The Importance of Dental Policies and Procedures

The Importance of Dental Policies and Procedures

Today’s episode of Talking with the Toothcop is all about the fascinating topic of staying up-to-date with your equipment evaluations and dental policies and procedures. Yes, I think compliance IS fascinating! Andrea and I cover everything from blood-borne pathogens to X-Ray equipment—don’t miss this important episode.

Outline of This Episode

  • [0:23] What Andrea and I are going to cover
  • [3:20] X-Ray law updates in Texas
  • [7:05] Written policies and procedures
  • [15:50] HIPAA and monitoring PHI
  • [35:25] Hepatitis B Prevention and vaccination
  • [37:05] Minimizing exposure & safety protocols
  • [41:20] 75 Hard update
  • [45:00] PPE provided at no cost 
  • [50:00] You can’t always see your enemy
  • [53:50] Provide proper post-exposure care
  • [56:45] Sterilization of single-use items

Dental policies, procedures, and prevention!

The whole reason you have written policies and procedures is to protect yourself, your staff, and your patients. In theory—really though, in practice—you should have a written policy to address every risk area you may encounter in your dental office. These are a few of my favorite things:

  • HIPAA manual
  • Infection control handbook
  • OSHA policy
  • Proper billing procedures
  • Clinical policies
  • Medical emergency policies

The list goes on! It can be in multiple manuals or one large handbook, but it’s important that you know what’s in it and that your staff knows where to find it. As a general rule of thumb, you need to review your policies and procedures annually and update them as needed. 

Make sure that your manual is legal, ethical, and reflects the values of your organization. 

I always feel like somebody’s watching me…

...and I got no privacy! Seriously though—you NEED to make sure you are monitoring your office’s server access logs. Is a login being used outside of business hours on a normal basis? Did you notice the login of a former employee is being accessed? It is important to monitor for irregularities and anomalies so you know when and if you’ve been hacked.

It’s all about protecting your patient’s protected health information (PHI). 

This is why it is the law that everyone in your practice has different usernames and passwords for the systems in place that are not shared. This allows you to monitor access, as well as only allow access to certain roles that fit an employee’s role. You must keep audit logs of your servers for 6 years in case of an audit. 

Down to the nitty-gritty: Blood-born pathogens and prevention

You must offer Hepatitis B vaccinations to your staff at no cost to them. You want your employees to get the vaccination within 10 days of being hired and have them sign a document stating: they’ve had the vaccination, they’ve previously been vaccinated, or they acknowledge it’s been offered and decline the vaccination. 

So what can you do to prevent the spread of a blood-born pathogen? You can minimize exposure by: 

  • Using High-Volume Evacuators
  • Use needle-capping devices
  • Use puncture-resistant sharps containers
  • Provide hand washing/hand sanitizer stations
  • Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) at no cost

Follow the policies and procedures you’ve set forth and you’re 99% of the way towards protecting your staff. Andrea and I cover a whole lot more—keep listening. 

What do you do when the unthinkable happens?

Protecting your staff isn’t just about prevention. Sometimes, mistakes happen and you or a staff member may have been exposed to a blood-borne pathogen. What you do next matters. First, take care of your staff! Document the incident. Document the route of exposure. Make sure the staff is immediately tested for blood-borne pathogens.

Secondly, get consent to test the patient’s blood as well. Unless, of course, you already know if they have Hepatitis B or HIV. Be sure that the proper channels are in place to take care of your employees. This includes medical evaluations and treatment, and counseling if they test positive. Listen to the whole episode for more valuable policies and procedures!

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