By Noel Kelsch, RDH, RDHAP, MS
I recently sat down with my niece, Katie. This bright, youthful child held my smart phone and directed me from novice to apprentice in unlimited things that were available for my knowledge and enlightenment. I had a treasure trove of games and entertainment at my disposal. She then asked me what I would like to learn. I told her I love infection control in the dental setting, and soon I was going from page to page finding links and programs that helped me in every aspect of my passion.
Here three examples you may want to download to help you in your quest for infection control knowledge.
DentalCheck: Infection Prevention & Control Checklist
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov)
This program puts it all together in one place for all your infection control needs in the dental setting. What a great resource from the CDC. This checklist was developed from the “Infection Prevention Checklist for the Dental Setting.” It includes links to all of the guidelines and source documents.
The app allows you to assess the infection control practices in your office and make sure you are following the minimum expectation for safe care. Every office is charged with having an infection prevention coordinator, and this tool is a great asset for their roles in assessing administrative policies, observing personnel, and patient care practices.
The part I love is how simple it is to use for self-assessment and export results for record keeping and management of information. Yes/no answers will reveal both your strengths and weaknesses in managing your dental infection control program.
EPA’s Pesticide Label Matcher
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (epa.gov)
Surface disinfectants used on clinical contact surfaces in the dental setting are classified as pesticides (they kill bacteria, viruses, etc.). They must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency.
This program gives you quick and efficient access to EPA registered pesticide product data. What is neat about this is that you can simply use the optical character recognition (OCR) technology to convert an image of a label to text it, which then compares it with the approved federal master label that can be used by regulated entities, the states, and EPA.
The app simplifies having to look things up on the EPA when you are in doubt about a product or want more information about its approval or use.
Solve the Outbreak
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
I have had so much fun with the program that mimics CSI. It also has made me aware of disease signs and symptoms. This program was developed by scientists and experts from the CDC and targets both common and uncommon diseases based on real-life stories. Worth the download and a great way to keep staff up to date on emerging diseases that it focuses on.
Looking at the reliability of programs
It is important to note that the Food and Drug Administration that oversees the use and approval of medical devices also recognizes the role and importance of programs and devices that use mobile medical apps. They can provide both solutions and innovation in medicine.
There can also be risks involved in utilizing information from unreliable sources. There are good programs that can help you meet patient needs, and there are programs that could lead to patient harm. It is important to always validate the reliability to of the resources you are using and make sure you are relying on a reputable source of information and technology. National Institute for Health, the CDC, and National Library of Medicine (nlm.nih.gov/mobile) all give you great apps that can aid in decision making in the dental setting. RDH
NOEL BRANDON KELSCH, RDH, RDHAP, MS, 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.