Mobile Dentistry Risks

Mobile dentistry is more than just having a van outfitted with equipment to provide dental services outside of your office. Therefore, if you plan to take your staff offsite to provide dental services, make sure to conduct a risk self-assessment.

From an underwriting, risk management and patient safety perspective, a mobile dentistry practice includes any practice of dentistry away from your “bricks and mortar” location. This would include providing “portable” care going into nursing homes, extended care facilities, private homes, schools and day care centers.  

It is important to notify PSIC that you will be initiating this service and that you assess your practice risks. The two main areas that come to mind are patient safety and staff safety.

From a patient safety perspective, you should address:

  • Protocols for distributing standardized information (both written and oral) for the patient/guardian, including:
    • The dentist and staff members’ names, addresses and contact information
    • A description of services rendered
    • A referral and follow-up plan
  • The method for obtaining medical consultations/clearances for all applicable dental procedures
  • A detailed informed consent process and corresponding procedure-specific informed consent forms
    • Consider literacy, cultural and interpretative services that should be addressed in the processes/forms
  • Emergency protocols
  • HIPAA protocols for maintaining the privacy of PHI and PII

From a staff safety perspective, as an employer, you are responsible for providing a safe work environment for your staff. Therefore, you should:

  • Establish policies and procedures to address personal safety and security risks
  • Educate your staff about potential risks and how to respond to those that may materialize
  • Use staff who are competent to handle a crisis situations

Once you have identified and considered these risk areas, you can determine how to reduce the risk of a costly claim or board action. Contact us to confirm your coverage adequately addresses the needs of your mobile practice.

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