Best Practice

HTM 01-05 describes best practice as ‘…the full level of compliance that may be achieved immediately or via a documented improvement from Essential Quality Requirements.’

Best Practice

To show achievement of Best Practice or ‘gold standard’ as it is sometimes referred to, practices need to make improvements in three key areas.

Environment

The requirement for separation of decontamination processes from any other activity is a requirement for meeting Best Practice. This means that a dedicated decontamination room is needed.

The decontamination room, also referred to as LDU (Local Decontamination Unit), will require clear separation between processed involving contaminated instruments and processes involving clean instrument.

In some instances, a practice may have a separate room for cleaning contaminated instruments and another for cleaning instruments.

For more information on the decontamination room please see the relevant section of the Isopharm website.

Washer disinfector

As this is a fully automated process which requires no user input with the exception of loading the machine, a washer disinfector is considered a requirement for achieving Best Practice.

Washer disinfectors need regular maintenance by both the user and a qualified service/validation engineer and this should be carried out as per the manufacturer's guidelines.

For more information on testing and validation of washer disinfectors please see the relevant section of the Isopharm website.

Storage of instruments

To achieve the Best Practice level of compliance it is necessary to have central storage of reprocessed instruments.

This means that instruments that have successfully been through the whole decontamination process are no longer kept in the surgery but are instead stored in a dedicated area.

This could be either the clean area of the decontamination room or in a purpose built cupboard.

A key element to successful central storage of instruments is the design of the storage area which will enable staff members to efficiently retrieve the instruments they require. 

The Bigger Picture

It is extremely important for all members of the dental team to realise and understand that Best Practice cannot be met by ONLY implementing the afore mentioned ‘three key areas’. 

Best Practice is about continual development of decontamination processes. All elements of essential quality requirements PLUS the three key areas must be met for a practice to successfully say they are compliant with Best Practice, but it does not need to stop with HTM 01-05.

There are many ways in which practices can continue to build upon what HTM 01-05 has established. For example, tracking and traceability may not be a current requirement of HTM 01-05 EQR or Best Practice, but if you are striving for the perfect practice it may be worth considering introducing this as the next improvement you make.

For more information on tracking and traceability please see the relevant sections of the Isopharm website.