It has been estimated that as many as 270 women may have died because they did not receive invitations to routine breast cancer screenings due to ‘administrative incompetence’. The oversight may have affected many as 450,000 women between the ages of 68 and 71 since 2009, because of a computer algorithm error that has affected the health service’s system.
This is, of course, an extreme and tragic example of the kind of administrative oversight that can be all too easily made in a healthcare setting. When dealing with a high volume of patient data, in a busy environment, the potential for mistakes is unavoidable to a certain degree. This does not make it acceptable by any means – and it is our responsibility as healthcare professionals to protect our patients. This applies from the practice owner down to the reception staff – anyone who handles patient data should do everything they can to ensure a high level of service accuracy and care. Unfortunately an error can undermine all the great clinical work we perform.
Thus, it is vital for all practice owners to commit time to the running of their practice, the small details and processes that contribute to good practice – and if this isn’t something that they are experienced with, then they should make the effort to learn or employ a competent manager who will be able to do the work for them.
Indeed, with GDPR now in force, there is even more scrutiny on the way patient data is handled, and mistakes can be costly not only emotionally but now financially. Similarly, new technologies and practice management software is increasing our dependence on digital solutions – the error that was made in the case of the breast screening oversight was caused by an unnoticed computer error, so it’s clear to see how profound an impact technology can have in the healthcare sector. Managing these aspects of modern dentistry can be just as important as keeping up to date with the latest treatments. In fact, there is a strong case for all practising dentists to stay abreast of more business and administrative changes so they can help maintain high service standards in practice – and it’s important to provide adequate training for other members of staff too, especially if they are the ones who will be handling patient data and making appointments on a day to day basis.
These days, dentistry is so much more than just keeping your patients’ teeth healthy. It is crucial that every aspect of their treatment is precise, safe and effective – even something as small as getting a call back or an appointment reminder.
For further information please call EndoCare on 020 7224 0999
EndoCare, led by Dr Michael Sultan, is one of the UK’s most trusted Specialist Endodontist practices. Through the use of the latest technologies and techniques, the highly-trained team can offer exceptional standards of care – always putting the patient first. What’s more, EndoCare is a dependable referral centre, to which dentists from across the country send their patients for the best in specialist endodontic treatment.