Henry Schein Dental released a whitepaper that addresses the topic of access to care in dentistry and Universal Design as a strategic solution. The whitepaper, titled “How Universal Design Can Make Your Practice More Inclusive, Accessible—and Successful,” which is available to download free online, breaks down ways that universal design can be implemented in a dental practice in order to make the practice more accessible for people with disabilities. The following excerpt from the whitepaper explains why universal design is such an important design and business principle:
"Universal design has the potential to help individuals, society and businesses. In a dental practice, it can also advance health equity, enabling dentists to give underserved populations access to much-needed oral health care.
Unequal access to oral health care is the 'number one unmet health need' for Americans with disabilities, according to The Viscardi Center, an organization that empowers people with disabilities. With one in four adults in the U.S. having some type of disability — and approximately 61 million Americans with disabilities in total, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
But the population that benefits from universal design is even broader. Even someone considered to be able-bodied could be affected by an injury, an unfamiliarity with a new environment or product, an inherent physical characteristic — or be part of the aging population.
'Solutions that promote accessibility and usability for special populations can lead to greater degrees of independent living,' explains Laura Seefeldt, design supervisor for Henry Schein’s Integrated Design Studio. 'Universal design can also lead to a more robust participation in society as a whole for those who might otherwise have difficulty accessing spaces and services.'
Ultimately, businesses that implement universal design can increase their market reach, improve customer satisfaction and promote a positive public image. Effective universal design can also save money in the long-term if comprehensive user requirements are included as part of the initial design, rather than retrofitted later. Universal design can also attract and engage a wider range of employees and boost employee performance."
Learn more about what Henry Schein Dental is doing to support individuals with disabilities and download the full whitepaper on Universal Design here.