Dentaltown November 2015 - (Page 10)

howard speaks column Avoid a Perfect Storm: Focus on Infection Control What do Cecil the lion and a recent salmonella scandal have in common? The answer: they've both been part of a perfect storm-a perfect storm with far-reaching consequences. There could be a problem of that magnitude on its way for dentistry, and I want to help you avoid it. More on that later. First, let's explore the makings of a perfect storm. When something huge happens, it's not always the result of simple and predictable elements such as yes, no, left, right, up, down, and two plus two equals four. Sometimes, it takes inexplicable "X factors," such as timing and mood and world events, to come together and create a giant mess. We saw this with Cecil the lion. Lots of people have killed endangered animals illegally, but the issue never went viral like what we saw this year when a big-game-hunting dentist killed a protected lion in Zimbabwe. In that case, the exact combination of public sentiment and timing, coupled with the power of social media, resulted in global outrage. You know how all that turned out. It absolutely exploded. Let's look at another recent perfect storm that had severe consequences. In September, the owner of a peanut company was sentenced to 28 years in prison for his role in a deadly outbreak of salmonella in peanut butter. This landmark case shows that the public, and the courts, will no longer consider public-safety cases like this to be a matter of making a mistake. Instead, people are viewing these cases as murder. If a person runs a food-processing plant and a dozen people get food poisoning and someone dies, that's not murder in the traditional sense, but society still wants justice served. People are asking, "How come if a person goes out and kills someone, they're held accountable, but when the owner of a company does something irresponsible that kills people, that owner isn't held accountable?" Those decision makers are being held accountable now. The public wants it that way. Now how does this relate to dentistry? If you do something at your dental practice that makes people ill and it gets traced back to you, guess what? The public is going to want you to be held accountable, too. They're not going to say, "Dentists are nice, helpful people. We should just let this go." Now what could a dentist possibly do to hurt many people? The main way: lax infection control. I've researched cases of infection-control problems in the dental industry and in each case, the dentists were good guys. They were doing a lot of things the right way. You can be an accountable, responsible, smart, caring dentist and yet you can lose everything just because someone on your staff didn't run an autoclave the right way. It's overwhelming to realize that a tiny mistake can have such a terrible outcome, but you have to think about it. All of us dentists have to, or a lot of people could get sick. If that happens, it will not be a secret. Epidemiologists are effective at tracing back to the source. The health-care system has had many disease outbreaks that are the result of mistakes at medical centers, and the public is sick of it (no pun intended). Some scandals have made huge headlines, especially with social media getting stronger every year. The health-care system gives infections to thousands of people every year. This is a fact. The data of just how many thousands of patients get hospitalacquired infections every year varies, depending on the source, but all credible organizations agree it's in the thousands-many years, it's in the hundreds of thousands. Dentistry is a relatively small part of the health-care industry, but we still see a staggering number of patients. Dentistry's day in the mud could be coming. Continued on p. 12 by Howard Farran, DDS, MBA, Publisher, Dentaltown Magazine 10 NOVEMBER 2015 //

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Dentaltown November 2015

HOWARD SPEAKS: Avoid a Perfect Storm: Focus on Infection Control
PROFESSIONAL COURTESY: Suffering from Arithmophobia?
Continuing Education Update
Industry News
Check Out This Broken Implant
Disaster Case— Hail Mary
Internal Marketing Begets Referrals
When to Refer to a Periodontist
Parents in the Operatory: Friend or Foe?
What You Need to Know to Hire the Perfect Hygienist
Space Maintenance: The Right Appliance at the Right Time
Practice Solutions: AMD LASERS
Practice Solutions: Planmeca
Product Profi le:
Adhesives: 60 Years of Clinical and Chemical Improvement
Product Profi le: DEXIS
Misaligned Anterior Teeth Straightened with Direct Composite Bonding
Five Common Web Design Mistakes
You’re a Public-Health Dentist and You Didn’t Even Know It!
Retirement Planning Made Simple
Young Patient Redefi nes the Face of Dentures
New Products
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body: A Patient Info Sheet
Ad Index
You Should Know: Synergy Dental Partners
Practice Growth Fueled by Technology
The Clinical Algorithms of Rehabilitation
Dentally Incorrect

Dentaltown November 2015