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Keeping up with your Compliance

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As a dentist, there are so many essential parts to running your practice. Between balancing patient care, your employees, your hectic schedule, and day-to-day duties, it can sometimes be overwhelming to remember everything that is required for your practice to run according to guidelines and regulations.

Do you have a system in place to keep track of the various licenses and certifications that are due for renewal and which ones are approaching expiration? Most offices log their renewals and maintenance schedules on an excel sheet or have one person who keeps track of what needs to be done, but there is always room for human error. Unfortunately, if you have an expired license, permit, certification, or overdue equipment maintenance, your practice will no longer be compliant to regulatory standards.

If you have some downtime now, why not compare your list with ours and see if there’s something else you can add that would be beneficial for you to keep track of. This list can also act as a guideline in preparing new dentists that are looking to open your own practice. While going through the items, keep in mind if you have a record of exact dates, if you know where your previous years documents are stored, and in the event of an inspection, would you be able to provide your regulatory body with the information they require? If not, you may want to look at incorporating an automated system into your practice to make things simple.

Permit Renewals 

Dental offices are required to get a permit from their regulatory body before practicing dentistry under a corporation name. Dentists that are intending to provide sedation above the minimal level must also have a facility permit. Additionally, if your office has a CT scanner or is planning to install one, it will also require a permit – all of which are mandatory to renew annually.

License Renewals

Dentists must renew their certificate of registration (licence) with their respective regulatory body every year in order to continue practicing dentistry. If you do not renew, your licence will likely be suspended.

CPR Certifications

Dental professionals are required by law to have the basic skills needed to save a life. The most common is Basic Life Support (BLS) which needs to be renewed annually. Other CPR certifications include Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) which need to be renewed every two years.

Member Authorization for Sedation

Any dentist who wishes to administer sedation above the minimal level in a dental office must apply to their respective regulatory body to have their training reviewed and approved, which then needs to be renewed annually. If you are the facility permit owner, you must make sure every practitioner under your permit is authorized, so make sure you have a way to keep track of every individual provider’s certifications.

X-Ray Equipment Annual Inspection

Dental offices with radiographic equipment (periapical x-rays, panoramic x-ray, CT scanner, etc.) undergo regular calibration, quality testing and certification by approved inspectors annually – records are typically required to be kept for 5 years minimum (sometimes longer depending on your provincial or state law).

Vital Sign Monitors Preventative Maintenance

Vital sign monitors play a key role in patient care by displaying heart rate, breathing rate, oxygen levels and blood pressure on a computer monitor. It is typically suggested for this type of equipment to be on a routine preventative maintenance schedule of every six months to a year.

AED (Automated External Defibrillator) Maintenance

For an AED to provide the correct therapy, the AED pads must make proper contact with the patient’s skin to analyze or shock. Over time, the gel on the pads (bonding agent between the pads and skin) dries out and the chemical makeup breaks down. As a result, it will not adhere to the skin, reducing the chances that the AED will be effective. The typical life expectancy of AED pads (pediatric and adult) are between 18 and 30 months. It is vital to conduct routine maintenance and supply checks of all AED units – it may save a life.

Gas Delivery Systems Service

Annual inspection is typically mandated by most regulatory bodies for gas systems, addressing potential leaks, improper gas flow, worn-down parts and equipment. It is your responsibility to ensure the health and safety of your patients, staff, and associates by providing reliable fail-safe operation, accurate gas emission, preventing potential exposure to nitrous oxide leaks, and access to working emergency oxygen equipment.

Sterilizer/Autoclave Inspection Record

To prevent water leaks and the obstruction of some holes, it is recommended at least once a year to have some of the components of the autoclave/sterilizer (door gasket, bellow, air jet, and EPA filter) checked and replaced by a qualified technician.

First Aid Kits and Emergency Drugs

All dental offices are required to have an emergency kit and to ensure that the emergency medications haven’t passed their expiry date. First aid kits must also be kept stocked as well. It is recommended that you check your kits every six months minimum to confirm they are up to date.

Fire Extinguisher Annual Inspection 

Annual fire extinguisher maintenance inspections should be performed to ensure optimal compliance while recognizing and correcting any potentially hazardous situations. Once a fire extinguisher passes its annual maintenance, it is verified with a dated inspection tag, unless it fails and results in a repair or replacement.

Equipment Regular Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance should be regularly performed on dental equipment (e.g. handpiece, air compressor, vacuum, spare light bulbs) to lessen the likelihood of it affecting your ability to practice. It is performed while the equipment is still working so that it does not break down unexpectedly. Depending on the type of equipment, maintenance can be performed monthly, every few months, or every year.

Staff Education Review

Owners of dental practices are responsible for ensuring that employees receive up-to-date training that comply with the requirements designed to protect their patients and staff. This includes information related to WHMIS, Health and Safety, Infection Control and emergency protocols. It is a good idea to schedule a refresher meeting with your team to review current policies and to discuss newly introduced standards.

Insurance Policies

Dentists typically require professional liability insurance, property insurance, errors and omissions insurance, as well as workers’ compensation insurance. An expired insurance policy could mean serious legal and financial consequences down the road. All these insurance policies must be renewed every year, and the premiums must be paid on time to ensure that you protect yourself as a practicing dentist.

Association Memberships Annual Renewals

As a dentist, you end up being a part of several associations and organizations throughout the course of your career and every year there is an annual renewal. You would typically get a reminder by email or by mail, but if you forget to do it, often the fees are increased. Keeping up to date guarantees that you get early bird renewal pricing, while also understanding when these expenses will arise throughout the year. This is not necessarily compliance related, but we thought we would mention it since it would be beneficial to keep on your reminders list!

Since there are so many different requirements to remember and schedule throughout the year, it is advisable to have a system in place to ensure that you are renewing on time and maintaining compliance.

Did you know that you can manage and track certifications for staff licenses, insurance, equipment or permits all in one place with Sowingo? Easily set up automatic email renewal reminders so your dental practice is stress free. Transfer your important certifications into our e-cloud platform from any device. 

The best part – you can upload a copy of your certification and attach it directly to the record, so you have all your compliance documents organized and stored all in one location for easy retrieval. Protect your practice from regulatory violations and have peace of mind knowing you are always inspection ready. 

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