Avēsis and Harmony Health Launch Pioneering Salivary Testing Pilot for Patients with Special Healthcare Needs

Avēsis and Harmony Health
Harmony Health, avesis


Avēsis and Harmony Health have joined forces to bridge oral healthcare gaps for underserved Medicaid populations with special healthcare needs. The pilot aims to revolutionize preventive dentistry by harnessing the power of real-time salivary testing and screening as a frontline tool to assist healthcare providers in early disease detection and personalized treatment for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The year-long initiative will kick off in May across four states: California, Florida, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Harmony Health, avesis

By simply scanning the test card with a mobile device, patients and providers can receive science-backed insights on things they and caregivers can do to take control of their oral health. The saliva test utilizes adaptive learning to identify oral health conditions, offering a customized preventive oral healthcare plan. (Photo: Harmony Health)

Saliva, often overlooked in traditional medical and dental care, is a powerful medium for screening—rich with insights about an individual’s health. Leveraging cutting-edge technology, the pilot program integrates comprehensive saliva testing into dental check-ups. This offers a non-invasive and efficient means of monitoring patients’ overall health, providing quick insights into oral health conditions and the quality of individuals’ oral hygiene routines at home.

“More needs to be done to improve oral health outcomes for patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities. For this underserved population, dental appointments are no easy feat—fraught with challenges, uncertainties, and fears,” said Brian Jones, chief growth officer of Avēsis. “Our goal is to do more for patients with special healthcare needs—to break down barriers with innovative technologies that improve preventive care. This is the first-ever chairside salivary test that offers immediate results—what this will do for early disease detection and personalized treatment is significant.”

The initiative aims to facilitate early disease detection by leveraging screening technologies that enable dental professionals to analyze salivary biomarkers indicative of various systemic and oral diseases, including diabetes, gum disease, and cavities. This proactive approach allows for timely intervention and improved outcomes. The integration of screening technologies into dental practice also enables personalized treatment planning based on an individual patient’s health profile. This customized approach optimizes efficacy and minimizes risks associated with one-size-fits-all treatment strategies.

Dr. Steve Perlman, clinical professor of pediatric dentistry at the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine and well-respected disabilities advocate known for his contributions to oral healthcare accessibility through initiatives like the Special Olympics Special Smiles Program, remarked, “This initiative represents a monumental step forward in addressing the oral health needs of individuals with special healthcare needs. By integrating innovative salivary screening technologies, machine learning, and easy-to-use smartphone applications into oral healthcare, this pilot not only enhances care but also advances equity and accessibility in oral healthcare for vulnerable populations.”

“As pioneers in advancing new technologies within underserved communities, we are excited to collaborate with Avēsis to leverage this technology for those who need it most,” said Dr. Tina Saw, board of directors president of Harmony Health. “By harnessing the power of innovative technologies like salivary testing and artificial intelligence, we are redefining preventive healthcare. Together, we are committed to empowering patients with proactive, personalized solutions.”

The multi-state pilot underscores Avēsis’ commitment to improving access to innovative healthcare solutions and reaching diverse patient populations. Each pilot site, strategically selected based on community needs and existing infrastructure, will serve as a focal point for advancing preventive dentistry and driving value-based care initiatives on a regional scale.

About Avēsis

Avēsis believes in creating communities where lives are lived more fully. One of the nation’s leading dental, vision, and specialty benefits providers for more than 40 years, we deliver the highest quality of care by building and nurturing local provider networks and community partnerships. Our member-centered care model aims to bridge and close significant gaps in health equity while guiding members and their communities to wellness.

Learn more about how we are redefining specialty benefit solutions that serve the needs of governments, companies, and individuals at avesis.com.

About Harmony Health

Harmony Health Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to using innovative technologies to drive positive change in underserved communities. Our primary focus is on enhancing oral health and fostering community development while advocating for health equity. We collaborate with partners and actively engage in change management and efforts to uplift marginalized populations. Visit harmonyhealthfoundation.org for more information.