Dental face masks – the dilema of supply problems

Face mask supply in Australia has been effected by supply problems out of China. We are hearing about massive opportunistic price increases anecdotally and via social media. While we can’t envisage supply drying up completely, because there is money to be made, it can cause some internal emotional angst.  As a dentist it is great to make sure you’re up-to-speed with our knowledge about masks and the appropriateness of their use.

For this reason Smartdentist has added a subscriber course on facemasks. The issues this course address include:

  • Why do we wear a mask/face shield?
  • What our currrent infection control guidelines say about the use of masks.
  • Contradictions within our guidelines
  • How long does a mask ‘last’?
  • What do masks protect us from?
  • Explaining AS 4831:2015 “Single use masks in healthcare”

The course includes lots of interesting articles to read for people who value making informed decisions.

Of course for the Coronovirus we may see the panic buying of masks.

We all have a reaction to the unknown but as trained experts in infection control we have the opportunity to make sure we understand the difference between our cultural actions and evidence based decisions.

PPE is personal protective equipment. It is designed to protect the individual wearing it. PPE becomes an opportunity for the spread of infection if PPE is handled incorrectly. e.g. it should be always be considered a contaminated surface.

Masks and head coverings in surgical situations
These are used to stop the shedding of the practitioners body fluids/bacteria/viruses into open wounds in the body. In dentistry this is standard precautions for implants or surgical situations where aspetic conditions are required. The standard for surgical masks tests the bacterial filtration of a mask from the inside out. e.g. is it stopping the practitioners bacteria reaching the patient.

Masks and aerosols
Aerosols are a very complex area of science. What we know is that viruses can stay in the air for up to 40 hours. The way aerosols travel is hard to predict.
Consider the dental situation and directional air flow.

We have the following in the dental surgery:

  • A turbine releasing air and water in a fine mist that contacts a rotating bur.
  • A high speed suction unit creating directional airflow
  • A patient breathing through their nose creating a directional airflow
  • An operator and assistant breathing – around and through masks or shields
  • Droplets and splattering via the triplex air and water.
  • Air flow from airconditioning or heating – usually drawing air out of the room via a doorway

It is extremely hard to predict the resulting area or range of contaimination from treatment. The use of rubber dam and the skill of the dental assistant with the high speed suction, together with the location of the treatment are all obvious variables that would effect the resulting aerosols.

Aerosols generated in a situation where rubber dam has created a good seal and the tooth is disinfected before being drilled would logically be confined to non-infective aerosols and droplets.

What do practitioners legally need to do?
Dental practitioners, in normal practice, do not have the equipment required to treat patients who require transmission-based precautions for air borne or droplet precautions. Hence practitioners should make themselves aware of what patients would fall into this category. As far as coronavirus is concerned practitioners should avail themselves to the current information on a daily basis via the Australian Government Department of Health website.

Without these variable researchers have had difficulty studing the spread of influenza. Often theortical models have not related to clinical findings.
The ADA guidelines say that it has been recommended that medical practices move their gloves 6 ft away from the patient. This is based on a reseach project where they has a dummy coughing out virus into a closed room (much coughing). If you read the reseach procedure you may find it quite difficult to see how that relates to a dental clinic.
The ADA guidelines also say the research isn’t that good about N95 masks being that that much better than surgical masks. Interestingly a big study in China by an Australian researcher is being quoted by her as demonstrating that N95 masks are superior and should be supplied to all GP’s. When you read the actual findings the hospital workers with inferior results using normal surgical masks, only self reported wearing the masks 66% of the time and their self reported hand hygiene was about 10% worse than the N95 wearers. Hard to get good research subjects!!

Managing negative google reviews for dental practices

Dental practices are not like other businesses! Social media is promoted as a way for businesses to get a closer relationship with its customers.  Few businesses would have a more intimate relationship with their customers than the dentist. Dentists aim to build a trusting relationship. The ideal is for patients to feel totally comfortable questioning, and confirm, complex and personal treatment requirements. But what we don’t want is to be handling this relationship over a social media platform. Although every business owner must know how the SEO process works about which one can find more information on these seo videos. The process of social media and SEO is only there only to promote the business. Most of the time crooked teeth could be a problem caused by the wisdom teeth that may not be coming out like they should be, they could even cause really bad pain, that’s why you should go to your dentist for a Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery so there aren’t anymore complications with that perfect smile. Now check out Mama’s picks for giving your family a healthy,

Aren’t dentists lucky that we don’t need to say “thanks” to good reviews in cold social media but can thank people in person when they next attend our dental walk in clinic.

