Your Rights as a Patient of Laser Dentistry
Laser Dentistry’s Patient Rights Policy
Laser Dentistry stands by a Charter of Patient Rights which is consistent with the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights (ACHR). Our patient rights relate to Access to Appointments, Safety, Respect, Communication and Decision Making, Participation, Privacy and Comment.
Charter of Patient Rights
Laser Dentistry aims to provide patients with appointments to meet their treatment needs. It is requested that patients make an agreed appointment time/date to assist in the scheduling process and notify the practice where an appointment can not be met. To assist patients in attending and/or rescheduling their scheduled appointments we contact them in the form of a reminder.
Laser Dentistry provides/offers a variety of reminders to assist patients to meet their appointments
- Telephone call reminders the day before
- SMS reminders the day before
- E-mail reminders the day before
- Postal reminders for appointments made 3-6months prior
- Combinations of any of the above methods tailored specifically to a patients needs
The cancellation policy of Laser Dentistry requires a minimum of 24 hours notice for the cancellation of an appointment. Should the patient cancel without the required notice period, it is at the Dentist or Practice Managers discretion as to whether a cancellation fee of $150 is to be charged.
In the event that we are unable to accommodate a patient’s request for an appointment at a specific time/date, consultation with the treating dental practitioner will be sought. In addition, emergency treatment will be provided for patients who are willing to wait if no appointments are available.
Laser Dentistry is committed to a safe, secure and enjoyable environment for all our patients and staff. We aim to provide appropriate dental services and encourage patients/and or staff to raise any concerns they may have. If a concern is raised, all staff and management are required to address the concern as soon as possible. For further information about our commitment to safety refer to Laser Dentistry’s Work, Health and Safety manual.
All patients are required to complete a full medical history form as accurately and completely as possible. A complete medical history will allow staff to identify any circumstances that may increase the risks associated with dental care. Patients that refuse to provide essential information for our files may be refused treatment.
In the unlikely occurrence of an adverse event, dental practitioners at Laser Dentistry have a responsibility to be open and honest in communications with the patient involved, and families or carers if applicable.
It is the responsibility of the registered dental practitioner, in accordance with the Dental Board of Australia’s Code of Conduct for Registered Health Practitioners, to explain to the patient what has happened and why, as well as offering support and advice with regard to how the situation can be resolved or managed.
Upon recognizing the occurrence if an adverse event, the dental practitioner will follow out Open Disclosure Process, which aligns with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality Healthcare’s Open Disclosure Standard, as outlined below:
- Act immediately to rectify the problem, if possible, including seeking any necessary help and advice
- Explain to the patient, in sufficient detail, so the patient understands what has occurred, including the anticipated short- term and long-term consequences.
- Acknowledge any patient distress and provide appropriate support.
- Develop a future management plan for the patient if required
- Ensure that the patient has access to information about the process for making a complaint
Sufficient detail is to be recorded in the patient’s records to reflect the information provided to the patient about the incident, associated risks and likely consequences. The dental practitioner will notify the occurrence of the adverse event to their personal indemnity insurer, consistent with the clauses of their policy
Laser Dentistry values our patients as unique individuals. We hope that at all time we can provide dental treatment in a manner which is respectful of cultures, beliefs, values and personal characteristics. Patients are asked to reciprocate this respect by being mindful of all staff at Laser Dentistry and other patients.
Communication and Decision Making
Laser Dentistry respects the patient’s rights to received adequate information to make informed decisions regarding their health and healthcare. Consequently, all staff should continually demonstrate a commitment to providing patients will accessible and understandable information about the treatment and treatment options, including costs, proposed medications and risks involved. This should also include maintaining suitable evidence that patients are fully informed about their proposed treatment and have been a partner in the development of their treatment plans. Such evidence will be monitored through Laser Dentistry’s review processes.
We do expect patients to actively participate in decision and choices about their treatment and dental needs. For extensive treatment plans we also encourage a patient to involve their family or carer in the decision making process.
Laser Dentistry’s Informed Consent Process
The initial examination of a patient shall be considered ‘implied consent’ to that procedure based on the booking of an appointment, attendance, and the patient allowing the physical examination to occur. Any subsequent treatment shall require the patient to make an informed decision and consent to the treatment either verbally or in writing depending on the procedure and associated risks.
The dental practitioner who is to perform the treatment is responsible for the following informed consent process in line with the Dental Board of Australia’s Code of Conduct for Registered Health Practitioners.
A patient will be:
- Told (or receive information in some other way) what procedure is being proposed
- Told (or receive information in some other way) about the possible risks and benefits of the treatment in a form or manner they can understand.
- Informed of the risks and benefits of all options
- Afforded the opportunity to ask questions and receive answers that meet with their satisfaction
- Afforded sufficient time (if needed) to discuss the plan with their family, carer or advisor, especially for complex treatment plans
- Fully informed of and comprehending the cost of treatment
- Able to use the information provided to them to help make a decision they believe is in their best interest, in the absence of any coercion from the dental practitioner.
- Afforded the opportunity to communicate their decision to the dental practitioner either verbally or in writing
Laser Dentistry requires all dental practitioners to provide relevant documentation to the patient about the proposed treatment. The practice also requires dental practitioners to use their clinical judgment to determine where written consent is required from the patient and/or carer.
Dental practitioners shall take unto account additional considerations regarding guardianship arrangements for consent matters when dealing with vulnerable patients.
Sufficient detail is to be recorded in patient records to reflect the information provided to the patient is associated with their treatment options and the treatment plan, which is ultimately agreed upon.
A consent form for dental treatment is provided for treatment which is done against the advice of the dental practitioner. Patients are informed of the associated risks, informed of other treatment options and understand that treatment performed on the day is at their own risk.
