By Danny Chan
Infection control and sterilization may not be the first things that come to mind when building a practice. Nonetheless, it is important to note that any mistakes from the outset – whether in terms of steri room design, setting up disinfection control protocols or workflow – can prove to be more costly than initially thought.
We have all read media reports of surgeries being forced to close due to insufficient hygiene procedures and failure to comply with minimum standards. It’s easy to conjecture how such incidents could have been prevented with better planning or by installing the right equipment and so on. Yet how far can you vouch for the hygiene standards of your practice prevailing in an audit today? For that matter, do you know what a fully compliant sterilization room is or isn’t?
Keeping abreast of changing sterilization regulations may not be as simple as it sounds. Meanwhile, failure to comply can incur hefty penalties. In extreme cases, you may lose your practice licence for good. Instead of guesswork, wouldn’t it be safer to employ a team of industry experts that can align your surgery’s hygiene practices with prevailing safety standards?
Henry Schein Halas (HSH) have partnered with Ritespace Steri Solutions (RSS) and Prof. Laurie Walsh to do just that. Newly launched in Australia, Total Steri Solutions provide an all-encompassing service to help secure sterilisation compliance and workflow for your practice.
Check your blind spots
Total Steri Solutions was birthed out of the observation about the rising incidence rate of Australian surgeries that fail to comply with sterilization standards leading to forced closure and the increased scrutiny by Dental Associations both in Australia and around the world. Led by Henry Schein Halas, discussions with Prof Laurie Walsh and subsequently Ritespace Steri Solutions took place with an aim to develop a unique solution package that addresses all the compliance issues – many of which may be hidden in the dentist’s peripheral vision.
There are several pitfalls that make Australian dentists stumble in the area of sterilization compliance, says Andreas Schulz, Total Steri Solutions Lead:
“One common blind spot relates to proper storage and documentation – where to store, find, fill in and maintain the correct protocols and procedures. The other one is unexpected staff turnover resulting in constantly having to retrain new personnel on sterilization protocols, while lacking the educational resources or skilled trainers for the task. Unexpected breakdowns due to wrong usage of equipment or protocols can also cause dramatic outcomes.”
Perhaps the most common problem stems from a lack of focus, Andreas adds:
“Most dental surgeries focus on issues like creating customer satisfaction, great “in chair” experiences and attractive marketing. Those time-consuming activities can distract you from the rather complicated sterilization issues that often get compromised, whether knowingly or otherwise.”
What’s in the package
Total Steri Solutions effectively draw on industry-leading expertise representing every field of dental sterilization: Disinfection equipment, instruments and consumables supply (HSH); steri room design, build and construction (RSS); as well as sterilization compliance protocols and workflow (Prof. Walsh). Together, these field experts help take the hassle and guesswork out of sterilisation room design, certification and maintenance.
“It’s a unique peace-of-mind package that guarantees clients a state-of-the-art, fully certified and audit-ready work environment,” says Total Steri Solutions Lead, Andreas Schulz. Indeed, you would be hard-pressed to simply locate a similar offering on the market – not to mention the end-to-end services that are included in the package.
Here is what you can expect from a Total Steri Solutions (TSS) setup:
- Customised and purpose-built sterilisation room – fully compliance tested and certified
- State-of-the-art equipment
- Fully compliant workflow including tracking*, recording and storage of data
- Installation and handover over in a single weekend limiting practice downtime
- Operating Lease ensures a 100% tax-deductible monthly payment fixed over 5 years
- App for compliance information, document storage, access to information, videos and training
- Online compliance and work flow material and workbook presented by Prof. Laurie Walsh
- Automated monthly consumables packages included in payment plan
- 5-yearly renovation for ongoing compliance
*Dependent on chosen equipment.
App to get you started
One of the most unique aspects of the TSS package lies in the use of a purpose built app, which allows the customer to create a bespoke steri room design, in collaboration with the TSS team.
The interactive app provides a digital platform upon which experts from the Henry Schein and Ritespace team may design a fully complaint workflow based on your input. Incorporating all the proposed design, equipment and technological elements, an elevation drawing may be created to offer you a pre-visualization of how the space would look like.
Based on a unique leasing model, the app can even calculate the estimated monthly fees covering: Rental costs of all the equipment and technology; ordering of consumables (which is done automatically); and accessing online training resources on sterilization compliance and certification.
All relevant costs are automatically rolled into a fixed, 100% tax-deductible monthly price – calculated for a period of 5 years. The package is renewable at the end of every 5-year period, upon which the steri room would receive another round of renovations to maintain optimal workflow and compliance.
All in a weekend’s work
Upon confirmation, it would take approximately 6-8 weeks for all the hardware and services to be shipped onsite. And here is the deal clincher: Complete fit out and installation of the steri room all takes place within a single weekend! By working during the surgery’s closing hours, this exclusive feature is designed to save on exorbitant downtime costs – which even based on conservative estimates is pegged around $15-20K.
Responsible for the physical design and build of the steri room, Ritespace is the solutions partner that makes this fast, hassle-free turnaround a reality. Armed with over 40 years of collective experience in dental practice renovations, the team at Ritespace is one of few fit out firms that has a clear understanding of the current standards in infection control and instrument re-processing.
“There are some very strict guidelines pertaining to flooring, lighting, plumbing, positions of sinks, electrical standards and the entire workflow. Even our cabinetry designs incorporate elements of infection control,” says Simon Bubear.
“With the assistance of Professor Laurie Walsh, our whole steri design concept is built around ensuring complete compliance. Our combined expertise and methodical approach to meeting high sterilization standards certainly allow dentists to feel confident about our fit outs.”
A typical fit out includes demolishing an existing steri room before re-installing a brand new state-of-the-art sterilisation room – including equipment, cabinetry, lighting, flooring, ceiling, plumbing, heat extraction, air con filters/outlets, eventual 3-phase output and painting. Depending on your requirements or preference, the equipment range may include: Thermo disinfector, ultrasonic bath, lubrication machine, autoclave, RO system, software, data logger, etc.
“Given that we have all trades under one roof here at RiteSpace and dedicated teams of tradesmen that build dental practices every day, we have no problems in guaranteeing complete turnaround in one weekend,” says Simon.
Full customization. Full compliance. No compromise.
On average, Andreas confirms, TSS is able to work on 8 separate installations throughout Australia on any given weekend. Remarkably, even as each fit out design and layout is fully customizable, every single installation will be fully compliant with current infection control standards and sterilization requirements. This is, after all, the solution’s main selling point.
“We work hand in hand with Prof. Laurie Walsh on the correct translation and execution of all involved products, work flow, services and space-related aspects to finalize a solution package that fully complies and addresses current standards and requirements,” Andreas emphasizes.
“Total Steri Solutions effectively minimise most factors of risk, human error and training deficiency to offer a proven end-to-end solution to maintain ongoing safety and compliance.”
“This has been, from inception, the major selling point of Total Steri Solutions that we make no bones about. For a package that delivers such critical services to the dental profession, TTS is truly unlike any other product on the market today.”