Is Dental Practice Accreditation about to get harder?

Anyone who has spoken to me about Dental Practice Accreditation will know what I think. Accreditation is a great idea in theory but in practice it loses out.
Unfortunately it is easy to pass accreditation without actually committing to the systematic focus (or any change whatsoever). How easy is it for “accreditation” to  just becomes a lovely poster on the wall and a stress in 2-4 years about “having to start all over again”.

Latest news about Changing Accreditation

The latest news in the accreditation world is that the ACSQHC (the organisation which sets all the rules for accreditation) has totally re-written the healthcare accreditation standards. All healthcare organisations* who were using the present standards will switch to the newer, clearer standards from Jan 2019.  * Except for dental practices who are advised not to consider the new standards because the ACSQHC is developing a new set of standards for primary care. Reading the discussion paper October 2017 Patient safety and quality improvement in primary care Consultation paper.

The consultation paper from ACSQHC includes a number of interesting propositions:

  1. Just because we don’t have quantitative records documenting lack of safety or quality, does not mean that there are not issues. e.g ACSQHC thinks there are problems but they just not sure what they are!
  2. “A systems focus, which involves making changes at an organisational level within services and reorganising care delivery systems, will help support improvements in the quality of primary care and ensure it is sustainable, efficient and effective.” According to the ACSQHC.
  3. “Private Health Insurance funds are one of the drivers for improved safety and quality and are driven by the need to ensure care provided represents value for money, and that care is clinically appropriate and in line with best practice.” – or so reports the ACSQHC!

The ADA has made a submission toward this Primary Health Care paper. The ADA will be a party to the development of Primary Health Care standards. As the PHI is now recognised in this paper as a primary stakeholder towards safety and quality by the ACSQHC it will be interesting to see how involved they become in dictating the new standards.

The Best of Accreditation ideals

Following are my recommendations for practices wishing to explore the ideals of accreditation.(With or without paying QIP for the accreditation certificate):

  1. Start using an incident reporting system so you can actually track incidents or near misses. Yes that would include stuff ups at the front desk; appointment mix ups; broken files; fillings failing too early; staff running over their feet with their chairs etc and it would also include compliments from patients – use them in marketing yourself.
  2. When you have any incident, then objectively review it from a systematic perspective. Can we devised a system, at work, that would make this incident less likely or impossible. Don’t expect staff to be hero’s in the smooth running of the practice. Risk Management is the name of this analysis. If you decide to do nothing – document it.
  3. Have policies (yes generic feel good policies) but also look at practical procedures. Video what happens with your iphone if quicker (put it on a private youtube acount – no cost). This is an excellent training resource or new staff induction resource.

SmartDentist supports an easy way to support practices with these processes.
Easy systems = Good systems = Practical systems.