Bilingual touch-screen kiosk offers new oral health module
Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Audrey Tayse Haynes, Kentucky Commission on Women Executive Director Eleanor Jordan and top administrators from the University of Louisville today unveiled a new interactive women’s wellness kiosk at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry.
The kiosk features a new oral health category called “Healthy Teeth and Gums.” The University of Louisville School of Dentistry collaborated with the Commission on Women and Saint Andrew Development Inc., the developer of the kiosk, to write the oral health module that will be added to all kiosks.
“All too often, women devote endless hours of their time and energy to taking care of their families, friends and loved ones but take zero time for themselves,” Secretary Haynes said. “This kiosk is an easily accessible tool for women to learn about wellness, prevention and most importantly, how to seek treatment for existing health risks. The addition of an oral health component to the kiosks enhances this wellness tool for Kentucky’s women.”
Oral health remains one of Kentucky’s biggest health concerns despite recent improvements. In 2004, the rate of toothlessness was 38.1 percent, the highest rate in the nation. Since that time, the number has fallen to 27.4 percent, according to the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.
The Commonwealth, however, still has the third highest rate in the country in this area, Secretary Haynes said.
The kiosk design is similar to that of an automated bank teller machine. Health information is provided in a manner that serves multiple reading abilities for easy comprehension and recollection. The touch-screen technology attracts visitors and allows for the information to be provided in both audio and visual formats to appeal to a broader audience.
In addition to the new oral health category, the bilingual touch-screen kiosk provides a wide range of information on general women’s wellness and breast health, including symptoms and treatment, options for diabetes, asthma, cancers, weight management, smoking cessation, STDs, depression, heart health, domestic violence and HIV-AIDS.
Each topic is programmed with women’s health stories, preventive measures, suggested follow-up questions to ask a healthcare provider and encouragement to visit a medical professional. The kiosk also includes a telephone that is programmed to connect the user with immediate assistance or to schedule appointments.
“Using this technology as a wellness guide where underserved women can easily access a vast amount of basic health information and locate immediate assistance could prove to be one of the most innovative ways of getting women to take hold of their health,” Jordan said. “This is a fun way to gently encourage behavior toward wellness and prevention. The more of these we place in targeted areas where they become a trusted resource, the greater chance we have of empowering women and changing the health and wellbeing statistics for women. Kiosk usage statistics show that we have already impacted hundreds of women.”
According to the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C., Kentucky’s female population ranks in the bottom third of nearly every women’s health indicator.
After hosting two women’s health summits and gathering input from 62 agencies, partners and organizations, the KCW has found that getting women to take hold of their health is crucial, Jordan said.
“We are committed to improving the health of women in Kentucky,” said David Dunn, M.D., Ph.D., UofL executive vice president for health affairs. “Education is a powerful tool in helping us overcome alarming health statistics, and the dental school kiosk provides patients access to important health and referral information. UofL is proud to be a part of this initiative.”
The UofL School of Dentistry has nearly 80,000 visits for patient care each year, according Dunn.
“The dental school has developed content for the oral health module of this and future kiosks installed in facilities across Kentucky,” said John Sauk, D.D.S., M.S., dean, UofL School of Dentistry. “Oral health is a factor in overall health. Research shows that many oral and dental associated diseases are related to a variety of systemic diseases and impact a healthy life style. Moreover, untreated dental conditions are a leading cause of missed school days among grade school children.”
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