Dental Policies and Procedures: practical or dust collectors

Dental Policies and Procedures on SmartDentist are practical and not dust collectors. Smartdentist model for dental practice policies and procedures is seeing more and more subscription from a couple of different types of dental practice.

  1. Dental Practices who have rarely looked at their printed Dental Policies and Procedures.
    These dental practices are very aware of Dental Board legal requirements for an Infection Control Manual. Dentist like to see themselves running “best practice”. On a practical level these dental practices are time short; have long-term staff who are skilled in doing their job, not writing about it!
    These are Dental Practices aware that having current policies and procedures is GOOD RISK MANAGEMENT. SmartDentist Templated Policies and Procedures are in “bite sized” chunks and written with a normal dental practice in mind. Anyone can modify these ready-made policies to fit their own practice model (if necessary).
  2. Multi-site or bigger dental practices are becoming a big part of SmartDentist content management for policies and procedures. Often experienced Dental Practice Managers have become very aware that policies and procedures can be useful for:
    a) Efficiency: reducing variations in multi-staff environments
    b) New staff orientation: professional and quick orientation programs were written lists make for better training.
    c) Communication: using email to let staff know about changes.
    d) Convenience: One place; online for 24/7 access
    e) Cost saving and time-saving: Most office managers love to work with teams and not spend days on paperwork.
    Smartdentist content management has features not available anywhere else. Smartdentist is a solution rather than a system!

Why SmartDentist Content Management Solution for Policies and Procedure

SmartDentist constantly works towards making usefulness the focus of policies and procedures. Our innovations are things we want for our own practice, and we keep improving to make using policies and procedures practical and worthwhile for big or small organisations. Rarely do you get insights into other dental practices policies and procedures: In SmartDentist you will find an expanding range of policies and procedures which can be adapted to serve regulation compliance and practical solutions. User friendly!

For dental practices by dental practices.

How to make your own workable Infection Control Manual

I have heard dentist say they do have an infection control manual because they have the ADA  Infection Control Guidelines!
It’s a great start but it is not what the Dental Board or the ADA wants you to consider as your OWN Infection Control Manual.
However if you want to do your own manual you can’t start at a better place than the ADA guidelines. Try the following to make your own practical manual –

  1. Print off the whole of the ADA Infection Control Guidelines
  2. Cut the guidelines up into sections representing work zones in your own clinic.
    e.g. What part of the guidelines gives insights into the actions of what part of your clinic?
  3. Label pieces of paper according to work zones or work procedures.
    e.g. cleaning up after patients.
  4. Put the heading “Policy” onto those labelled pieces of paper and then stick the printed part of the ADA guideline onto that paper.
  5. Follow the policy with the word -“Procedures”.
  6. Get the staff to write down “point form” (e.g. as a list) what actions they take. You can also video with your iPhone instead of writing and have an online procedure.
  7. Do the same with the ADA practical guides and then the Standards Australia reprocessing standard.
  8. Congrats you have a practical procedure manual. (alternatively subscribe to SmartDentist)

What does the Dental Board of Australia and other regulators want?

The DBA wants you to DO what your policies and procedures say you do!
SmartDentist helps with small readable, discussion type training exercise’s in the areas of infection control where we get the most questions.
SmartDentist encourages the use of practical procedures which are linked to; but separated from lengthy formal policies.

Changes in Dental Practice

Dental practice moves forward with the times. Computers are common place. Each staff has a smart phone. Often it is an iPhone. Gone are the days when dental practices were advised that the best manual was a printed dust collector.
Dentists time is best spent in the clinic doing what they are trained for.
Consider SmartDentist…it’s just the smart way to go.

How staff learn or why policies and procedures don’t seem to work

Nothing has frustrates me more than introducing a new process at work, or streamlining an existing process. Why haven’t staff followed my very comprehensive, written procedures!

Since starting SmartDentist I have gained a greater understanding of what Policies and Procedures are good at; how to make them better; and what they wont do for the practice.
The following hints and learnings aim to help others who have suffered similar frustration. Consider:

  1. What Policies and Procedures are good for
  2. What Policies and Procedures wont do
  3. Better printing of Policies and Procedures (SmartDentist)
  4. Great understanding about our staff and how people learn

What Policies and Procedures are Good for!