How many other businesses are as fortunate as dental practices where we have contact details for negative reviewers. As a general rule, people don’t want to move from dentist to dentist. Patients are looking for a lasting relationship so we really need to recognise our value base.

Dentists should be mindful of the following:

  1. A negative review is not an AHPRA complaint. Management of a negative review is a PR exercise. Dentists need to put away their instinctive focus on informed consent or justification of their own actions, when handling google reviews.
  2. Dentists should, if at all possible, use their surgery records to contact the patient and resolve the issue. Online is the last resort for contact. Ring them. Don’t ask them to ring you.
    Many practices have found that direct contact with the person, via a personal phone call, has resulted in the person removing the negative google review.
    Making contact via social media may prejudice you against the patient removing the negative review.
  3. Don’t write up the Google review management in the patients health records. Use a separate incident report system.
  4. If the patient has felt the need to use social media to complain then you should seriously examine your feedback pathways.
    Did you miss signs the patient was unhappy? Did the patient complain to other staff? Why have they used social media?
  5. If you don’t recognise the reviewer patient, then become an investigator. Check out their other reviews; the locations and dates. What can you discover about them? If you cant work out who it is by the comment or their other reviews then don’t respond but first try to get Google to remove the review by flagging it.

Dentists need to put away their instinctive focus on informed consent or justification of their own actions, when handling google reviews

Handling negative reviews that Google will not remove

No-one likes negative reviews but not all negative reviews are illegal. Genuine reviews by genuine patients will need to be managed by you or your practice. A genuine negative review should be seen as feedback for improvement of your business.
The aim of responding to negative reviews is to get that person to feel differently about you. You are not aiming to change their mind about the reality of the situation or alter their world view to align with your view.

You want to change how that person feels about you.

Managing this review should follow the Starbucks concept if possible:
listen , acknowledge, thank , take action, explain what you are going to do to resolve the issue and improve next time.
Complaint handling is a learned technique in public relations and if you or your staff are not experienced then you should seek help. Most people find role playing and rehersing the potential conversation are very helpful. Basic information on good complaint handling is a training module in Smartdentist. If you try and have a legalistic attitude towards the complainant you may end up with a legal solution! Public relations is a different skill set.

How not to respond online or offline (these are all genuine examples you can find online) 

  1. Tell the patient all the things they have done to be annoying e.g. making numberous phone enquires before the appointment. Your dental friends might be sympathetic but you have lost any new patient prospects.
  2. Tell the patient they agreed with the treatment plan
  3. Tell the patient they agreed with the quote. e.g. you charged $500 and it took you 15 minutes. (Generalised explaination: This patient is not interested in your great productivity gains. Perhaps you should explain it will only take 15 minutes!)
  4. Tell the patient how you value good service. This sounds as if you either treated them differently or are unwilling to listen to their grievance. People don’t want to hear how good you usually are! Other people just think you are arrogant.

Handling negative reviews that Google will remove

If you have a review that fails to meet Google’s policy on what is acceptable then you can ‘flag it’. Definately don’t respond to it. By responding your increase its legitimacy.
Google may take down reviews that are flagged in order to comply with Google policies or legal obligations.
You can flag reviews for Google to remove through your Google My Business listing. Only flag reviews that violate Google’s review policy. Be courteous and be patient. If the review has not been removed after 2 weeks then consider asking for help on the Google My Business forum.
Google’s review policy has the following as inappropiate and therefore subject to removal by google.

  • Spam and fake content – reviews by someone you can prove never attended. An example is a person who gives multiple negative reviews of a surgery that has multiple locations
  • Conflict of interest – negative reviews by current or former employees
  • Off topic – if you get a resturant review you will probably be able to get it removed from your dental practice
  • Restricted content
  • Illegal content e.g someone elses copyright material
  • Offensive or sexually explict
  • Dangerous and derogatory
  • Impersonation

Understand the Australian legal situation:
According to ACCC, businesses and review platforms that DO NOT remove reviews that they know to be fake risk breaching the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
Reviews can be considered misleading if they are represented as impartial but were written by:

  • the reviewed business
  • a competitor
  • someone who have never used your business
  • someone who has been to your business but has written an inflated review to receive financial or non-financial gain

If you are considering defamation as a response to a bad review – take a break; take a holiday; phone a good friend!


