How to improve efficiencies in your dental equipment management
Equipment is one of the major assets and investments for any dental practice. To ensure your dental equipment’s peak long-term performance, and your patients’ safety, it’s essential to have efficient practice processes to keep track of how you manage and maintain dental machinery, instruments and devices.
Staying up to date with tasks like equipment calibration, servicing and insurance renewals can be time-consuming and sometimes error-prone. But by using digital technology to automate many of your processes, you can streamline these tasks while ensuring regulatory compliance and reducing risks to your practice.
Here are some ways technology helps you keep track of your dental equipment management.
Storing equipment management processes and documents in one place
With modern dental practices being so reliant on equipment, your daily running operations can be complex. And just as dental equipment technology improves the quality of healthcare you deliver to patients, practice management technology can improve your systems and processes – including those for equipment maintenance. For example, storing all your equipment-related processes and documents in one place online makes them easy for staff to find and update when needed.
A dedicated equipment register, such as the one in online practice management platform, PracticeHub, allows you to store your dental equipment user manuals, warranties, insurance and supplier details together with your processes, staff responsibilities for equipment upkeep and task due dates.
Your equipment register can include details such as:
- supplier contact details, insurances, warranties and leasing contracts
- staff members responsible for each piece of equipment, and what this role requires (e.g. cleaning, arranging service and calibration)
- policies and procedures around safe operation and maintenance of equipment and any training or certification required
- strategy and steps involved in the event of equipment breakdown
- important dates for managing each piece of equipment, such as insurance and contract renewals.
- records of service, repair and replacement
- regulatory standards your dental practice must meet for safe use and maintenance of equipment.
In PracticeHub’s equipment register, you can also set maintenance schedules and reminder alerts so important tasks and renewals are never missed.
Linking tasks to policies for an audit trail and better compliance
Proper maintenance of dental equipment is a compliance requirement in the NSQHS Standards Guide for Dental Practices and Services. The standards require a dental practice to show evidence of regular, appropriate maintenance, and that it adheres to correct cleaning and sterilisation processes for reusable devices and instruments “in accordance with relevant national or international standards and manufacturers’ instructions”.
Evidence examples, as stated in the Standards, include:
- “Records of sterilisation verification processes consistent with national and international standards
- Maintenance and performance schedules on equipment used for reprocessing instruments and equipment such as autoclave calibration and validation reports
- Evidence of validation and compliance monitoring audit reports
- Audits of sterile stock integrity and supply in the dental practice.”
Using PracticeHub’s integrated registers, you can conduct regular audits on your dental practice’s risk management and quality improvement processes around equipment management. With the ability to link tasks to staff roles, and relevant policies and procedures in the equipment register, you also have an audit trail as evidence of your Standards compliance for accreditation, and documentation should you need it for any adverse event reporting.
Keeping track of your dental equipment insurance and risk reduction processes
Insuring your dental equipment is essential to the ongoing operations of your practice. But there are also regular strategies you can adopt to lower the risk to your patients and business should something go wrong with your equipment. Some ideas to consider:
- Ensure only appropriately trained staff operate equipment assigned to their role.
- Take a daily inventory to account for your equipment – especially small devices that can go missing
- Think about ways to reduce the potential for equipment damage from power surges, fire or flooding.
It’s also important to regularly review your equipment insurance policies to ensure you have the right level of cover (e.g. no-fault breakdowns, repair or replace, public liability).
Your equipment insurance documents and risk management processes can be linked to the relevant machinery and devices in PracticeHub’s register, for an easy-access record, and reminder of insurance-related tasks.
With these strategies, you can simplify the management of your dental practice equipment, for more time to look after your patients.
Persons implementing any recommendations contained in this publication must exercise their own independent skill or judgment 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 and PracticeHub are 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 2021.