BY NOEL BRANDON KELSCH, RDHAP
I love IKEA. It is a great place to get furniture and accessories for college students, those just starting out, or those who have lived some place forever and want to update their surroundings. It has everything under one roof, and you can depend on them to bring together the products to create the environment you want. Dr. John O'Keefe, chairman of the board for the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) pointed something out to me, "IKEA does not manufacture anything. They are just fantastic about getting the right products to the right people."
OSAP is just like IKEA. They bring together information from a variety of sources from governing agencies to those devoted to protecting the clinician and patient. They disseminate information in a manner that is understandable, applicable, and a great value to all dental offices and patients alike.
OSAP is a global nonprofit association that was established in 1984 with a mission to provide safe oral health care to people everywhere. Therese Long, executive director of OSAP, said, "This diverse community of clinicians, educators, researchers, and industry representatives advocate for the safe and infection-free delivery of oral health care. The amazing thing about this group is that it gives you direct access to recognized infection control experts for answers, strategies, and tools for keeping staff and patients safe."
Tools for the dental professional
OSAP has a vast online collection of resources, publications, FAQ sheets, checklists, and toolkits that help dental professionals deliver the safest dental visit possible for their patients. Plus, online and live courses help advance the level of knowledge and skill for every member of the dental team. This system of knowledge exchange has a variety of mechanisms.
Here are my favorites:
1. Ask OSAP: This is a place where you can come with any question that you have. They have 2,000 questions in their repository. This is a great way to go to the source. They will answer your question directly.
2. Breaking news: This is an incredible system that every office should read every morning like my father read the newspaper. It has all the breaking news from across the world on infection control. It is continually updated. It has the answers to the questions your patients are going to ask when they see the morning news, particularly about offices closed for infection control issues.
3. Checklists and charts: This section has a variety of checklists and charts that allow you to see how you are doing with compliance, setting up office programs, evaluating surface disinfectants, staying updated on vaccinations, etc.
4. Tool kits and web meetings: I think that I refer more people to this section than any other section. It has what you need to do for ongoing issues-Ebola, measles, hepatitis C, etc. It gives the tool kits for managing challenges in infection control and being prepared for emerging diseases. The remarkable thing is that these tools kits are put together immediately when incidents occur. OSAP goes directly to OSHA, CDC, etc., translating the information for dentistry in understandable and applicable terms. These wonderful tools give you small bites of policies in a manner that they can be easily put into practice.
5. From Policy to Practice: OSAP's Interactive Guide to the CDC Guidelines. This is free unless you want continuing education units (small grading fee). These modules are a must for all dental practices and take you step-by-step through compliance. "From Policy to Practice" is a workbook that is a must-read for all offices. They also have an infection control manual for missions, as well as a web portal for portable and mobile programs.
6. Team Huddle: This is a great publication that can be used for training of staff and staying up to date. These magazines come out every other month online or delivered to your office. I love the part that has scenarios that occurring in the dental setting, offering practical solutions. This magazine makes it fun and interesting with things like "What is wrong with this picture?"
Please join me at the next OSAP meeting! It is a hoot! The very first OSAP meeting that I attended was over 12 years ago. I went by myself since I could not convince anyone that it was of any value to go to a meeting dedicated to the subject of infection control. One friend said she would sleep through the conference. The opposite happened for me! I left with new friends, cutting edge information, and a renewed passion for the profession. During the courses, I sat next to and learned from some of the most respected leaders, scientists, and researchers in infection control in the world. That meeting was where I learned that dentistry needs infection control as we treat diseases that are contagious and transmittable.
I think that Therese Long said it best: "It is one thing to go to a CE course and get the information and a handout. It is another thing to walk into a conference and get to know the leaders in the industry and actually have a conversation with them and work with them as peers."
She added, "You will have the opportunity to hear solutions to the challenges you face every day. Everyone is there to support each other in delivering the safest dental visit." I love being able to see the new infection control devices and concepts. What I learn at that meeting can immediately be applied to the clinical setting.
OSAP brings cutting edge information and industry infection control leaders to dental professionals twice a year. Early next year, Core Dental Boot Camp is in Atlanta on Jan. 11-13. It's a great place to get core educational courses covering all of the basics in infection prevention and safety. The entire dental team from educators to the office staff can benefit from this meeting. The annual June meeting in 2016 will be hosted in San Diego on June 2-4.
There are many exciting things happening at OSAP. The resources for keeping patients and yourself safe are expanding.
Here are some of the things OSAP would like you to focus on in the coming year:
1. A dental infection control coordinator in every office-For many years, there has been a recommendation that every dental office have an infection control coordinator. This coordinator would aid in creating a workflow, protocols, and training. OSAP is a great support for the infection control coordinator with so many resources that are language appropriate and available at your fingertips. Has your dental office assigned an infection control coordinator
2. The Safest Dental Visit-This is proactive collaborative effort to support an increased commitment to infection control and safety in dentistry. It will engage staff in a culture of safety, enhance the image of the practice and elevate the patient's confidence in the practice. It's like having OSAP as a partner in your office. It gives you what you should be teaching patients before they even ask you the question.
I depend on OSAP like many depend on IKEA. It has tools for those just learning about infection control, those who want to stay updated, and those who have been in the profession and need to update. They are my resource for accurate information and tools for implementation.
The OSAP meetings are where I can learn, recharge my passion, and work with my peers to improve my practice. OSAP provides me with a simple place to get the information I need to keep my patients and staff safe.
Consider utilizing their resources, becoming a member, and attending the meetings. You will not fall asleep! Go to OSAP.org for more information. RDH
What one new member says about OSAP
Sandra Berger, RDH, a speaker, writer, and meeting planner, shared: "I became a member of OSAP so I could have access to the most current information on infection control in dentistry. I learned of the OSAP symposium through that and decided to attend to network and find resources and information to better my infection control seminars.
"There is so much content out there on infection control-some anecdotal, some outdated, and some just plain incorrect-that I wanted to go to the source. I was thrilled to meet so many people who are superstars in the infection control arena. I now feel I have resources and people to contact that I would not have if I did not attend. I can't wait to go to the Boot Camp in January."
NOEL BRANDON KELSCH, RDHAP, is a syndicated columnist, writer, speaker, and cartoonist. She serves on the editorial review committee for the Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention newsletter and has received many national awards. Kelsch owns her dental hygiene practice that focuses on access to care for all and helps facilitate the Simi Valley Free Dental Clinic. She has devoted much of her 35 years in dentistry to educating people about the devastating effects of methamphetamines and drug use. She is a past president of the California Dental Hygienists' Association.