1. Making sure AHPRA doesn’t ‘get’ you! Yes you need an Infection Control Manual (made of policies and procedures) because the Dental Board requires one. In Q’LD you also need policies and procedures so you have an Infection Control Management Plan. Dentists don’t really learn about this aspect of practice management in University yet we are legally responsible for what happens in our dental practice reprocessing. Practitioners benefit by considering creating a set of policies as worthwhile learning tool. The procedures used by your DA might not be correct or efficient. (The way we were shown in the past is the greatest predictor of what we do in the present. ) A good set of policies can help a practitioner understand and streamline or update procedures. They are a great insurance policy guarding against the stress of the loss of a knowledgeable staff member.

2. Having a procedure where everyone does the same thing the same way. Not only is this a safety precaution but it means life actually becomes easier for everyone (saving time and money). Established policies can sit on the SmartDentist website (untouched) until a new staff member needs them as a teaching aid. It is very handy to have good written procedures in case a significant staff member leaves. These need to be refreshed every so often. DON’T expect staff to look at these policies once everything is running well.

3. Performance management. When there is a communication breakdown or dispute about staff actions there needs to be formal written procedures in place in order to evaluate future staff actions or performance. Staff cannot refuse to do something that is reasonable, part of their normal work or customary. In regards to infection control practices, a staff member can not engage in conduct that causes serious and imminent risk to the health and safety or a person or the reputation, viability or profitability of a business. Of course staff would need adequate counselling, education and help to undertake their performance tasks. (see below – How staff learn)

What policies and procedures wont do

  1. Policies wont work without work.
    Policies and procedures should be living documents of excellence /efficiency. Often people are just too busy doing the job they have been given to actually question the processes of the job. Give some time to considering if processes are necessary and are efficient. Not every policy needs changing, not every task needs explaining but some processes will need more complex explainations or reviewing. Each policy review is the opportunity to get rid of old fashion inefficiencies or streamlined procesess.
  2. Written policies and procedures wont save a practice from workplace disputes. Just because you have a policy in place doesn’t mean you can discipline someone for not following it. You need to educate, tell, do and find out why they aren’t doing something. Workplaces are gigantic relationship centres and relationships require work and tolerance and give and take.

Better printing of policies and procedures (SmartDentist)

In developing better policies it can be helpful to consider what you find useful in instruction manuals. Many people only use instruction manuals when they can’t work out how to use the system or object. Instruction manuals that include relevant pictures are easier to follow and instruction manuals written in short point form are easier to read.
Hence it has been found that most used policies /procedures are:

  • short
  • easy to read
  • and help staff when faced with an uncommon process or problem

Consider developing two different types of policies. One could be for practical use and one for legal requirements or complex justification (e.g. infection control policies).
We only print policies if they have instruction for unusual or stressful processes, or if constant reminders of their content need to be seen by staff.
[For example I have the following policies located at our reception: Start of Day Reception; Middle of Day Reception; End of Day Reception; Payments and Hicaps.
These are separate laminated, two-sided documents printed out from SmartDentist. I have found longer policies are best divided into 2 separate policies (if they need printing and laminating). When a policy is updated it is easier to simply change a single sheet of paper.

How to print more useful polices from SmartDentist
Each SmartDentist policy has a small icon next to the name which reduced the “guff” off the policy. It also has the date on the top of the policy.
(Guff = resources; links; National standards etc. When submitting for accreditation please include the “guff.”)
Using the icon to gain a shorter version of the policy will also print better lists and save paper.

How our staff learn

Most of our staff are kinesthetic learners. They learn by doing. Learning should follow the following sequence – Tell; Show; Do; Review…and do this over and over again.
Do you know that changing a habit generally takes two months? That is two months of constant persistent reinforcement – do and review; do and review.
We communicated changes via:
1. Staff communication book
2. Verbal communication
3. Emails from SmartDentist – using basic communication form or the policy communication.

Consequences :- If there are no consequences for not changing, learning will take longer and reinforcement will need to be more persistent and regular. What consequence can staff introduce to remind them of the need to make procedural changes?
Self-care: – Find a mentor or supporter to encourage and reminding you about 1) your own inability to change 2) about the great things the staff do everyday without instructions!