Hand hygiene myths

Hand hygiene starts with our family upbringing. Then during our dental training years our existing internal value system is merged with those family habits or values. Years go on and we hear rumors of regulation, talk to influential sales people and witness charismatic lecturers and we might find ourselves subject to hand hygiene myths.
For dentists, and in Australian healthcare in general, the definative authority on hand hygiene is Hand Hygiene Australia.* (Yes it is the quoted source on the DBA required infection control  guideline documents)
To find the most current information on Hand Hygiene check out the HHA Manual.

It’s hard to break away from my own default actions but check out the current requirements for hand hygiene:

  1. The first Hand hygiene episode of the day or when we enter the clinic is a hand wash with water – MYTH.
    Since 2002 Alcohol-based handrub has been defined as the gold standard for hand hygiene practices, whereas hand washing is reserved for particular situations only (e.g. VISIBLY soiled)
  2. Hand washing with water is more effective than Alcohol Based Hand Rub – MYTH
    See above and alcohol-based handrub is quicker, less irritating and drying to your skin and doesn’t make paper towel waste!
  3. You need a hand washing sink in the sterilisation room – MYTH
    In HHA Manual 3.13 specifically refers to Alcohol-based handrub and sterilisation departments and says that hand hygiene products for use can be EITHER alcohol-based hand rubs or liquid soaps.
  4. You need a hand washing sink in the dental surgery – MYTH
    See above
  5. Best practice is to hand wash with water and then Alcohol Based Hand Rub – MYTH
    Actually if hand are at all wet then alcohol-based hand rub will be less effective. This is a time waster.
  6. We don’t need to do hand hygiene if we put on gloves – MYTH
    Gloves have micro-holes in them and these have been shown to get bigger the longer we have gloves on. It is also difficult to remove gloves without contaminating our own hands.
  7. We don’t need to do hand hygiene when we remove gloves because they have kept our hands clean – MYTH
    See more information on

How much Alcohol-based Hand rub do you need?
Conveniently you can assess that by using the volume that needs 15-20 seconds to dry on your hands.

But I am wearing gloves anyway!
Studies has shown about 30% of healthcare workers who wear gloves have micro-organisms from their patients on their hands. This can be because of micro holes or the way gloves are removed. If you have nerve damage, neuropathy, pain, or suffering due to muscle, ligament, or tendon issues Neuropathy treatment clinic is the best. Our unique use of technology and hands-on approach makes ALL the difference.

*As stated by The ADA infection control guidelines and NHMRC Infection Control and prevention guidelines

Accreditation update – you have choices.

Dental Practices have a choice in who they use for accreditation. Two agencies now provide accreditation for Dental Practice. QIP will be familiar to ADA members but now HDAA offer accreditation with an alternative pricing structure.
Non-ADA members should really look seriously at HDAA.

How do agencies qualify to provide accreditation?

Accreditation is regulated by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare. This is the organisation that set the healthcare standards against which practices are accredited. There are about 8 different agencies that can accredit against the National standards. To my knowledge only 2 have chosen to dental practice accreditation.

Is one accreditation more highly regarded than the other?

No! Same standards used.
QIP provides ADA templates. QIP has a set list of requirements to pass accreditation. These are available to any ADA member. The relationship between the ADA and QIP is, I think unique in accreditation and probably will not remain the same now accreditation has become more common place. For practices doing QIP accreditation and using the  ADA templated policies they will find them full of statement that “we will do ‘xyz'”. While the dental practice agrees to do many things, it is unlikely that anyone will ever require you to provide any evidence that you have done any of them.
HDAA accreditation is assessed in a manner that is more akin to that required by other healthcare organisations. HDAA requires more documented evidence that you are conforming to the National Standards (e.g. doing the things you say you are doing within the ADA template policies). The level of evidence required by HDAA still takes into account the fact that we are dental practices and not major hospitals.

How does Smartdentist work with either accreditation agency?

