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My associates and I are dedicated to providing dental teams with the service and support you need to be more efficient and effective in everything that MarySignature1you do.  I look forward to speaking with you about how we can enhance your team.


Ergonomics and Efficiency

Posture - You vs the Patient

Good posture is key to preventing back, neck and shoulder injuries at work.   Many dental clinicians adopt bad posture habits (hunching over, twisting the upper back, raising shoulders and elbows) to accommodate patients.   Remember, it is ok to ask your patient to accommodate you!  This includes asking them to be positioned in a more supine position in the patient chair.   Your body will thank you! 

Using Magnification to Improve Posture

The use of magnification or loupes in dentistry is becoming more and more common.   The key advantage to using loupes for the doctor and hygienist, and for the dental assistant in many situations is that it allows the clinician to maintain a more upright head position, alleviating a great deal of strain on the muscles and vertebrae in the neck.   

Do you know how long it really takes to complete a procedure?

Many dental teams base their scheduled appointment times on assumptions about how long it really takes to complete procedures.   Many practices also struggle with time management during patient care – otherwise known as being behind schedule.   It may be that the assumptions and time management issues are a cause and effect situation.   The only way to effectively schedule time for procedures is to track the time it takes to complete the most common procedures over a two week period and then calculate and average time per procedure.   This will give a much more accurate picture of what amount of time is really needed.

Let Technology Elevate Efficiency

One of the big time consumers in a dental practice is contacting patients by phone for confirmations, past due continuing care and unscheduled treatment.    It is rare today that patients are actually reached live on the phone to discuss these issues.   It is also important to note that most people surveyed today would rather be contacted by text or email, rather than by phone.     The software services available to dental teams for contacting patients are an excellent efficiency tool that also increases the effectiveness of the communications.

HIPAA Compliance

The Pitfalls of Using Route Slips

In many dental practices, route slips containing a great deal of patient information are circulated through the office during patient treatment. If route slips are used, make sure that they do not contain critical information, such as social security numbers – which could cause a privacy or security breach if that information gets into the wrong hands. The information on the route slip should be customizable from your practice management software.

What To Do (and Not To Do) with Old Schedules and Route Slips

In an effort to be greener, some practice have adopted the habit of “recycling”  paper schedules and route slips at the end of the day into scrap paper for taking notes in the office.   This is not an acceptable practice under HIPAA rules.   Any papers that contain patient information must be destroyed – typically by shredding.   If your office uses a linear shredder to destroy documents, a cross-cut shredder is needed.  This prevents documents from being reassembled.

Infection Prevention

Infection Control/Prevention Resources

It is difficult at times for dental team members to determine what is reliable infection prevention information or not.   Two key resources for dental professionals are:  

  • OSAP – Organization for Safety Asepsis and Prevention, an organization dedicated to infection prevention and safety in dentistry – www.osap.org
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – www.cdc.gov.

OSHA Compliance

OSHA Documentation

Do you know where your OSHA manual is? Have you visited it recently? If not, your documentation could be out of date. It is an OSHA requirement to provide safety training once a year, particularly in infection control. Do your records include this? OSHA also requires that safety plans be reviewed and updated if necessary on an annual basis. Also, the new Hazard Communication Standard provisions take effect soon, requiring an update of all Safety Data Sheets and OSHA-required labeling of products out of manufacturer’s containers.

New OSHA Posters

October 2015

OSHA has released two new OSHA safety posters.  The first is the mandatory OSHA Job Safety Poster.   This is required to be posted in an area where all employees will see it.     Another new poster from OSHA is a notification to employees regarding the use of cleaners and disinfectants that may cause respiratory problems.   This is especially important for dental facilities where cleaner/disinfectant solutions are used every day, all day, after patient care.

Team Building

Team Meetings – Vital to Practice Success

There are two types of meetings that are critical to the success of dental practices.  The first is the “morning huddle”, recommended by practice management consultants.  The purpose of this short, start of the day meeting is to organize the day and literally get the entire team on the same page for smoother sailing through the day.   The second is a weekly or monthly team meeting, for a longer period of time (2-4 hours or longer) to discuss any and all issues affecting the practice.   Both meetings need prepared agendas and the teams must agree to be present and participate. 

Do you know your communication style?

Each individual member of the dental team has a distinct communication and behavioral style – patients do as well.   An effective tool to enhance understanding of communication styles is to complete a behavioral style analysis – sometimes referred to as a “personality test”.    These instruments are not tests, and there are no right or wrong answers or styles – just distinct differences that should be taken into account in team interactions as well as patient interactions.   A commonly used tool in dentistry is the DiSC Personality Assessment and can be accessed at www.everythingdisc.com.