As the leader of your dental practice, it is crucial that you stay educated and current with infection control practices to ensure that your team is informed and your practice is protected.
It isn’t enough to just learn and implement these practices into your dental office. You must consistently stay up to date on the latest regulations, have clear protocols in place, communicate these protocols to your team, manage annual regulation training, run routine assessments and more.
It’s a lot to keep track of but not prioritizing infection control practices can have devastating consequences to you, your team, your practice and it’s patients.
In today’s blog, we share some tips that will help make infection control practices an impactful, frequent (and dare we say FUN?) part of your dental practice operations.
Ready to get empowered around infection control practices?
Let’s do it!
Create An Infection Control Club In Your Practice
Staying ahead of the latest infection control regulations, implementing infection control protocols in your practice, and making sure team members are knowledgeable and accountable to these practices takes a lot of work and time.
We recommend creating an “Infection Control Club” in your practice that consists of selected team members that are educated and willing to lead infection control efforts. You and these selected team members will create a fun and exciting name for your club and the club will speak at every team meeting.
At those meetings, encourage your club leaders to share infection control related announcements, reminders, regulation changes, infection control breach data and/or stories to reinforce the importance of keeping your practice safe. Your club can also communicate areas of improvement for the practice and more.
This club can be an incentive with bonuses and/or rewards for hitting milestones, completing annual team training and even highlight those team members that go above and beyond to keep the practice healthy and safe.
This club, and it’s consistent conversations, help keep infection control practices at the forefront of the mind’s of your team and can hold the practice accountable to state regulations and infection control improvements.
Stay Ahead Of Team Training
There are several mandatory infection control trainings held each year for members of the team. We recommend once a year (ideally at the start of the year) that you and your Infection Control Club review all mandatory training requirements and schedule them into the team calendar. Be sure to communicate all training dates and times to team members as far in advance as possible.
Bring the training schedule, along with reminders, to weekly team meetings to help keep you and your team accountable while also reducing training no-shows, which you want to avoid.
There is nothing worse than rounding home on a busy year only to remember that you and your team have a lot of required training still left to complete. Keep your team happy by planning ahead and knocking team training off your to-do list early in the year.
Create An Empowered Plan For Potential Infection Control Breaches
Another must-have to best handle/avoid infection control breaches and exposure is a clear plan that illustrates what to do if your practice does encounter an infection control breach.
A clearly laid out and accessible plan will help you and your team jump into empowered action quickly when a potential infection control breach makes its way into your practice. A clear and concise plan will dramatically help minimize exposure and reduce risk to the practice. Aren’t sure how to create an exposure control plan? Osha offers example plans below to get you started.
Know Your State Standards
In order to meet the procedures and standards of your practice, you must first know what they are.
Identifying these standards at the beginning of the year is crucial to meeting and maintaining regulatory standards throughout the year and to ensure that your routine assessments include them.
Dental practice standards are determined by state and can consist of OSHA, State Board of Dentistry, FDA, EPA, and others. If the State Board of Dentistry lists that your state must comply with CDC standards then its important that you, your Infection Control Club and your practice stay up to date and in alignment with CDC procedures.
This research and responsibility can feel overwhelming and time-consuming but is something you absolutely don’t want to put off. Sometimes hiring an expert to conduct an assessment and do this work for you is a worthwhile investment.
If you do choose to hire someone, be sure they are educated in all regulations and requirements.
Run Routine Assessments
Whether you hire an expert or enlist your Infection Control Club to run routine assessments, it’s important that they know exactly what to examine for maximum effectiveness.
The CDC provides a checklist to help you and your team know exactly what to look for during assessments. This checklist helps to keep you informed, accountable and highlights what improvements the practice might need to make to stay protected.
Routine assessments can easily be pushed off with the many demands of a busy practice. Make sure your Infection Control Club schedules these assessments in advance, communicates them to the team and holds the practice accountable.
Allow yourself to get creative and find fun in these assessments! Perhaps you and your team can create clear milestones and incentives for each milestone achieved so that everyone on the team is playing the same game!
Don’t have a copy of the CDC’s Infection Prevention Checklist? Download it here!
These are just a few ways to better implement infection control practices in your dental office. The more fun and involved your team is, the more protected your practice will be.
Now is the time to make infection control a priority. Your practice will thank you, we promise!