 

Facts and Myths Infection Control

infection control myths and facts

Facts and Myths of infection control (heard or read in 2016)

  1. Via “tracking” you can demonstrate a patient hasn’t got an infection from your practice (controlling infection control!)
  2. An ultrasonic is needed even if you have a washer-disinfector.
  3. It’s quicker to ask the ADA than seek the answer yourself.
  4. No-one has ever got an infection from a dental practice.
  5. Ever Sterilisation cycle needs a PCD (Helix or Bowie Dick)
  6. An ICMP (infection control management plan) replaces your sterilisation manual.

Let’s look at the statements –
1. Tracking instruments
Tracking is required to keep dentists and their staff “on the ball”. Tracking tries to demonstrate that a particular pack of instruments has been through a particular steriliser cycle. BUT unless your tracking system takes a picture of the pack with the steriliser tape color changed you aren’t even really demonstrating the pack went through a cycle!
Most systems only tell you that you know the number of a cycle that has been completed.

However that doesn’t mean I disagree with tracking. We track all our instruments because I think it is good idea. However personally I would be cautious about investing a lot of money into a scanning tracker system at this stage because I think they will improve in the future. I imagine a time when the scanner picks up the changes in the packaging that occur with sterilisation rather than just reading a bar code that remains unchanged in the steriliser.

Of course sterilisation is a theoretical practice. When we sterilise we do so with an assurance that the possiblity instruments have one viable bacteria on them is one item in one million. However we know that if instruments are not cleaned properly then this figure is incorrect and people have been infected via instruments that have been through sterilisers (not dental instruments) at correct time, temperature and pressure.
If stats were taken literally:
21,000 dentists in Australia  X 48 sterilisation cycles = 1 million cycles
So does that mean that you never want to be the 49th patient a dentist sees because you are likely to have THE VIABLE micro-organism!
Nahhh… but it isn’t that simple.

Track all your instruments for convenience because simple systems are the quickest and the best.

2. Ultrasonic Cleaners
Ultrasonic cleaners were basically introduced for staff occupational health and safety (safe non-scrubbing). They are designed to reduce operator error in instrument cleaning. However in dentistry we all know that unless you remove composite and cements from instruments immediately chairside then an ultrasonic cleaner nor a washer-disinfector are not going to work.
Washer-disinfectors are used similarly to ultrasonics in dental practices so generally if you use one then you dont need the other. You should speak to other dentists who use washer-disinfectors or ultrasonics when you are looking to buy a new one. Some washer-disinfectors have an ultrasonic mechanism built in.

Testing ultrasonic cleaners each morning is for the benefit of the practice. It is of no use placing instruments into an ultrasonic cleaner that is not working!!!
Also remember that research has shown if you place instruments into dirty ultrasonic cleaning liquid they will be dirtier than when you put them in.

3. ADA versus Google
It’s always nice to speak to a person at the ADA but for many issues it is quicker googling and asking the source. Examples: Fair Work – look up the staff award and read it yourself. You are supposed to have an award accessible for the staff anyway; Long Service leave – this is a state based function and Victoria has a really helpful help line.
The ADA committee members have a wealth of knowledge but you need to allow time to get onto the correct person.
Other options of information:
Generally some of the facebook groups for dentistry are interesting for different opinions and you can often get a quick response as dentists play online. The ADA Inc site has helpful HR resources but check that they are current and applies to your own state.

Remember the ADA in Australia is a professional group of dentists and have no power to set “rules”. Even the ADA infection control guidelines can be seen as an “interpretation” of AS 4815 and the NHMRC guidelines. The Dental Board resources should be looked at first for clinical advice. The Oral Therapeutic Guidelines are also important for conventional requirements. The ADA has representatives on the Therapeutic Guidelines Committees and on Standards Australia committees.
For SmartDentist subscribers check out your “Clinical Guidelines” [Resources > Clinical Guidelines] first as this is a group of documents to help you make effective clinical decisions.

