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Forsyth dentech and Dental Innovation with Mariya Filipova

Mariya Filipova is chief innovation officer at CareQuest Innovation Partners. CareQuest Innovation Partners invests in startups offering innovative solutions to improve overall health through oral health. Several of the companies that they have funded were selected to pitch at Forsyth dentech both last year and this year. In her capacity as CIO, Ms. Filipova oversees innovation, incubation, and investment activities supporting equitable access to oral health care.

We invited Ms. Filipova to join two of the panel discussions at Forsyth dentech this year. Ahead of the conference, she shared with us some of her insights regarding exciting developments in oral health technology innovation and why she is excited to partner with Forsyth. We are pleased to present that Q&A here.   

A Q&A with Mariya Filipova

Can you tell us a little about CareQuest Innovation Partners?

CareQuest Innovation Partners exists to validate and scale solutions that improve overall health through oral health. We accomplish that in a number of ways. We invest and partner with companies aligned with our mission to make oral health more equitable, accessible and integrated. We conduct validation activities such as pilots and IRB studies to generate business and clinical proof points and make it easier for innovative solutions to be deployed and scaled in the market. We also ran SMILE Health, the one of a kind 10-week accelerator program for Simple Minimally Invasive Integrated Low-Barrier to Access and Equitable solutions that improve oral health for all.

What are the company’s current top priorities? How does your participation in Forsyth dentech 2023 align with those priorities?

We are looking to advance the oral systemic health connection. The scientific evidence is clear: oral health is connected to the health of our heart, mind, bones, lungs, and overall wellbeing. Unfortunately, the current payment models, clinical and administrative workflows are not well suited to operationalize this scientific connection. We are focused on improving outcomes and prioritizing solutions and initiatives that advance integrated workflows and end-to-end patient and clinician experiences. We are thrilled to see so many companies integrating oral interventions into the treatment and management of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and sleep apnea for example.

Over the past five years, there has been remarkable growth in oral health innovation. What technologies are you most excited about right now?

The biggest opportunity for me here is not a single technology but the convergence of multiple technologies coming together. Advances in sensors, AI and imaging are making it possible to monitor, anticipate and intervene outside of the clinical setting and embed care in our daily routine. This is exciting.

Let’s take technologies like Lura Health, for example, which can embed and charge remotely a tiny sensor in an implant or a retainer. The real time, longitudinal data flow that sensor provides could be used to assess individual’s risk of developing caries, personalize treatment plans, or drive patient behavior. Or companies like Biolectrics who are making it possible to address periodontal disease from the comfort of your home as a companion treatment or maintenance between dentist visits.

I know you are probably thinking, what about the role of AI in all of this? Using the lessons learned and experience gathered from the medical side, I see an opportunity to leapfrog and accelerate adoption of AI use cases in dental. Starting with use cases that we have years of deployment data from healthcare, such as claims processing, and then expanding into AI-enabled health management tools would enable us to anticipate and proactively intervene to keep patients healthy and out of the clinic. There are also opportunities to use AI as a decision support tool, patient engagement and education tool and ultimately use the computing power of AI to anticipate outcomes, stratify risk and become an ambient companion to care teams. AI is just scratching the surface of what it could deliver when used responsibly and embedded seamlessly in the clinical and administrative workflows.

Oral health is essential to overall wellness. Unfortunately, there remains a divide between the medical and dental professions. How is CareQuest Innovation Partners working to address that divide?

CareQuest Innovation Partners is focused on advancing solutions that are making it easier for medical and dental teams to collaborate, putting patients at the center. One of the companies we supported through the SMILE Health accelerator last year, SleepArchitects, also a Forsyth dentech participant, has built an integrated end-to-end solution that brings sleep specialist and sleep dentists together to treat patients with obstructive sleep apnea when oral appliance therapy could be an effective option for them. The company has gone above and beyond in removing barriers to access for patients, helping them submit required documentation to healthcare insurance and offering zero-interest financing options.

We are also partnering with the ecosystem to identify, nurture and support innovators and entrepreneurs within the dental and medical community. One of the ways we do this is through the Systemic Health Entrepreneurs (SHE) Network, a nationwide network of medical and dental entrepreneurs who come together to learn from each other and support each other’s endeavors. We are proud collaborators on this initiative with our partners at Henry Schein Cares Foundation. Our next SHE event is in Las Vegas on Oct 8th as part of one of the largest healthcare conferences, HLTH.  If you are a local entrepreneur and would like to join fellow innovators from the medical and dental community, please reach out to me for details.

Finally, we at CareQuest Innovation Partners, contribute to and embed in our work the extensive research, trainings and learnings from health transformation programs on medical dental integration from our parent organization, CareQuest Institute for Oral Health.

Why are you excited about attending Forsyth dentech this year?

Dentech brings together like-minded innovators and high-level decision makers who could truly shape the future of oral systemic health. I am thrilled to be participating and helping advance solutions and initiatives addressing critical topics of today – equity, integrated care across disciplines and accessibility.

Anything else you would like to add?

We are excited to see so many SMILE 2022 and 2023 graduates participate at Forsyth dentech and get the support from this community: SleepArchitects, SMILE Health 2022; Biolectrics SMILE Health 2023, SMILE Health 2022, and Get Grin SMILE Health 2022.[SJ1] 

CareQuest Innovation Partners is a Gold Sponsor of Forsyth dentech 2023

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