5 Steps to Becoming More Confident in Infection Control Management

Are you up-to-date on the latest guidelines and standards from CDC, OSAP, OSHA and your state government? Do you stay current with industry news and continuing education? Develop more confidence in your infection control management by increasing focus on training, documentation and ongoing education.

Follow these 5 steps to help your office get compliant and stay compliant with infection control protocols:

1. Educate new hires

Does your practice review infection control protocols with all new hires including office staff?  This can help avoid possible confusion and help set up new employees for success by ensuring they are trained in the policies, procedures and practices of your dental office. “But in my last office we…” is no excuse for putting your patients, staff and practice at risk.  According to the CDC, Personnel are more likely to comply with an infection control program and exposure-control plan if they understand its rationale in your practice.

2. Develop a written protocol

The CDC recommends having clearly written policies, procedures, and guidelines as they can help ensure consistency, efficiency, and effective coordination of infection control activities.   This documentation should include a comprehensive post-exposure management and follow-up program as well as a comprehensive program designed to minimize and manage dental healthcare personnel (DHCP) exposures to blood and body fluids.  Education and training should be appropriate to the assigned duties of specific DHCP to include, techniques to prevent cross-contamination and instrument sterilization protocols reflecting the dental practice dynamics.

3. Assign an Infection Control Coordinator

Accountability helps ensure compliance.  The Office Infection Control Coordinator is a person identified to coordinate various practice activities around patient and staff safety including ensuring compliance.  Although all dental health care personnel (DHCP) should be knowledgeable in infection control procedures, assigning one person to manage the overall program, review compliance and initiate program updates as needed, increases confidence that the program meets expectations.

4. Review Instructions for Use

Manufacturers should have instructions for use available for all products that they sell. Validated instructions for use provide information on how to properly use and care for your products.  IFU’s can impact the efficacy of products and their outcomes in the dental practice.  If a product you use in your office does not have instructions for use on it or its packaging, be sure to contact the manufacturer to get that information. If the manufacturer cannot provide this, it may be wise to look into different products.

5. Promote continuing education

In addition to the required annual infection control review, encourage dental team members to stay up-to-date on infection control related topics such as instrument reprocessing. Last year, Hu-Friedy’s most popular CE webinar focused on sterilization protocol. You can view the webinar on-demand and earn CE credit. Hu-Friedy offers additional webinars on a variety of topics, all of which can be found at www.hu-friedy.com/webinars.

There’s a lot to cover when it comes to infection control management, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Follow these five steps to make sure training, documentation and ongoing education is a priority in your dental practice. There are many great resources to help guide you along the way. Visit Hu-Friedy’s Instrument Management and Infection Prevention Resources  for a consolidated list to utilize in your dental practice.