Let’s Not Forget Dental Office Patient Safety

Infections are dangerous no matter how or where they’re acquired. Bacteria aren’t fussy – they love hospitals, clinics and dental offices alike!

At oneSOURCE, we’ve been dedicated to patient safety and preventing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) since 2009. That’s the year we introduced our first document database service – manufacturers’ IFUs for reusable surgical instruments and devices. But adhering to manufacturers’ instructions is critical whether you’re in the hospital sterile processing department or the lab area of a dental suite. 

The Evolution of the oneSOURCE Dental Database

I worked in a dental office before I joined oneSOURCE six years ago so I was a very early and vocal  advocate within the company to develop the Dental Database service. I remembered those massive binders of documents we were supposed to maintain and protect with our lives! Looking back, I would have loved to have had this online database with thousands of:

  • Manufacturers’ Instructions for Use (IFUs) documents for reusable devices and equipment as well as consumables supplies
  • Safety Data Sheets (SDSs) for the chemical products used in dental settings

Fortunately, the oneSOURCE executive team agreed and we introduced the Dental Database in 2016. Shortly after that, we brought on Lori Rasmussen, with 30 years of experience as a dental hygienist, to help manage the program.

Our customers (dental surgical departments, military dental treatment facilities, dental schools and private dental practices) now have quick access to current safety information to guide their sterile processing activity and help them avoid or respond to chemical exposure issues.

Mandates and Best Practices

Safety Data Sheets

Among other information, SDSs have critical information on:

  • How to safely handle and store chemical products
  • What to do in case of chemical spills or accidental releases
  • First aid for treating harmful chemical exposures

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires chemical manufacturers to provide their customers an SDS with the initial shipment of the product and then again whenever that SDS is revised. They’re not obligated to send an SDS with each shipment. And if they revise the SDS before your next shipment you’ll wait till then to get the new one. How long until that first paper copy gets lost, misfiled or torn out the binder never to be seen again!

That’s actually not too funny because in 29 C.F.R. 1910.1200(g)(8) OSHA also requires employers to ensure SDSs are “readily accessible…to employees in their workspace areas.” Electronic access is specifically authorized as a way to comply with that mandate. And obviously an online database ensures the SDS is available in every office with a computer terminal.

Instructions for Use

IFUs provide a manufacturer’s detailed guidance on how to process, handle and maintain their consumable or reusable medical device.

Unlike for hospitals and clinics, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and other regulatory and accreditation agencies don’t require dental offices to maintain IFUs in the workspace. Speaking for myself, I think it’s just a matter of time until they do.

Regardless, our Dental Database clients value their easy access to IFUs so their technicians always have the latest and best information on hand to do their jobs right. Maintaining IFUs in dental offices and departments is certainly a best practice if not a legal requirement.

 Part of the Family

The Dental Database is one of our five specialized healthcare manufacturer document databases. Like the others, it has easy and intuitive search features so users can quickly find an IFU or an SDS based on a catalog number or a manufacturer drop-down menu. Users can navigate quickly through a document using quick links and keywords. They can create favorites lists of frequently used documents.

No more massive binders. (Yay!)

The Dental Database is growing steadily as our team adds more IFUs and SDSs all the time. I checked the other day and we’re up to nearly 70,000 documents from more than 250 manufacturers. I’m excited and energized by the feedback I’m get from dental professionals I meet every day – whether I’m at an OSAP event or talking with clinic owners and managers. Safety is on everyone’s mind! 

I hope you’ll join with oneSOURCE in our effort to protect dental technicians and patients. We want to put lifesaving information at your fingertips!

Jennifer Sippel, Dental Database Manager, has been with oneSOURCE Document Management Site since 2013. Prior to that she worked for five years in a periodontal office.

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