The COVID-19 pandemic has been a sobering reminder that as dental healthcare professionals, we all play an important role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases. While infection prevention has long been a cornerstone of clinical theory and practice, the ongoing pandemic has undoubtedly raised the profile on infection prevention policies among clinicians and patients alike.
Fortunately, dentistry’s emphasis and commitment to infection prevention has so far shown to be successful at minimizing the spread of COVID-19. According to a recent study from the Journal of the American Dental Association, approximately 1% of surveyed dentists had been infected with SARS-CoV-2, suggesting that existing infection prevention measures have been sufficient.
While those results are promising, they also illustrate why compliance with infection prevention protocols is more important than ever. Not simply because they appear to be effective, but also because patients and staff are increasingly looking to infection prevention as a point of differentiation. As economic momentum in the industry begins to stall, every choice adds up. Additionally, as guidelines evolve, it’s important to be on top of changes to avoid citations like one recently received by a Massachusetts practice.
Put simply, scrutiny around infection prevention has perhaps never been higher, and compliance rules and regulations are changing with greater frequency. This combination can make it difficult for you to feel confident in your compliance. You need to know where to turn to for accurate and up-to-date information, and that’s where the GreenLight Dental Compliance Center by Hu-Friedy comes in handy.
GreenLight continues to be a comprehensive, all-in-one resource to proactively prepare and maintain best practices and compliant protocols for infection prevention. Here are five ways that it can benefit your practice:
- Customized protocols based on the specific regulations and guidelines applicable to your practice, updated when those regulations change. Guidance has been evolving more rapidly than usual because of the pandemic, and it can be difficult to stay on top of it all. In addition to resources to self-assess protocols, practice owners like Dr. Jarod Johnson of Arctic Dental can rely on GreenLight to receive updates when relevant regulations or guidelines change without having to research or audit different sources, so they can easily keep protocols compliant.
- Free CE webinars on the most pertinent topics in the industry, as well as OSHA webinars for new employees and quarterly OSHA updates by Mary Govoni. New employee and quarterly OSHA webinars and other free CE courses help keep members up to date on the latest changes to infection prevention protocols and best practices. Members can sign up for live webinars, like an upcoming Q4 OSHA update on December 8, or browse an extensive on-demand library of key topics.
- Information on proper usage for N95 respirators and face masks. One of the most impactful changes to infection prevention has been the enhanced emphasis on wearing N95 respirators in addition to other PPE traditionally used in the dental office. This change, coupled with temporary guidance issued by OSHA to conserve respirators at the height of the pandemic, has led to some confusion on steps needed to ensure a proper respiratory program. GreenLight has resources to help clarify any confusion and provides a space to record respirator fit tests, a compliance requirement.
- Breach communications on issues that other practices have faced, plus steps to take to avoid those same issues. Even when following a compliant protocol, breaches can and do happen. When they do, it’s important to understand and learn from the specific issues to avoid making the same mistakes at your practice. GreenLight members receive dedicated communications when breaches happen in their region so that they can stay informed of the issues in question and ensure they’re taking the steps to avoid the same mistakes.
- Resources to set your Infection Control/Prevention Coordinator (ICPC) up for success. One of the most challenging aspects of the infection control/prevention coordinator role is understanding the full scope of responsibilities and getting started in the position. The GreenLight ICPC corner includes a sample job description that can be customized to individual practices as well as e-books to explain the role, with information on getting started and conducting audits.
Interested in learning more about how GreenLight helps offices stay confident in their compliance? The GreenLight Compliance Demo Series is available on-demand or as an interactive session with a live Q&A featuring subject matter experts, so you can learn more about this one-of-a-kind resource.
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