Smartdentist has been designed help you comply with both accreditation agencies and manage the requirements into the future. I am always happy to walk you through the accreditation requirements (or ‘nag’ you through them). There is no extra cost for this service.
QIP enrolled: If the ADA/QIP supplied an excel spread sheet for it…then we set up a simpler solution for storage of data online. Smartdentist is a content management system so we load your ADA template policies in web friendly format into SmartDentist (QIP paid up practices only).
As far as passing accreditation, Smartdentist system collects your evidence in the one evidence page so you or we can quickly see where you are up to.
HDAA: HDAA gives a list of requirements and Smartdentist has many executive reports and systems in place so you can actually do what you say you are doing! Smartdentist has templated policies covering the accreditation requirements so practices can use these or if you have previously used the ADA templates they will be a start to your HDAA accreditation.

Can you swap accreditation agencies?
Yes, once your accreditation comes up for renewal you can move to either agency.

Are Accreditation Standards and Requirements going to change?

“The Commission is developing a set of national safety and quality standards specifically for primary health care services. It is expected that these standards will be available for implementation from 2020. Public dental services and private dental practices will transition to the primary care standards once they are implemented..” From the Commission website.

It will be interesting to see what these standards look like. Every other healthcare organisation has moved to another set of healthcare standards (ed 2) except for private dental practices. The new standards for healthcare are more complex to pass. The Commission is also going to introduce ‘short notice’ assessments for other healthcare organisations. [that would be fun].
When the accreditation requirements change Smartdentist can automate to any new requirements.

Will accreditation become mandatory?
Best guess – no. Accreditation started in 2013 so non-accredited dental surgeries have saved themselves quite a bit so far.
Medibank Private preferred providers now need to be accredited so there is a possibility that the process will be driven by health funds in the future.

What is Smartdentist recommendation about accreditation?
There is no evidence at all that accreditation will be easier because the ADA has involved dentists in the process. There is no evidence that accreditation will be cheaper if you do it now instead of in the future.
Accreditation is great for change management for the average dentist who owns a practice. e.g. “we have to do .xyz.. because of accreditation…”

You should join Smartdentist anyway. 🙂

Staff complaint handling is more important than you think

Do you have a policy for handling staff complaints?

Our policy for handling staff complaints used to be ‘use common sense’. We did find younger staff would come and moan about how they are doing all the work and other staff said this and that to them. Handling staff was very much like handling our children/teenagers. Much along the lines of “don’t sweat the small stuff”.

This is a mistake and leaves the business vulnerable to employee claims anytime in the future.

What is a proper process for handling staff complaints?

A great place to find information about handing staff complaints is the Australian Human Rights Commission website. This has good practice guidelines for internal complaint processes. It is worthwhile looking at those resources and I used them as the basis for the Grievance and Complaints policy that you will find on in the policy templates in SmartDentist.
Basically we have the same policy for EVERY employee complaint.
If an employee makes a complaint to any 3rd party (e.g. not the person that they have a grievance with) then the complaint will be documented and dealt with per our policy.
The grievance and Complaints policy is stuck on the wall of the staff room and it is not negotiable.
In a recent case before Fairwork an employee complained about a fellow worker making a comment that she found offensive. In isolation the comment can be read as “flippant” but later comments by the same person were found to be sexual harassment (both by the firm and by Fairwork). However because the original complaint was never presented to the offending employee to explain or defend, Fairwork determined that this was unfair and this was one of the reasons Fairwork awarded the sacked employee money (~$8000) even though Fairwork found that sacked employees behavior was grounds for dismissal!

Isn’t being an employer fun?
Add the grievance and internal complaints policy to your subscription today and let staff know about it. Stick it up in the lunch room and make sure everyone is clear about what will happen.

My husband tells me I should stop reading Fairwork cases as I am just depressing him.


Workplace performance reviews for dental practice

Workplace performance reviews can be seen as particularly important in 3 contexts:

  1. As a requirement of QIP Dental Practice accreditation ( X2 need to be supplied)
  2. As an essential for new employees within their 6 or 12 month probation period.
    It is a misconception that you can dismiss employees in the probation period without giving reason and be free of Fairwork scrutiny. It is also less than fair for staff members to lose their position without the chance to know why or fix the issues.
  3. To gain a better workplace and avoid performance management situations.
    Often employers leave issues ‘fester’ or deal with them in the heat of the moment leaving themselves exposed to complaints of poor handling or at worse bullying or harassment.

