How do we choose the right products and ask the right questions about infection control? What should we be asking suppliers to ensure we are getting the education we need to make the best decision for our clients? Laura Edgar, managing director of Aura Infection Control discusses how education and purchasing must be linked to ensure patient safety is kept at the top of the shopping list.
As consumers, we are used to choosing products based on what we know about them, what we need and want and listening to our gut reactions, – Apple or Samsung, BMW or Audi, tea or coffee…but these decisions don’t have a big impact on our lives and certainly don’t affect anyone else (apart from my husband who hates driving my car). Within our professional life our gut reactions and instincts are not relevant when considering purchases, as they can have a direct impact on patient safety and our ability to deliver compliant and effective services to patients. We cannot just choose the cheapest product, or the one with the nicest packaging or the one who says it does everything for everyone – we must be educated to know what we need, why we need it and how to use it to protect our clients.
We are bombarded with products on flyers, in magazines, at exhibitions even in our practices with sales reps visiting. This bombardment forces us to rely on the knowledge we have to make an educated decision about which products are most suitable. What do we do then, if we have no knowledge to make a decision on? It then becomes more about price, packaging and offers and less about compliance, fit for purpose and safety for patients. Education should be given without obligation to buy, and not as an added extra after you have signed on the dotted line. All too often those selling the products and parading their prices and benefits cannot fully explain how the product achieves compliance which leaves you in a difficult position of finding this out for yourself.
It can be difficult to align the product marketing fluff to the legal requirements, even when the product is stamped ‘HTM01-05 Compliant’. Let us consider DUWL Biocide, this is a chemical agent added to the water on
Make the right choice for infection control a continuous basis (Alpron) or a one-off treatment which is designed to reduce the bacteria load in the internal tubing of the Dental Chair. Choosing your DUWL, as with all products used in surgery, should start with asking some specific questions:
We recognise this difficulty and take a different approach to help dental staff find the right products to suit them through awareness and training. As a company, Aura Infection Control, have built our business on being the go to experts for infection control products, and specifically for the unparalleled Dental Unit Water Line product Alpron. We discuss daily with customers the merits of the clinical research, how it was conducted and what it shows. We can illustrate how it fits with current guidance and have hundreds of accounts of CQC asking to see our DUWL certificate and audit sheets.
Education provides power Providing advice and education on how products can help dental professionals provide safe treatment for patients is a key part of our business. In order to do this we supply product training sheets with all our products for first time users so that they can hold a training session on it and educate the users. We also work together with Dental Training providers to offer practical examples of products and samples to use to learn how to perform validation tests. By working together we are more closely aligning process education with product awareness and empowering dental professionals to make informed decisions on products and challenge their gut reactions with knowledge.
I believe as a profession we have a missing link between the processes that must be undertaken and the products needed to complete them. Rather than choosing the cheapest or the best looking, we must start to choose the companies who want to educate and empower through knowledge and understanding. Products should include clear training sheets and instruction booklets. Companies should be able to demonstrate and explain how products that are supported with clinical data can be used to ensure full compliance and not just offer a few pence off the alternatives.
This is a lot of work, and it takes an investment from companies who sell products to do the clinical research and educate to the right level to allow professionals to make educated decisions and leave the gut reactions for lunch time. After all, isn’t the safety of our patients and staff top of everyone’s shopping list?