No Worries Dentistry
“We were compelled to seek an alternative solution to stay on top of the changing regulatory framework”
No concerns over meeting compliance for No Worries Dentistry
A Quality Compliance Systems case study
No Worries Dentistry is a dental practice in Shrewsbury. The surgery’s three dentists are supported by a team of seven staff, providing dental care for up to 10,000 registered patients. The vast majority of the work carried out by the practice is to provide essential NHS dental care to the community, which it has done since it was established eight years ago.
The compliance framework has changed significantly since the practice first opened its doors. Over this time compliance requirements have steadily increased, and a new regulatory authority, The Care Quality Commission (CQC), was born by an Act of Parliament. Many changes have been brought in by the CQC including, since 1st April 2011, the requirement for all dental service providers to be registered and to submit to an ongoing programme of inspections to ensure compliance with essential standards of quality and safety.
Submitting to this registration and inspection regime was a new experience for the dental sector. The focus is now on service user outcomes, which alongside policies and procedures shapes compliance. Activities related to fulfilling its regulatory obligations occupied a major part of 2012 as No Worries Dentistry attempted to achieve the goal of CQC compliance.
Within the context of the workflow of the practice, managing compliance consumed a disproportionate amount of time. “It was a significant drain on both mine and the practice manager’s time,” says Principal Dentist David Barke.
“We adopted a DIY approach to managing the compliance requirement across the practice. This was highly inefficient and there was some duplication in our efforts. We were using an alternative compliance system designed for dental practices; however there were significant shortcomings of that system.”
“We were compelled to seek an alternative solution to stay on top of the changing regulatory framework,” David Barke says.
The QCS online system provides access to digital versions of the resources, enabling access from any suitable web-connected device and is customised to the needs of each health and social care organisation. This ensures that essential information specific to individual organisations is populated throughout the system, including the name of the organisation, addresses and names of registered providers and managers.
Of the preparatory work required to ensure they were adhering to policies and procedures that support essential standards of quality and safety, David Barke says, “There are 212 policies and I would estimate each one would have taken at least an hour for us to research, aggregate source material and create a structured policy customised to our practice. It is therefore reasonable to say that QCS prewritten pro-forma policies saved us around 200 hours.”
No Worries Dentistry was assessed as fully compliant with the CQC’s requirements when inspected in December 2012. This was achieved after only using QCS compliance management for 3 months. QCS issues a weekly update to any policies and this ensures every health or care organisation using the system is always up to date with any changes to the regulations. David Barke says: “On Monday morning we can see what has changed and this enables us to adopt a pro-active approach to compliance matters. We can communicate change across all areas of the practice.”
The system is user-friendly and the team at No Worries Dentistry have only needed to call QCS once for support. “There was a problem with logging on to the online system. We did not have to submit our problem through email or wait for a call back as it was sorted out in 15 minutes while we were on the phone. We could get straight on to deal with the compliance matter at hand,” says David Barke.
There is no need for users to have an intimate knowledge of the compliance framework to use the system effectively. “It’s straightforward and gives us a structure that lets us easily see the area we are working in. If we don’t know where to find something, the ‘Search’ facility is extremely useful. By searching you quickly see all the policies relating to or containing any keyword.”
The system’s reading list feature lets the practice specify any documentation which needs to be reviewed by members of the team. The system has proved highly effective at ensuring that staff invest an appropriate amount of time in this activity. “From the report information we can check to see how long each individual has viewed a document. It is difficult to claim that you have properly read and understood a multi-page policy when you have only accessed it for 37 seconds!” David Barke says.