Metro North Takes Digital to the Community and Improves Oral Health

At Delib, we are continually inspired by the organisations we work with. And we want to introduce you to our clients who are transforming the digital engagement space and, most importantly, transforming the lives of their customers.

When their community and their health are at the heart of everything they do, and their ethos is ‘Connecting for Health’, you know Metro North Hospital and Health Service will strive for continual innovation in community engagement.

Metro North’s Oral Health Services team, led by Jan Anderson, has recently taken their consultation to community members who experience significant personal and social barriers, with the aim of enhancing and improving their health and wellbeing.

Jan and her team recognised that to connect with these patients they would need to move out of the office and clinics and connect at a location where they felt most comfortable.

To reach those customers in the Queensland community who experience high social disadvantage, homelessness, mental health, alcohol and drug addiction issues, Oral Health North partnered with leading community groups such as The Big Issue, Moonyah Recovery Services and Queensland Injector’s Health Network.

This partnership allowed the team to gather feedback about why this group might not access oral health services and how they could be encouraged to attend. But instead of delivering oral health promotion, as the team originally assumed, this open consultation gave them better insights and information on what the community wanted and needed.

As a result, Oral Health changed their plan and supported people in understanding how to make appointments and access public dental services, provided outreach, much-needed dental treatment and distributed essential items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste. This initial activity became the platform for continued outreach and engagement with the community.

One community member the team met was Mooynah client Ronnie. Ronnie (and his transformation) had a big impact on the team. After Oral Health provided him with new dentures, Ronnie’s confidence grew and he was selected to play for Australia in the Homeless Games in Glasgow. He engaged actively in community, education and ultimately employment. Ronnie is now also firmly giving back through promoting the advantages of oral health care with his peers.

While the team was focused on gaining valuable input via Citizen Space, it then also became the ‘vehicle’ through which conversations could be started and strong connections and relationships could be developed. And for those readers involved in engagement, you’ll appreciate this as a very real achievement of this program.

Metro North Consumer and Community Engagement Manager Shelley Kulperger identified that through the use of Citizen Space, data was also able to be inputted daily and ongoing evaluation carried out. This ongoing evaluation shaped the consultation and communication and team members could identify issues and react to information as it came in.

Shelley spoke to us about community engagement and what it means to Metro North, and it has really stuck with us at Delib.

Shelley reflected, “This is not just about collecting data, it’s about connecting with people.”