MIT Public Service Center

Create an app that helps spread the word about dental healthcare & hygiene

Medicaid-CHIP State Dental Association

2 Grove Street, Sandwich, Massachusetts
http://www.medicaiddental.org

Background

Dental disease, or as most refer to as "cavities," continue to exist today despite proven preventive dental healthcare protocols and community prevention efforts. The professional application of fluoride varnish and dental sealants, and having a first dental check-up by age one, can help prevent painful cavities and other dental health issues.

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence supporting the efficacy of these therapies, disadvantaged children and families have limited access to these services. Evidence shows that some underserved families neither understand the effectiveness of preventive services, nor know they exist and are available. The State Medicaid Program and State Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) want to change that!

Children from low-income families receive primary preventive healthcare and dental healthcare services through participation in publically funded programs such as the State Medicaid Program and/or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). State Medicaid and CHIP programs are desperately seeking new and innovative ways to reach out to eligible families, increase awareness and knowledge about preventive dental services and enroll them into available healthcare plans. Meeting these goals can be done with help creating a Smartphone or social media app!

The Challenge

Help create a smartphone app or social media app that allows MSDA and CHIP to serve more families and children! Help pass on the important information about dental health via a fun and engaging app!

The goal of this project is to improve the oral health of Medicaid and CHIP children. The objectives for the project include the following:
-Raise awareness of effective, low-cost, preventive dental services, and how to access them, among low-income, cultural and ethnic minority families;
-Increase the demand for preventive dental care services by parents/caretakers of Medicaid enrolled children;
-Increase the number of children under age 2, who receive an initial preventive dental visit;
-Increase the delivery of preventive dental services, (fluoride varnish and dental sealants) to Medicaid and CHIP enrolled children;
-Increase the number of Medicaid dental providers;
-Increase the number of Medicaid and CHIP enrolled children referred to a dentist by a primary medical healthcare provider.

The campaign will utilize innovative technologies such as Smartphone applications or other suggested technological approaches to reach and deliver targeted oral healthcare messages underserved families, dental and non-dental healthcare providers. These innovative technologies will transform oral/dental health care delivery by changing consumer and provider behaviors.

It is anticipated that the Smartphone application(s) or some such application will be user-friendly, fun (engaging) and attractive to the target audiences, and will serve as a useful resource for information request and receipt related to oral health. MSDA staff has the oral health expertise and resources necessary to contribute to the development of content needed for such technologies such as Smartphone applications but not the know-how to create it.

Qualifications, Preferences, and Assets

Individual(s) with experience in: programming, application development, research and writing will be required to complete this project. This position requires proficiency in the use and understanding of mobile technologies and with application development. Strong oral and written communications skills are a must. Applicants should be reliable, responsive and professional. Programming skills, coupled with knowledge of gamification, social media, and user interface applications. Research and writing skills maybe needed as well.

Time Constraints

February 2013: Interns will be involved in initial discussion and project conceptualization phase.
February-March 2013: Planning, and design phase; and schedule development for development and implementation phases.
Development and Implementation Phases: Timeline to be determined based on grant funding.
Ongoing: Support for Smartphone application maintenance/updating/upgrading.
Summer interns are welcome!

Contact

Mary Foley, MPH
mfoley@medicaiddental.org
2 Grove Street, Sandwich, MA 02563
Executive Director, Medicaid-CHIP State Dental Association

Martha Dellapenna, MS
mdellapenna@medicaiddental.org
2 Grove Street, Sandwich, MA 02563
Center Director, Medicaid-CHIP State Dental Association