QIP Accreditation means that you can choose a dentist with confidence.

When you choose any health care professional to support the wellbeing of you and your family, you want to find a practitioner you can trust.

Whenever there is a breach in this trust, either through a personal experience or hearing of one from a family member or friend, it's understandable to demand that health care professionals are going above and beyond to service your needs in the safest, most diligent way possible.

The importance of high standards for hygiene

Recently, the Australian Dental Profession has brought dental practices under scrutiny after a health scare resulting from poor infection control practices. New South Wales Health caught the attention of local media when it released a report stating that four Sydney dentists had breached certain infection control protocols.

NSW Health stated there was a risk that patients who had undergone invasive procedures may possibly have come into contact with a blood-borne disease, transmitted by certain unsanitary dental instruments.

Fortunately, the risk of having contracted any disease is believed to be relatively low for any of the patients of the dental practices in question. Whilst steps have been taken to ensure that this type of scare never happens again, here are a few things you should take into consideration when choosing your dentist.

How can I choose a safe dental practice?

When it comes to choosing the safest dental practice to look after the oral health needs of you and your family, it pays to do your research. As it is recommended that you plan to see your dentist at least once every six months, you want to find one that you are comfortable with.

Here at Dental Care Network (DCN), we have dedicated ourselves to building a wide-reaching community of dentists, handpicked for their experience, with each member having an average of 15-20 years' experience.

One of the ways our practices ensure the safety and peace of mind of their patients is through a Quality Innovation Performance accreditation, or QIP accreditation

What is QIP accreditation?

QIP accreditation acts as an independent review and recognition of an organisation's efforts to meet and exceed all criteria for their profession. When developing the guidelines for dentists, QIP worked alongside the Australian Dental Association (ADA) to create the Introductory Dental Practice Accreditation.

The voluntary accreditation is an incentive for dental practices to adopt the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards into its services. First established in 2011, the NSQHS Standards are designed to protect patient's health by enforcing the highest possible level of safe practice.

"The Introductory Dental Practice Accreditation Scheme does not impose new or heightened compliance requirements on Dental Practices or Dental Professionals," states the ADA.

"However, for the first time, accreditation leads practices to systematically demonstrate to an independent accreditation agency that your practice is compliant with existing national, state and territory legislation and guidelines."

QIP is committed to the continuous improvement of quality, and once accreditation has been gained, the cycle lasts for two years before another review.

In a collaborative effort with the ADA, a 12-week program was established to aid DCN practices in NSQHS compliant policies for the dental profession.

What does it mean to be a QIP accredited dental practice?

By choosing a QIP accredited dental practice, you know that you are receiving treatment that is in line with the highest national standards of care. According to QIP, this involves establishing a "culture of quality and patient safety", as well as actively reducing risks both clinically and throughout the practice in general.

All staff have received the necessary education and training to make this possible, and the practice as a whole is dedicated to constantly re-evaluating and improving upon this high standard.
Certifications such as that developed by QIP mean that dentists are always accountable to a set of best practices.

It also means that patients are able to refer to an independent, trusted body to better inform their choice of dentist. With each accreditation being site-specific, franchises or branches across different locations will need to earn their own QIP accredited status.

What is involved in a practice obtaining accreditation?

In order to earn QIP accredited status, dentists self-evaluate against the relevant criteria in the NSQHS Standards 1-6. This includes infection prevention, procedure matching, medication safety and patient identification. 

Once a dentist has completed their own evaluation, an independent reviewer will examine the practice, to assess whether 100 per cent of the actions listed in the standards have been satisfactorily met. 

How do I find a QIP accredited dental practice?

If you're searching for a new dentist, or thinking about changing dental practices, be sure to enquire whether your practitioner of choice is QIP accredited. DCN is proud to have implemented the NSQHS Standards at our 200+ practices in both Australia and New Zealand.

With a QIP accreditation, you can choose a dentist to take care of your oral health needs with confidence, whether you're after a regular check-up or more complex treatment.

To find a DCN dentist near you, click here to see our locations. You can also make an enquiry online, or contact us by calling 1300 326 389.