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Running a dental practice is complex. Here’s how to simplify it

Could your dental practice benefit from improved systems and processes?

Streamlined daily operations are essential for greater efficiency, a harmonious working environment, and reduced errors and risk. One way to simplify your systems and processes is to use a centralised online platform such as PracticeHub. You can customise and set up your practice management procedures, store all documentation in one place and automate regular tasks, so tracking and compliance is quick and easy.

Creating a safer, more efficient dental practice takes planning at first, so here are some key areas for you and your team to consider.

Infection control

We’re sure you’ve seen how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for your infection control procedures to be flexible to adapt to changing regulations, so you can implement them fast. Keeping your processes in a cloud-based platform like PracticeHub, means your team can access them easily, and you can track and confirm their understanding of any updates, which helps keep them and your patients safe.

COVID-19 or not, all staff should receive ongoing infection control training, from sterilisation, PPE use and waste disposal to hand hygiene, staff immunisation and environment cleaning. To maintain safety, conduct regular audits, both internally or via an external auditor and involve your whole team in these, so everyone’s up to date with training and procedures.

Equipment maintenance

Dental equipment is expensive! So, you want to look after it. Regular maintenance, calibration and cleaning of your equipment not only extends the working life, it allows you to deliver high quality, hygienic dental care to your patients – and it’s a compliance requirement. Scheduling maintenance tasks ensures they are done on time. One way to do this is to create a register including details such as:

  • Who is responsible for managing service agreements and recording repairs, servicing and calibration.
  • Location of documents such as user manuals, calibration reports, warranties.
  • Your procedure for equipment breakdowns: who arranges a loaner machine (e.g. your autoclave), what to do if none are available, how many days you can operate without it.
  • Processes and dates for staff training in correct equipment use and cleaning.

Include equipment costs and maintenance in your budget, and review them regularly with your overall budget planning. Remember to plan replacement costs into your budget not only the high-tech machines, but computers, software and furniture.

PracticeHub incorporates maintenance, contracts and insurance registers to simplify upkeep of your dental equipment. You can store related documents, set maintenance schedules and assign responsibilities, integrating these with your general policies and procedures for easier cross referencing.

Risk and quality improvement

Providing safer dental services to your patients is an ongoing commitment. Keeping registers and conducting regular audits on risk management and quality improvement ensures that commitment.

Your register is where you document aspects such as:

  • risk: what could happen
  • incidents/adverse events and compliance breaches: what has happened
  • complaints: what your patients think the practice could do better
  • compliments: what your patients think you do well
  • quality improvements: what you have improved.

With customisable registers like those in PracticeHub, you can keep these clinical, business and safety risks together with an organisation-wide risk register. This way they’re easy to find and provide an overview of all your practice risks.

Looking after your team

Your practice team, from practitioners to hygienists and admin staff, are your most valuable asset. Investing in their wellbeing makes for a better performing practice. And to do this, clear, transparent communication is crucial. From induction to position descriptions, training and team meetings, fostering an open, two-way ‘whole team’ approach empowers each individual and creates a harmonious workplace – which your patients appreciate as well!

Some specific focus areas are:

  • Position descriptions: These define roles, set expectations and eliminate confusion. Review and update these as roles change and when recruiting new personnel.
  • Policies and procedures: Clear guidelines to your practice operations minimise stress and staff disputes. Ensure these reflect your workplace goals, standards, values and beliefs.
  • Foster a no-blame culture: Empower your team and help them feel valued by engaging with them daily – not just managers checking in with the team, but team members checking in with each other. Connecting is a valuable resource and everyone likes to feel they matter, so give your team opportunities to share thoughts, skills and ideas.
  • Support training and development: Regular staff training enhances team performance and practice efficiency, but it can be overwhelming, especially for new employees. You can support team training through group workshops. This encourages rapport and information sharing between new and more skilled team members.

Documenting your team’s compliance with policies and procedures is essential, to eliminate risk of confusion or disputes. Customisable templates, such as those in PracticeHub, let you tailor your policies and procedures on: position descriptions, tasks, roles, responsibilities, code of conduct and social media policy. Staff can sign that they’ve read and understood each policy, and you have an easy-to-access, centrally-stored audit trail of policy changes, to make tracking updates and sign-offs simple. 

Discover how PracticeHub helps dental practices simplify and streamline their daily operations, phone us on 1300 469 866 or book a meeting with one of our helpful consultants.

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This article is not comprehensive and does not constitute legal or medical advice. You should seek legal or other professional advice before relying on its content, and practise proper clinical decision making with regard to the individual circumstances. Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this article must exercise their own independent skill or judgement or seek appropriate professional advice relevant to their own particular practice. Compliance with any recommendations will not in any way guarantee discharge of the duty of care owed to patients and others coming into contact with the health professional or practice. Avant is not responsible to you or anyone else for any loss suffered in connection with the use of this information. Information is only current at the date initially published. © Avant Mutual Group Limited 2024.

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