is diseased in one region often displays symptoms somewhere else. We are whole beings, after all, not just a back, a heart, or a mouth. Consulting with other health professionals only makes sense.

Change is occurring. One forward-looking group, the Wellness Dentistry Network (wellnessdentistrynetwork.com), is developing “whole” health dentistry. Leading organizations such as the Mayo Clinic say that the mouth is the window to the health of the body.1 Many others, including myself, have written on the inflammation connection of periodontal diseases and the diseased body.2