RCDSO posted a message to all Ontario Dentists on March 15, 2020, regarding the risk COVID-19 poses to dental professionals. ODA recently announced their support of their recommendations. The College outlines seven different guidelines that they are putting into place to counteract the virus’s spread.
The College urges dentists to temporarily cease all non-emergency dental treatments to minimize the risk that the virus poses to dentists and patients. The College will revisit this recommendation in April 2020, but for now, it is strongly suggested that only emergency treatments should continue.
The primary focus of this blog addresses the college’s recommendations and provides additional resources for navigating the current climate while maintaining your practice.
What can I do in the meantime?
While the office may be slow for the time being, the downtime provides an opportunity for continuing education and advanced training. Refreshing yourself and your staff on your systems and tools, software applications, and best practices for your office is beneficial during this time so that when business begins to resume regularly, you can get back up to speed quickly and even get ahead of the game.
This may also be a great time for you to do a practice self-assessment that will give you a better understanding of how you are currently performing and what adjustments you may need to make to meet your practice objectives.
On a related note, it may also be time to ask yourself if you are taking full advantage of all the features your practice management software has to offer. Lorne Lavine, dentist and practice management consultant states that “Many practices are only using a small portion of the capabilities of their software… and this is not allowing them to operate at anything near a desired level of efficiency.” If you feel this scenario applies to you, it may be a good time to consider more training during a time when you are not operating at full capacity.
7 Recommendations from RCDSO and ODA
“1. The RCDSO strongly recommends that all non-essential and elective dental services should be suspended immediately. Emergency treatment should continue.“
As previously mentioned, the College will reassess the necessity of this precaution in the first week of April. RCDSO acknowledges that this recommendation will impact staff members, which is why they also suggest that dental professionals consult with the Ministry of Labour.
“2. The College will continue to enforce the Standard on Infection Prevention and Control, in cooperation with public health.“
This point is expected, and also crucial in this time. Taking some downtime for refreshing your staff on proper protocol for sanitization and safety measures is beneficial. The prevalence of upholding and emphasizing IPAC standards can serve as a practical learning experience for your staff.
“3. All in-person meetings at the College have been suspended until further notice.“
“4. All speaking engagements and presentations by College staff are cancelled until further notice.”
Many organizations are postponing physical meetings in favour of virtual meetings for the time being to minimize the risk of spreading the virus to more Canadians.
“5. All business travel for staff has been cancelled.“
The Prime Minister urges Canadians to come home if they are currently travelling abroad and has also announced the closure of most airports except for four major ones across the country.
“6. Renewals of existing facility permits and Certificates of Authorization are suspended.”
RCDSO will not renew facility permits during this time, but instead are extending current permits and extending renewal deadlines.
“7. The Quality Assurance program is suspended effective March 16, 2020.“
In their last point, the College encourages members to continue to earn CE points but urges attendees to do so online or via virtual means to prevent as much physical contact with the public as possible.
Going along with the theme of attending virtual conferences, ODA has extended their cancellation deadline for all attendees to March 23, 2020, giving dentists and prospective attendees more time to assess the situation before this year’s ASM.
EDIT: March 18, 2:45 p.m. || ODA has announced that they are cancelling this year’s Annual Spring Meeting due to growing concerns surrounding the virus.
To summarize the points, the College asks dentists to pause regular appointments but keep emergency appointments to attend to their patient’s needs.
- CDA’s Recommendation to See Resources by Province
- IPAC’s List of Resources
- Ontario: Ministry of Health – Enhanced Public Health Measures
- Ontario: Ministry of Health– Risk Levels and Precautions for COVID-19
- Ontario: RCDSO’s Guidance for Dentists in a Community Setting
- B.C.’s Information on COVID-19
- Alberta’s Information on COVID-19
- Manitoba’s information on COVID-19 – on their home page
- Saskatchewan’s information on COVID-19
- New Brunswick College of Dental Hygienists – currently reviewing updates
- Nova Scotia’s Bulletin for Healthcare Providers
- P.E.I.’s Information on COVID-19
- N.L. Information on COVID-19
- N.T. Information on COVID-19
- Nunavut – News Release responding to COVID-19
- Quebec’s Communications / ACDQ – last updated February 26, 2020
- Yukon – List of memos for Health Professionals
- U.S. – ADA’s FAQ regarding COVID-19
- U.S. – ADA’s Resource Centre for Dentists