Keeping accurate and up-to-date policies and protocols is a key part of running a dental practice. What’s more, it’s an important factor when it comes to meeting the CQC’s fundamental standards.
So, how can you ensure that your practice policies and protocols are up to scratch? Here, compliance expert Pat Langley shares her expert advice on how you can do just that.
Ensure your policies and protocols are accurate
As in any business, members of your team will come and go which means you need to keep on top of making sure all of your policies and protocols are accurate and contain relevant information. Policies and protocols which mention team members who no longer work in the practice are likely to set alarms bells ringing for a CQC inspector, as it demonstrates that the documents are not up-to-date.
Ensure your team are fully trained
Keep your team fully informed and clear on your policies and protocols, so that if they are questioned during an inspection, they are able to answer with confidence. Your team members should be expected to live and breathe the policies and protocols to ensure that they are able to answer questions about them confidently.
“Your team members should be expected to live and breathe the policies and protocols.”
Break the policies down one by one in team training sessions or staff meetings so that the team have regular opportunities to build up their understanding of the actions to take should they need to follow a policy or procedure. The more you get into discussing your policies and protocols with the team, the more it becomes second nature to them.
Tailor your policies and protocols to your practice
When it comes to your practice policies and protocols, the most important thing to bear in mind is that they must be tailored to what you do in your practice. They should be seen as your practice manual so that if a man landed from Mars, he would be able to work out how to run your practice from reading them.
“The most important thing to bear in mind is that they must be tailored to what you do in your practice.”
There are many templated documents available but when using these, you must ensure that you appropriately update them to describe exactly what you do in practice. If there are sections that aren’t relevant, remove them and if there are areas which indicate that information needs to be updated, for example: Insert Practice Name, then change them.
Ultimately, keeping your policies and protocols up to scratch means ensuring that they reflect exactly what you do in your own practice, are accurate and kept up to date and are also fully understood by all members of the team.
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