4. No-one has ever got an infection from a dental practice (other than the contriversial HIV dentist)
This is not correct. There have been documented cases of infection transfer.
The recent 4 cases of Infection control breaches in 4  NSW practices has had a review and they know 26 people from the practices have now newly discovered they have BBV.
http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/Infectious/reports/Documents/dental-investigation-report-2016.pdf
Check out this most recent review on dental transmission.
https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol/pdf/pathogentransmission.pdf

5. Every sterilisation cycle needs a PCD
Helix or Bowie Dick devices are required at the start of each day for an empty steriliser. They aim to “challenge” a Process – hence the name Process Challenge Devices. The process they “challenge” is the ability of the steriliser to remove all air from the steriliser so it can fill up totally with steam. You can use a specific device made to test this in your normal cycles but these tend to be slightly different in nature. While this is heavily promoted by a particular supplier of these consumables (yes, they sell them) the evidence for their use has not been declared manditory by AS 4815.
The requirement by Australian Standards is to have the device used at the start of the day.

6. An ICMP (infection control management plan) replaces your sterilisation manual.
No your sterilisation policy manual is only part of the infection control management plan. The idea of a “management plan” is that you:

  1. Work out what you need to manage.e.g. what are your infection control risks? Name and sham each one of them. Use a Risk analysis tool to document the risks and have them in your risk register so you can review them at a later date.
  2. Document how you are managing these infection control risks. e.g. this is via your policies and procedures so this is where your infection control manual fits in. You cant just use the ADA guidelines as that document isn’t a procedure manual and says in some parts…”you can do this….or you can do that”.
  3. Plan staff training so everyone is part of implementing your plan

SmartDentist subscribers have an online Infection control management plan – easy!

ICMP for Dentists

Infection Control Management Plan Qld Dentists
Are you a dentist in Queensland?
Do you understand your practice is required to have an Infection Control Management Plan (ICMP)?

The DBA Meeting in March 2016 reports that the Chief Health Officer of Queensland’s Department of Health asked the Board to make practitioners aware of the requirement under the Public Health Act 2005 (Qld) for all dental practices (private and public) to have an Infection Control Management Plan.
Interestingly this has been a requirement since Dec 2006 but just recently the Health Department has decided to randomly audit dental practices.

SmartDentist makes the process of developing an ICMP easy. We have templated policies covering the 10 core elements of a ICMP. SmartDentist also has templated the core risk assessment  requirements and provides a simple means to provide online training and the timetabling and recording of training.
The solutions within SmartDentist provides the means for keeping your ICMP a ‘living’ part of your dental practice. Incident reporting and auditing, via Smartdentist, supplement the way the ICMP actually works within a practice.

The Qld Health Department doesn’t recognise the ‘introduction to Dental Practice Accreditation’ as evidence of compliance but the elements of an ICMP should be covered when practices complete accreditation against the NSQHS standards. Your dental practice accreditation should have included infection control policies covering the 10 Core Elements of an ICMP; Register of IC risks and Staff training.

View a completed Infection Control Management Plan
This youtube video demonstrates the ICMP within SmartDentist and how the process of bringing together the core aspects of your Infection Control Management Plan is made manageable with the solutions in SmartDentist.

Dental Practices can either chose a solution for their ICMP which repects the need for ongoing review and compliance with infection control or just worry about a temporary paper chase when the Health Department contacts them.
For help in creating a management solution or any aspect of your ICMP contact me directly glenda@smartdentist.com.au or join SmartDentist today.

PS. Check your own policies against these infection control elements.
The ten core elements in an ICMP are:

  1. Hand washing and hand hygiene
  2. Personal protective equipment
  3. Management of blood/body fluid exposures
  4. Infection control and employee health
  5. Immunisation
  6. Environmental hygiene
  7. Pre-treatment assessment of infection control risk
  8. Non-reuse of single-use medical devices and reprocessing of reusable medical devices
  9. Delegation of responsibility for infection control
  10. Process for the investigation of infection control incidents

Sterilizer records for dental practice

[or how to put your old Mobile phone to good use]

Login to SmartDentist and check out the “Steriliser Documents and Monitoring Policy”, or if you aren’t part of SmartDentist look at the ADA guidelines for Infection Control P28 (and P20).

How do you improve the efficiency of your document storage and collection?

