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ADA profile live on Sharecare website

More than 2,000 questions and answers available by end of summer

The American Dental Association is now live on Sharecare.com and providing the public with answers to their oral health questions.

The ADA has its own page on Sharecare’s website, which was co-created by Mehmet Oz, M.D., a physician who first began fielding questions on “The Oprah Show” and now hosts “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Jeff Arnold, founder of WebMD. The page shows the recent activity of the ADA, which includes answering questions such as “Why do I need to floss my teeth?” and “How can plaque make my gums red and tender?” and “What are the signs of oral cancer?” among others.

The answers to these and other questions are posted on Sharecare’s website and identified with the ADA’s logo, since the information was drawn from ADA.org. The number of questions and answers is expected to grow rapidly. Sharecare and the ADA are working to convert existing consumer information on ADA.org, and it’s expected more than 2,000 questions and answers will be available for visitors by the end of the summer.

Sharecare’s involvement fits well with the ADA’s second strategic goal: “Be the trusted resource for oral health information that will help people be good stewards of their own oral health.” Association leaders believe the collaboration will promote the ADA and reinforce the Association’s role as the leading advocate for oral health. It will also engage the public and enhance the recognition and importance of the dentist as the authority on oral health care.

Ten ADA consumer advisor spokespersons will soon be answering new questions on oral health issues posed by the public. By the end of June, ADA member dentists will also be able to participate through a simple application process that is being finalized with Sharecare.

The ADA’s profile page on Sharecare also has links to the Association’s Find-a-Dentist feature and the ADA Seal of Acceptance program and products and Spanish content posted on ADA.org.

Sharecare’s goal is to provide accurate, clear and concise health information from multiple points of view. The ADA is a leading resource for the oral health content on the site, which launched in 2010. The ADA joins other top health associations as Sharecare resources, including the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, the American Association of Retired Persons, American Diabetes Association and several leading hospitals.

Some ADA members have questioned the wisdom of the Association’s involvement with Sharecare from a risk perspective, but most have been supportive and encouraging, even volunteering to answer questions.

The decision to team up with Sharecare was not made lightly. ADA leadership approaches any decision carefully and deliberately by considering the risk and the cost against the potential benefit for members, volunteers and the public.

Sharecare approached the ADA in January, and ADA Executive Director Kathleen O’Loughlin and select senior staff met with the company’s executives to discuss the proposal. The Council on Communications adopted a resolution supporting the Sharecare proposal and the Board of Trustees in April unanimously approved the agreement.

“Being a part of this type of forum means being challenged by those with opposing views and contrasting opinions, but this is why the decision was made to be involved. The ADA must take the lead in delivering trustworthy, scientifically sound and credible information about oral health to consumers,” said ADA President Raymond F. Gist. “Sharecare also gives us the opportunity to drive traffic to ADA.org, where people can find even more information about oral health care, locate a dentist in their area and learn about other ADA programs and missions.”

Since Sharecare launched in October 2010, page views and consumer interaction has grown dramatically. In January alone, there were about 30 million page views.

“Any new venture comes with risks and apprehension by some, but we believe in Sharecare’s mission of providing accurate information about health care from different trusted voices,” Dr. Gist said. “This is a great opportunity for the ADA to increase its presence with the public, directly engage with millions of people and foster discussion of what it takes to achieve optimal oral health.”