At Agilio Software, we know that when it comes to managing your dental practice, your time, and your team, sometimes compliance can fall down the to-do list.
For over 20 years, we have used our first-hand knowledge and experience to help dental practices run smoothly and pass CQC and HIW inspections with ease. Since the implementation of the Fundamental Standards in 2015, our iComply software has seen a 98% pass rate amongst members.
But we know now, more than ever, that simplifying compliance is incredibly important. So practices can spend more time on the things that matter. This is what we focused on when developing our latest product – iComply NextGen.
Here are five ways that practices can navigate the ever-complicated landscape of dental compliance more efficiently and make passing an inspection even easier.
1. Stay on top of what needs doing each month
Documentation and key activities occur at different times, frequency, and dates. If you lose track of one, you’re running the risk of failing an inspection.
Whether it’s a shared calendar, or basic document, we always recommend having a shared space that summarises these activities. That way everyone can see what’s scheduled and any assigned tasks they have.
We know iComply’s calendar view of key compliance dates has always been popular with our members. Having an overview of what activities are scheduled in a month is incredibly useful. You can use it to plan your work in plenty of time.
With iComply NextGen, we’ve added a list view. You have the option to see those activities in more detail. All without the need to dive into each one to understand what needs doing.
Understanding the details and who is responsible means you can keep an eye on things, all in one place.
2. Prioritise activities based on importance to inspections and compliance
Whilst all compliance activities should be considered as mandatory, when you’re short on time, understanding which activities to focus on can help you manage your time more efficiently.
Whether it’s reviewing key documentation, or ensuring cleaning and reporting is logged correctly, knowing what the CQC or HIW are looking to see can help you prioritise those activities so you’re always inspection ready.
You can do this manually by going through all your documents and assigning your own priorities. Or you can use a software solution like Icomply Nextgen that will automatically assign activities based on our 20 years’ worth of compliance experience and expertise.
The priority rating of high, medium, or low, is given to an activity. This is based on our ongoing research into practice inspections. It reflects how likely it is that an inspector will look at a particular area of compliance when assessing a practice. As well as the potential impact of being non-compliant in a particular area.
3. Know which documents and activities matter to your practice
If you’ve subscribed to a software solution like iComply to help manage your compliance, you most likely have access to a comprehensive library of documents and policy templates to help you to manage your practice.
At Agilio, we are incredibly proud of our comprehensive library of over 500 documents. They cover everything that a practice could possibly need to run efficiently and in full compliance.
However, if a practice doesn’t sedate, why would you need to take the time to manage a sedation policy?
Going through a whole library and deciding which document is relevant to you is incredibly time-consuming. Through talking to our members, we know that the support we provide in guiding them through this library is so valuable.
That’s why we created our categories in iComply NextGen. They put you in control of your compliance documentation so they’re right for your practice.
The first category is compliance. Anything within this category could possibly result in a breach during an inspection if not completed and up to date.
Second is the optional category. This has multiple facets, but the optional activities are generally related to achieving best practice. Or they are mandatory compliance that is not relevant to every practice.
So, if your practice does sedate patients and, therefore, requires compliance to be completed for it, iComply NextGen will include that in your calendar.
The third and final category is operational. This includes HR management templates such as contracts and capability policies etc. And operational excellence documents such as CSR policies, opening and closing practice checklists and many more.
It’s all the things that don’t legally need doing but, as a business, are a very good idea to be able to keep on top of.
4. Stay on top of progress across your whole team or network
Compliance is for the whole team. So, as practice managers, it’s important to ensure responsibilities are shared, and everyone is doing their bit to keep practice standards high.
Staying on top of everyone’s progress and making sure they are following processes is key. So when the CQC or HIW do inspect, you know you’re in full compliance.
However, if you manage a busy practice, or oversee a whole network of practices, following up on tasks and responsibilities can become a real burden of time and admin.
We recommend having a central location that summarises key roles and responsibilities across your practice. Or a network that everyone can access and log their progress. This should reduce the need for follow ups or piecemeal reports.
However, if you have team members that are busy or need an extra prompt to carry out their compliance tasks, we do recommend implementing a role-specific alert system.
iComply Nextgen sends automatic reminders and alerts to team members when an activity is due to be completed. It allows them to update the system directly. Then you know when your team complete things in real time.
Our software also provides admins summary progress reports. You can see how many activities are outstanding, in progress, or completed – at staff, practice, or network level.
5. Be in control of how you use your compliance software
Compliance software is never ‘one-size-fits-all’. So it’s important to choose a solution that is scalable and puts you in control of your compliance activities and progress.
It’s seven years since the introduction of Fundamental Standards. Therefore practices have had the time to understand what documentation and activities are important to their compliance.
And we know that this differs depending on your organisational set up.
Some organisations will want one system that covers both dental and operational compliance. Some will want HR documentation included in there. And some will just want the bare minimum documentation as that’s all they need.
iComply Nextgen puts you in control of how you want to manage your compliance.
Based on our experience and expertise, and feedback from our members, we have created an agile system that can be easily set up to support your organisation, whether it is large or small.
Our new user interface is focused on simplifying the ever-complicated dental compliance landscape, with our new categories and priority ranking systems designed and developed to save time, whilst ensuring your practice is fully compliant and inspection-ready.
If you require further information about the topics we’ve covered in the article, please contact us.
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Article featured in Dentistry, March 2022