  1. Establish a routine. Doing the same thing for every instrument is most efficient although it isn’t required. If staff don’t need to work out separate processes for different instruments the time saving is immense.
  2. Use an old Mobile Phone. Are you collecting paper copies of sterilisation documents? If you are then use an old mobile phone to take photos of printout and your sterilisation log sheets and download these when the phone gets full. You can leave the phone with its charger in the steri room. The additional benefit is that the photo’s taken with the phone will be dated (make sure it is always charged so the date is correct)
  3. Sterilisation log book -(our practice has a sterilisation log page). All tests are recorded within the one sheet. Our packs are labeled with a date and cycle self-inking stamp; and so it out sterilisation log page. The sterilisation log page can be scanned onto the computer (make sure it is located somewhere so it is saved for 7 years e.g. into patient computer software is ideal) for storage or a photo can be taken and the image stored.

See SmartDentist’s Reference and document links page to download a sample Sterilisation log page as this might help you with your own system.
SmartDentist also has a “What tests do I need for my steriliser?” aid. See RESOURCES.

Infection control of hands [Week 3]

IMG_1757The ADA guidelines say you need in your infection control manual…

Information and specifications in the manual must include:
• methods of hand hygiene (both routine and surgical);

SmartDentist subscribers: Go now and delete you old hand hygiene policy and go to the Common Policy Library and select the latest Hand hygiene Policy. It will come with links to

  1. Hand Hygiene Australia ;
  2. My favourite youtube video on Hand Hygiene;
  3.  WHO: Hand wash and Hand rub poster;
  4. Donning surgical gloves (Ansell site)
  5. Latex allergy help site.

TASK for this week
Download the Hand hygiene poster; save it to a UBS; go to Office Works and get a copy printed for each wash sink (0.88 cents per copy) and laminate it (1.75 per copy).
Get some blue tack and put them up at work!
(See picture above: I really do do what I say. Here is a selfie of me with the 5 posters – one for each surgery and one for the steri-room)

 

 

Let’s follow the ADA [WEEK 2]

Let’s follow the ADA [WEEK 2*]Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 4.16.03 pm

The Dental Board says you MUST have your own infection control manual.
So what does that look like? Guess what. There isn’t ‘one’ answer to that question.
But we are going to follow the ADA guidelines with our OWN manual.
To save you checking what the ADA guidelines says you need to include in an infection control manual I have copied the text from P31. (see below)

This week’s 5 minute infection control task* is to login to SmartDentist.com.au and go to POLICIES and find the link to the Common Policy Template Library. You will find a list with all our infection control policies. There are 16 in my list so make sure each one of these policies is ADDED to your policy list. This is very quick and I don’t expect you to read them at this time – just make sure you have added them in preparation for our future blog articles.
If you don’t subscribe to SmartDentist you could audit your policies against this list or alternatively start a Word Doc with the list so you can begin to create your own infection control manual.

(From P31 of ADA guidelines for infection Control 2015-
Information and specifications in the manual must include:
• methods of hand hygiene (both routine and surgical);
• personal protective equipment requirements;
• setting up the treatment area between patients;
• environmental cleaning protocol;
• defined zones that require barrier protection and cleaning between patients;
• protocol following an exposure incident, e.g. a sharps injury;
• handling and disposal of sharps;
• waste disposal;
• processing of reusable items (cleaning, packaging, sterilisation, disinfection, storage);
• processing of radiographs in a manner to avoid cross-contamination;
• quality control mechanisms including documentation for the maintenance and monitoring of equipment;
• immunisation requirements;
• single-use items;
• recording of information during patient treatment in a manner to avoid cross-contamination;
• use of computers and computer-run equipment during patient treatment in a manner to avoid cross-contamination;
• management of waterlines used in direct patient contact; and
• handling latex allergy in dental patients and dental staff.
Practice infection control manuals must be regularly updated if and when new guidelines are produced by the Dental Board, the ADA or the NHMRC.)

[* Each week we will be looking at infection control compliance – just for 5 minute.]

Who sets the rules for dental infection control? [WEEK 1]

Who sets the rules for dental infection control? [Week 1]football-referee-with-hand-gestures_318-42804.png

Many dentists and staff get quite confused about the rules for infection control.
The Dental Board is the government regulator of dentistry and they say that dental practices should use 3 documents to guide their infection control procedures.

