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.
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:
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.
...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.
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:
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.
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!