June 11, 2015
Dental Practice Accreditation – Why Bother?
Dental Practice Accreditation, why bother? This is very reasonable question for any dental practice owner to ask.
Why would a practice invest in the accreditation process if they feel that their practice currently manages quite well without it?
Is it really good value for time and money? What are the benefits?
Before answering that question, let’s quickly look at the standards behind accreditation.
In 2011, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care developed the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards.
The point of the standards is to provide a statement about the level of care a patient can expect from a health service organization. In other words, no matter where in Australia you receive health treatment, these national standards ensure that all patients are protected from harm and receive the highest possible level of care.
Benefits of Dental Practice Accreditation
So, in order to answer the question posed in the title, I asked a number of dental practices why they went down the path of accreditation.
Here is a summary of their answers:
- To confirm that the practice processes were correct and being followed by staff (eg. Patient privacy and confidentiality measures are followed, best practices in infection control are followed…)
- A chance to write down practice processes (introduce greater formalisation) for the first time
- A chance to involve the staff in having input in a number of the practice processes – this inclusion was great for team cohesion and morale.
- A way to keep maintaining our high standards as accreditation provided a realistic framework of policies, procedures and manuals and is designed to make continuous improvement easy.
- A way to confirm to your patients and other practices that you can be confident that you are operating at a high standards
To assist with your decision, it is important to know that currently, for private dental practice, accreditation to the NSQHS Standards is voluntary. However, for the majority of public dental services, it is mandatory.
Perhaps another way to look at accreditation is as an investment, not an expense.
“Achieving accreditation demonstrates a commitment to the provision of excellent dental care and continuous quality improvement within the practice environment.” QIP, Quality Innovation Performance
- Dental Practice Accreditation