Handling the Infection Control Hysteria…

Recent bad news concerning an Oklahoma based Oral Surgeon has raised infection control alarms in Dental Practices and Dental Offices across the United States of America, and also around the globe as well.

Although our end of week blog is reserved for the “Business of Dentistry”, I feel that it is important to discuss this issue of infection control, though clinical, because it is imperative in business to be prepared for all possibilities and contingencies, at all times. It’s a “Watch Your Own Back” type situation here.

Funnily enough, about a month ago, I had an online chat with Fred Joyal about a blog he wrote about whether or not it was pertinent or appropriate or mandatory to show all patients your infection control procedures and also your steri-bay area.


The issues raised as a result of the news from Oklahoma are these:

  1. You will have some patients and customers who will ask and raise questions to you about your infection control protocol.
  2. Depending on your clientele and your dental office patient demographics, you may have very few who are concerned enough to raise a question.
  3. If your office layout has a prominent position for your steri-bay that is passed by most patients as they move through your office from treatment room to front office, etc., then there may be very few questions asked at all of you.


So here’s what I would do regardless of the news out of Oklahoma.

  1. Always have your steri-bay available for patient inspection 24/7. Disney has always said, “There’s no back stage”. Meaning everything should be available and on display for your customers to see. Always.
  2. Have a sterilisation manual. Your *Go-To* Bible that again, is available for patient and customer scrutinisation.
  3. Make sure your autoclave records are up to date, and available.
  4. Prepare an elevator speech about your sterilisation procedures. A quick one minute or thirty second announcement about your procedures and protocols, and how long you have implemented them. Ours usually mentions that Dr Moffet treats his family and friends here as patients, and so we maintain the strictest infection control guidelines.

In discussions I had with Fred Joyal, we raised the topic as to whether it was appropriate to tour each patient through the sterilisation area.

What I have always thought as more appropriate was to make sure that every patient is offered the opportunity, if they so wished, to see the steri-bay first hand. At Active Dental, this was simply another *Magical Moment* of being able to *Offer The Offer*.

*Offer The Offer* is a phrase or term we now use at The Ultimate Patient Experience.com where we offer a service or process to our valued clients, patients or customers that we are happy to offer, but the offer is rarely taken up. The benefit in looking for an *Offer The Offer* is that the client is very appreciative of the fact that they have indeed received an offer at all.

As an adjunct to the Oklahoma story, there is an opportunity for all dental offices to raise the bar when it comes to their office presentation. As an extrapolation on the “Broken Windows” principle, it is important to make sure that there are no areas of the dental office that require a brush up or a make over. Straighten all those pictures on the walls. Clean those scuff marks and dust all those blinds and skirtings. These are things that premier Dental Offices are maintaining anyway. However, it is an opportunity to revisit your office as a patient, sit where your patients sit, see what your patients see, in all places, client lounge, treatment rooms, and front office check out.

This is a core value of The Ultimate Patient Experience. Remember, it is no good being excellent in one area when you are dropping the ball in other areas, and you don’t even know you’re doing it!!

We know that this alarm in Oklahoma will pass. Just as it did many years ago with Dr David Acer in Florida where a number of patients were infected with HIV.

It is very important to be prepared for any patient enquiry or question.

A confident positive response is worth its weight in gold.

This is just one of the many straight forward protocols and procedures that make up The Ultimate Patient Experience, a simple easy to implement system I developed that allowed me to build an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb.  If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.

Email me: david@theupe.com

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