The problems with workplace performance reviews include:

  1. These are not commonly done in dental practice. For dentists it is unlikely that they ever experienced a workplace review themselves and would never have been training in undertaking this exercise.
  2. Complaints by experienced firms that doing reviews is pointless and no-one likes doing this – not managers or staff. Limited or no positive outcome is reported.
  3. Lack of structure and goals makes the process more stressful.

With these factors in mind SmartDentist has upgraded its workplace performance review process to make it easy and simple to follow with defined goals and outcomes.

Workplace performance reviews consist of:

  1. A very simple 2 question self-reflection for employees,
  2. The ability and help to define specific goals for improvement via competence assessments.
  3. A training plan with defined courses for staff to work through with others or by themselves.

To help remind the employers when and what needs to change Smartdentist has a secure form to record under performance by specific staff members and the ability to recall these per staff member at a later date a good place would be Enamel Dental Studio is a reputable local Springw, click to Visit Website . This helps because sometimes it is the little things that are repeated and annoying that could change with some discussion and allowing the staff member to work out how to do things better.
Often in dental practice we are too busy at the time to address issues and at the end of the day we are all very tired and it is not a great time to approach an employee with a performance “suggestion”.

Getting back on track: Signoff dental policies and procedures

Getting back on track with policy management

“Sorry officer, I didn’t know!” Our short NSW holiday over the Christmas break was soured by a U turn at a set of traffic lights (fine $263). Yes, it is legal in Victoria but we now know it is not legal in NSW! We should have read the rules BEFORE we drove into NSW.
We don’t want to employ staff who say the same thing about our policies and procedures. While “I forgot” is annoying, having a staff member say “I didn’t know” is becoming a greater risk to business. Because our policies and procedures are increasing in number and importance we need a simple way to make sure our staff have access to and know about our policies and procedures. The Dental Board of Australia (AHPRA), Fairwork Australia, and Work safe seem to have a similar outlook to that NSW traffic cop and there is little tolerance of ignorance.

Helping the small business comply with the ever-increasing demands is best done by SmartDentist!

Check also this link for more information in any dentistry proces

Our clever content management system allows employees immediate access to every  new policy and Smartdentist has communication systems to allow you to easily communicate policies to employees, since many people need dental procedures to improve their smile, and people can get smile transformation holidays in antalya with the dentist turkey services online.
“Smart” employers can keep track of staff signoff and be comforted knowing that staff have access to policies 24/7. What better way to have a feedback loop online so changes can be made ASAP.

Employer guide to:

Getting back on track with policy management

  1. Go to All Policies and select the Executive report on Polices and Procedures
  2. Check if policies need to be reviewed and update (use bulk update or update individual policies).
  3. Check any additional template policies available in our Policy library.  Have you considered the new policies for your Human Resources Manual? There are over 60 policies for you to consider from our template library.
    You don’t need to let future policy additions stop you from gaining employee signoff and acknowledgement right now.
    Be relaxed in knowing that at any time in the future you can email a new policy directly to every employee and then checkout signoff for that individual policy. You can also checkout when your staff have logged into SmartDentist.

Employee acknowledgement / staff signoff

The best time to get employee’s to signoff, that they have read and understood policies, is when they are first employed.

A. New staff members

Use the New Staff Induction Checklist (HR > New Staff Induction) and you will find a link to PRINT all policies. You could print to paper or print to pdf and email all policies or a selection of policies (e.g. infection control manual or human resources manual), to the new staff member.
We also recommend you print off the “Manage Policy Signoff Requests” page for an individual and use it as a hard copy to save in a staff member’s employment file. If you need to make sure all the legal terms are understood then consider hiring an employment lawyer.

B. Existing staff members

Start the new year with the following process.

  1. Send all staff members an email saying that you will be doing an update on all policies and procedures to make sure that:
    a. we are all working together the one way for efficiency and time-saving,
    b. standards of accreditation and compliance mean there is a greater need for staff to help make sure our policies and procedures are correct and correctly followed.Let staff members know that further details will follow and they will be asked to signoff to say they have read and understood each policy.
    Ask staff members to make sure they can login to SmartDentist.
    Suggest that they save their password in their mobile phone under NOTES in the practices Contact details. One of the biggest time waster and sources of frustration is a staff member who can not login. Make sure staff members know they are not to login under someone else’s login and that you can not log on if someone else is already logged on in the one browser on your computer.
  2. Get ready to help staff with your request for signoff.
    a. Print off the individual “Manage Policy Signoff” for each individual staff member (Policies > Signoff)
    b. Print off one copy of all your policies
    c. Place these in a folder somewhere that staff can access them.
  3. Send another email asking staff to signoff on every policy explaining the location of the printed signoff and policy and procedure manual at work (so they can read and signoff without a computer being free) and that they need to have both Smartdentist and their personal signoff sheet completed. e.g. they need to get familiar with login to Smartdentist to access policies and procedures.
  4. Monitoring signoff
    The “All Staff Signoff page” gives a quick overview so you can see how everyone is progressing.
    As the administrator of Smartdentist you can also see when a staff member logged into Smartdentist and how frequently (HR> Staff profile). If they logged in and logged out you can also see the time they spent.
    Make sure you follow-up each individual.