Informed Consent Documentation
All informed consent documentation used by the practitioners at Laser Dentistry is reviewed at regular intervals and any updates to these documents are designed to improve patient understanding and the quality of care provided.
In accordance with the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988, The Dental Board of Australia’s Code of Conduct for Registered Health Practitioners and The Office of the Privacy Commissioner National Privacy Principles September 2001, a patient can expect that their personal health and other information will be collected, used, disclosed and stored in accordance with relevant laws about privacy, and that this information will remain confidential unless the law allows disclosure or the patient directs us to release the information.
- All information collected from the patient will be used for the purpose of providing treatment. Personal information such as name, address and health insurance details will be used for the purpose of addressing account to the patient, as well as processing payments and writing to the patient about any issues affecting their treatment.
- We may disclose a patient’s health information to other health care professionals, or require it form them if, in our judgment, it is necessary in the context of the patient’s treatment. In this event, disclosure of personal details will be minimized wherever possible.
- We may also use parts of a patient’s health information for research purposes, in study groups or at seminars as this may provide benefit to other patients. Should that happen, a patient’s personal identity would not be disclosed without their consent to do so.
- Patient history, treatment records, x-rays and any other material relevant to treatment will be kept and remain in a secure environment.
- Under the privacy law, patients have the rights to access dental information held about them by this practice. We welcome a patient to inspect or request copies of their treatment records at any time, or seek an explanation from the dentist. The following procedure has been developed to ensure that all requests for access are dealt with as efficiently as possible.
All requests for access (other than straight forward requests for copies of test or treatment results made to your dentist during your consultation) should be made in writing using (where available) a Request for Release of Dental Records Form. When A Request for Release of Dental Records Form is unable to be used, or when a scanner and or fax machine is not available to the patient for us to send a form to them, an e-mail request with details is used.
Requests for access will be acknowledged as soon or as quickly as possible from the receipt of the request
When access is refused, the patient will be advised in writing of the reasons for refusal. This will include any information about other means by which access may be facilitated.
A patient will not be permitted to remove any of the contents of their dental file from the practice, nor will they be permitted to alter or erase information contained in the dental record. However, if any of the information we have about the patient is inaccurate, a patient is encouraged to ask us to alter their records accordingly, in writing.
When a request for copies of dental records is received, a fee for postage (depending on the amount/ weight of records including moulds) may be required to be paid by the patient.
Generally, patients will be required to collect their records in person. However, in some limited circumstances patients may request in writing that records are to be provided to another person.
If a patient, or authorized person, is collecting a copy of the dental records, they may be required to provide identification. Where possible this should be photographic identification.
A patient’s evaluation of the care received at our practice is an extremely important form of feedback that provides valuable information about the services we provide. We encourage patients to provide both positive and negative feedback.
All staff will be provided with training and support that will assist them to identify, report and appropriately respond to complaints and other negative feedback. At Laser Dentistry we classify negative feedback into three ways:
- Enquiries: low level matters when an explanation or clarification of circumstances satisfies or resolves the patient’s concerns. No further risk or future action against the dental practitioner or practice is indicated.
- Notification: a complication or incident that has not caused the patient to make any complaint or claim, but has the potential to become a complaint or claim in the future. The dental practitioner involved will consult their professional association in these matters for guidance on handling the incident and whether notification to the professional indemnity insurer is required. The dental practitioner’s management of such complications or incident will the compatible with the practice’s open disclosure process.
- Complaint or Claim: matters in which a patient, or person on behalf of the patient, has made verbal or written complaint to the practitioner or to a statutory or legal body, regarding some element of treatment that has been provided by the dental practitioner to the patient. The dental practitioner involved will consult their professional association and their indemnity insurer prior to responding to the matter.
In the event of a patient complaint, all staff at Laser Dentistry should use the following complaint handling policy:
- Provide an open environment for a patient to share their dissatisfaction with us directly, whilst respecting the patients rights to have a concern heard by an independent third party such as the Dental Board of Australia or the Australian Dental Association NT Board (ADA NT)
- Resolve the complaint at the lowest level possible
A patient will be required to place serious complaints or requests for refunds in writing
- Notification to and advice sought from professional associations and professional indemnity insurers is encouraged.
Laser Dentistry’s Complaint Handling Process
Laser Dentistry will acknowledge and respond in a timely manner, either verbally or in writing, in respect to the seriousness of the complaint. We aim to respond to all complaints within 2 days of receiving the complaint or sooner if possible.
All complaints will be reported and reviewed by the dentist involved, the Principle dentist and the Practice Manager of Laser Dentistry. Laser Dentistry expects responsibility for the management of practitioner related complaints will lie with the dental practitioner about whom the complaint is related. The dental practitioner involved will respond to the complaint upon receipt of advice from their professional association and/or their insurer.
Complaints Review Process
Laser Dentistry is committed to continuous improvement in safety and quality. The Practice Manager and Principle Dentist will analyse data/feedback and take action where required. Any review actions/outcomes will be communicated to staff. In addition, incidents and analysis of incidents are reviewed by the Practice Manager and Principle Dentist.
Notifying patients about their rights
Laser Dentistry will always endeavor to advise patients about their rights and the way our practice operates. Part of the process of providing this information to patients and/or carers is providing access to out Charter of Patient Rights. If you have any further questions regarding the information which you have just read please feel free to contact the surgery to discuss your matters further.
Laser Dentistry expects all staff will assist patients to understand their patient rights and the way our practice operates. It is the responsibility of staff to proactively identify those patients who may be ‘at risk’ of not understanding their healthcare rights in accordance with Laser Dentistry’s ‘At Risk Patients and Escalation of Care Policy’, and to consult the dental practitioner if further guidance is needed.