The documents are:

  1. The Australian Standard for reprocessing instruments (e.g how you clean and sterilize instruments) . Unless you are a hospital you will use AS 4815. An alternative standarad is a new version of AS 4187. This is a very very hard standard to meet so just ignore it for now. SmartDentist subscribers have access to AS 4185  via their login. It is 97 pages long and was finished in 2006.
  2. Australian Guidelines for the Prevention and Control of Infection in Healthcare published by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC). This document is available online and was finished in 2010 and is 262 pages long.
  3. ADA guidelines for infection control. This has just been revised and is about 50 pages long.

So why have 3 documents, and why don’t they just tell us what to do?

  • Each document is different. Yes, sometimes they can be interpreted to be in conflict or at least not clear about requirements.
  • The easiest document to read and understand is the ADA guidelines.
    ABOUT THE ADA GUIDELINES: Because the ADA is an organisation of dentists it is easy to understand that a government regulator would not be happy in just letting dentists decide on their own standards. Similarly the ADA looked at the other 2 documents which have wide ranging membership and tried to be practical and sensible in what it says dentists should do and use out of those other documents.
  • These documents are the source to go to if you are in dispute about what should be done in your practice.
  • You DON’T really want people to tell you exactly what to do because they don’t work in your building, with your equipment, with your staff or know exactly how your workplace functions. For example; in a big hospital do you need a first-aid kit when staff have access to emergency hospital care; do you need a designated spill kit for large spills of blood in a suburban dental clinic.
  • *When a sales person say…the ADA now requires you to ‘x’ then ask them to show you in the ADA guidelines before you buy their sales item. The ADA is not the government or controling body of dentists. They are a voluntary organisation.

Order of priority (by me)

  1. ADA guidelines: if that still does not solve your dilemma then –
  2. NHMRC guidelines for an overview of concepts and information apon which to base a decision.
  3. AS 4815 on technical requirements for sterilising and record keeping – just remember that it is nearly 20 years old and some things weren’t even invented e.g. USB sticks instead of printers.

NOTE: For those that play tennis, have a hit of golf or drive –

  1. Rules of Tennis – 30 pages
  2. Rules of Golf – 208 pages
  3. Road Rules NSW – 188 pages

 

Closer scrutiny -infection control in dental practices

“But no-one  else I know is…”

The most common complaint I have heard from dental practitioners, who have been “required” to make changes to their infection control practices, is that no-one else is actually doing what they are now required to do.
Of course this isn’t true but we do all have a universal wish to be treated fairly and to conform to the ‘norms’ of our peers.

The Dental Board of Australia (the Dental Board) should be commended for holding a forum of infection control stakeholders in late 2015.

The DBA got together with the ADA, consumer reps, the State regulators of dentists and representatives of the Australian Commission on Safetyand Quality in Health Care.
With the numerous cases of infection control breaches in NSW that have resulted in massive patient notifications about the risk of acquired infections, it isn’t a surprise that government bodies and regulators are really keen to have conformity and a universal standard of excellence for dental practices in infection control.

It will be interesting to see if the DBA chooses to include accreditation as a formal requirement for Dental Practices in the future.

Dental Council of NSW – making dentist uncomfortable

NSW Dentists are feeling uncomfortable

“The Dental Council of NSW is conducting an audit of infection control measures in dental practices.”
So stated an offical letter to all NSW Dentists. 

Not withstanding the proviso that it only applied to NSW Dentists who have an open complaint, it is a good idea to work through the directives from Dental Council of NSW and see that you have everything in order.

One of the requirements is a completed DBA Infection Control Guideline Self-Audit. Check out how SmartDentist answers the audit. 
Some practical practice resources:

  1. DBA Infection Control Guideline Self-Audit by SmartDentist.
  2. Sterilizer (autoclave) log sheet to use for your logbook.
  3. What tests do I need for my steriliser? by SmartDentist

Disaster recovery worst practice: Don’t test your backups.
Tomorrow I go into the clinic just to meet our IT specialist and we are going to do a backup recovery of our patient management software.
Similarly the DBA self-audit does take a bit of thinking and time – but helps get rid of that uncomfortable feeling we would all have, if we were queered by the Board.

Whether you are in NSW or another state…do the self-audit and smile.
🙂
Warm wishes for Christmas
Holiday well.