Inside Dental Assisting
Jan/Feb 2012
Volume 8, Issue 1

Partnering to Better Inform the Dental Community

OSAP objective is safe and infection-free dental care for everyone

The Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention (OSAP) and the dental assisting profession have a long-standing, positive relationship. Dental assistants have been leaders concerning a wide variety of healthcare issues. The objective of providing safe and infection-free dental care for everyone, everywhere, is fundamental to the missions of both OSAP and professional dental assistant organizations.

Dental assistants frequently make or influence product purchasing decisions in the office. They often perform employee training concerning infection control. Dental assistants commonly are responsible for maintaining practice safety standards. It is critical that office personnel involved with safety and health issues have accurate information and strong commitments to establishing and maintaining a safer work environment. It is essential that dental assistants not only have the facts, but also are able to apply infection control tenets to their individual situations and then to monitor compliance.

Obtaining correct information concerning infection control is not always easy. Significant amounts of quasi-scientific materials exist. Some manufacturers make exaggerated claims about their products. Opinion leaders can interpret research results differently. OSAP in its more than 25 year history has shown itself to be a trustworthy and valuable source of information. OSAP endeavors to translate policy into tasks/practices that dental assistants can readily embrace and achieve. The organization is committed to help dental assistants meet their infection control goals. The OSAP website (www.osap.org) offers accurate and evidence-based infection control information at no cost to the world’s dental community.

From its beginning, OSAP has worked closely with dental assistants and considers the profession of dental assisting to be absolutely critical to the safer delivery of oral healthcare. In fact a significant number of OSAP members have dental assisting backgrounds. OSAP works diligently to make sure that our materials target dental assistants, because of the important roles they play in office infection control programs.

In some parts of the United States, infection control education is not required for dental assistants. This decreases awareness about OSAP and the resources it offers. In states with educational or credentialing requirements, there is an increased appreciation of infection control. There dental assistants usually are more engaged, feeling a greater sense of empowerment to speak and to act.

OSAP is focusing in 2012 on supporting dental assistants by providing even more foundational and advanced knowledge. Possessing information and knowing what to do is important; however, there must also be the confidence to persuade others to do what is correct. Therefore, OSAP through its publication, Infection Control in Practice, is offering dental assistants informational tools to help them implement proper infection control practices.

Over time, we all can become complacent concerning routine prevention activities. The sense of urgency wanes. OSAP is always trying to identify ways to help individuals to look at their infection prevention practices with a fresh perspective, to reaffirm its importance. Dental assistants are essential in the prevention of healthcare associated infections. OSAP wishes to support dental assistants in their efforts to produce a safer working environment and to better protect their patients.

To help in these efforts, OSAP has produced a valuable text, CDC Guidelines: From Policy to Practice by OSAP. This book reviews the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines, presenting materials in ways easily applicable to practice situations. OSAP also holds an annual three-day symposium. Dental assistants (clinicians, educators, managers, consultants, etc.) are frequent attendees, as well as presenters.

OSAP also supports the American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) in its annual conference by sponsoring a recognized infection control expert, who usually always is a dental assistant. Many dental assistants attended and have found it very rewarding. Of course, OSAP also communicates through social media and encourages dental assistants to check out our Facebook page.

OSAP believed that one of our major accomplishments is partnering with other organizations to better inform the dental community. OSAP cannot complete its mission on its own, no organization can. That is why OSAP creates strategic alliances with the CDC, Inside Dental Assisting, the American Dental Assistants Association, the Canadian Dental Assistants Association, and others to enable through information and instruction better outcomes for oral healthcare providers and patients.

About the Authors

Therese Long, MBA, CAE, Executive Director
Doni Bird, CDA, RDH, MA, Immediate Past Chair
Charles Palenik, PhD, MS, MBA, Director of Research & Scientific Affairs
Organization for Safety, Asepsis and Prevention
Annapolis, Maryland

2012 OSAP Annual Symposium
Connecting to Drive Compliance
June 21–23 | Atlanta, Georgia

Click to Register www.osap.org

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