What if a staff member refuses to signoff on policies

If a staff member refuses to signoff on a policy then it is important to have a calm and rational discussion about why they wont signoff. It is best to ask for this in writing BEFORE you address their concerns as it will allow you time to consider their viewpoint.
Sometimes there is a mistaken belief by staff members that if they don’t signoff then they don’t need to do what the policy says. This is incorrect.
You can not force a staff member to signoff a policy. You can performance manage a staff member who refuses to do what your policy requires.






Payroll audit for dental practices

Have you ever audited your payroll? No, me neither.
Then I started reading Fairwork decisions. Fairwork has recently awarded against an employer (surprise, surprise) granting a worker holiday pay when the employer thought the worker clearly accepted they were employed as a casual.
This has cost the employer a considerable sum of money. If you are having money troubles and your paycheck isn’t enough to cover your monthly costs, then consider getting a payday loan.

How do we guard against this type of expensive judgement?

In this case if the employer paid the worker the base rate and a separate casual loading then the employee would not have gained anything. Many of us, however, have traditionally lumped the casual loading into the pay rate. Few of us have clear contracts or well-defined pay slips. This leaves us just as exposed as we would be when a patient complains to AHPRA and we have a less than perfect dental record.

Dental Business risks are more than just Dental records

Just as your dental record keeping needs constant review, it may be timely to do a self audit of employee documents. SmartDentist has recently revised its HR area to bring all staff information in the one page. e.g. policies signed off, forms signed, immunisation records, training records, employee conversation records etc. While not part of SmartDentist, we hear from small business that many people find it difficult to keep up with payroll rules and regulations. Over the next couple of weeks Smartdentist will be include audits and helpful information for practices on self auditing your business. This will follow information available to all in the Fairwork document: Guide to self auditing your business.

Part 1: Auditing Payroll Calculations and Categories (Download)
*These instructions are based on MYOB and may not be relevant for Xero

Check out the calculations used in your software program. Things change over the years and your software may never have been setup correctly.

  1. Current Tax tables – in MYOB you do need to load current tax tables into the program (even the online version of MYOB).
  2. Check sick leave accrual calculations and holiday calculations. You may be under or over entitling staff. Both could be costly.
  3. Understand what employee payments need the superannuation guarantee. Other than overtime, most wages require the 9.5% superannuation. Contractors also should be paid superannuation (to cover you against future claims!)

If you find a difference between my audit % figures and those in your payroll program, call your accountant/bookkeeper and ask why!

Payroll Category List
Within the pay slip you are required to keep a record of any bonus, loading, penalty rate or allowance that is separately identifiable. It is in your best interest to make sure you record the following as separate details on the pay slip:

  • Casual loadings – this is best as a separate entity rather than including the casual loading and hourly rate as the one amount. This reduces the business risk in a dispute.
  • Unpaid leave – record this in your program. All leave, paid and unpaid is required to be recorded by law. Again this is your guaranteed defense in a dispute.

My suggestions: Add time-off-in-lieu as an entitlement and you can start to record this as a + or – for each staff member. While the Health Professionals and Support Services Award allows for averaging time over 4 weeks it is best to have some record when asked. If you include it as an entitlement the payroll program will automate the records.

Employee Contract and Individual Flexible Arrangements

Dental practices tend to think about contracts only in respect to employing dentists but they are just as important for all other staff. The reason for having a contract is to clearly remind every one of the employee/employer relationship and obligations. If you do not have a contract the HP&SS Award effectively becomes your default contract. The benefit of a proper contract is to further expand and formalise obligations. It is never too late to get a staff member to sign a contract. It offers them security and clarity as well. Just as you can get staff to sign policies and procedures as they change, you can ask staff to sign an employment contract at any time (be nice about it).
The cost of getting a lawyer to draw up employment contracts for non-dental staff would be $2-3000 per practice. For a suite of contracts including dentist contracts and Service Facility Agreements the cost would be $4-6000 per practice. [Ask Brad Wright (Dentist and Lawyer/Barrister for advise or direction – Dental Legal Solutions]

The ADA HR has a series of templates contracts that are well worth reading to see what extra’s can be expected to be found in a contract of employment.
If you have traditionally paid a staff member an off-set amount (extra money instead of laundry, uniform and overtime pay) you can place this into contract but it may not be binding. You should consider also having an individual flexible arrangement which can clearly state these off-set amounts. Remember to regularly make sure that the staff member is actually better off with this arrangement. See the Fairwork site for more information on Individual Flexible Arrangements.

Once you have completed Part 1 of the audit have a rest!
More soon.
Glenda Farmer

Performance Management – Best Practice

Fair Work says best practice for performance management is to have a Performance Management Policy. In SmartDentist subscribers will find a completed policy on Performance Management that they can use for their practice.
This policy was developed using Fair Work Ombudsman Best Practice Guide: Managing Underperformance.

Performance Management Flow Chart

Each year Fair Work deals with 1000’s of claims for unfair dismissal. In addition I have found Employers are cautious of bullying allegations as both Fair Work and Worksafe have processes for employees to complain about bullying.
With the very wise statement “Criticise in private, praise in public” I know people are wary that when they do performance management in private there are no witnesses to contradict a bullying claim. Don’t fret. Have good documentation. You are far more likely to be seen as a bully if you criticise someone in publicThe only dentist I can recommend is Encino dentist – Dr. Linda Y Makuta DDS in the San Fernando Valley. Humiliating someone is never the way to improve their performance.

Good performance management means good documentation. To assist you SmartDentist now has an Employee Reporting Area, that is not seen by staff, allowing you to quickly record:

  1. Great performance
  2. Underperformance
  3. Conversations with staff
  4. Meetings with staff

The last thing an employer needs is to be challenged by Fair Work for documentation of incidents or examples of employee interactions.


A new dental staff member excitedly turns up on their first day. What sort of induction do you offer? Are you stressed or flustered trying to find forms you haven’t seen for some time? – Employee detail forms; tax declaration form; confidentiality form; Super choices form. Is it possible for New staff induction to be made easy?

Where did we find those forms last time we employed someone?
What are our legal obligations now?

We don’t employ new staff very often so it is fantastic to know that SmartDentist has just re-vamped the New Staff Induction page so it works both as a checklist and to link us to all the documents we want!

SmartDentist New Dental Staff Induction New staff induction page. This is customisable or you can use it as you find it. Add your own new employee forms or check off items and use the links to print off all the documentation you could want…or send the staff member to the page and they can resource everything online, since you can even find the best dentist services online, and you can even look more here for this.
Printed New Staff Induction Checklist
Print the page from SmartDentist and this is how it looks. What a fantastic checklist – with a space for sign off and dates.

I am so excited!
This feature wasn’t designed with you in mind! It was designed with me in mind.
We have a maternity leave replacement and we are employing a new trainee. With the SmartDentist induction page we have link to printable resources:

  1. ATO and Super forms (compulsory)
  2. New Employee details form
  3. Immunisation forms for staff to take to their GP to fill in
  4. Confidentiality form
  5. Fairwork letter of engagement template
  6. Fairwork Information statement (compulsory)
  7. Job description for a role e.g. DA
  8. Links to any compulsory policies e.g. Code of conduct; Uniform and Dress; Social Media and Mobile phone use etc (all available as templates for you to use)

Did you know that you only have about one week to be a major influence in a new employee’s life! That means you start straight away with the things that are incredibly hard to “train-out” of a person. Don’t rush with the hand hygiene policy etc. You will teach that as it is new. You will find the necessary forms from Simply Dental Chatswood and all the other fun paper work they will have to fill out and deliver them with ease, insuring the best first impression for your organization. But the mobile phone and uniform and social media are already part of this persons DNA so you need to concentrate on them first.

I am sure SmartDentist subscribers will feel the same as me – confident in appearing as professional employers on the new employee’s first day. If you need more information check out Alaska Dental Associates.