Future Jobs in Dentistry

Future Jobs in Dentistry

The perfect storm is brewing in dentistry, which we predict will result in more specialized roles on the dental team. What does that mean? The duties and responsibilities of Compliance and Safety Officers will expand and become more closely defined. You may have a designated OSHA or Safety Coordinator for your practice, but how formal is that role? How much time is allotted for the individual to fulfill that role? Has she/he received bona fide compliance education beyond taking a CE course or browsing training websites?

Why is this storm brewing?

Factor #1 is the growing complexity and number of laws and regulations at the state and federal level. Thriving practices can barely keep up with their full schedules and practices that are just surviving are not tuned into the regulatory changes. This is compounded by the adoption of medical coding and new medical devices that expose a practice to additional regulatory requirements such as those issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

Factor #2 is employee turnover. According to Compdata’s 2015 Compensation Data Healthcare survey the average total turnover rate reported for healthcare employers was 19.2 percent. That’s up from 17.7 percent from 2014. Employee turnover negatively effects morale, the ability to fulfill daily functions and maintain the team’s knowledge base. In smaller setting such as a dental practice the effects can also impact the ability to sustain compliance and/or safety.

Factor #3: most dental professionals are not skilled in understanding the requirements of all the applicable laws. For example, many times staff is unable to articulate the difference between the Center for Disease Control and OSHA’s Bloodborne Pathogens Standard — or the practice relies on canned training or a manual sitting on a shelf that many times is not customized and seldom referred to.

Also, consider the fact that membership in the Healthcare Compliance Association (HCCA) is at an all-time high. HCCA is an association of healthcare compliance professionals, primarily non-dental professionals. Corporate and large dental group practices post their job openings for Compliance Officers and Risk Managers on the HCCA or other medical-related job boards. Employers are seeking to fill these positions, yet this implies there aren’t enough qualified dental professionals to meet the needs.

What’s the outcome when we brew these all together? Dentistry has a talent gap when it comes to qualified compliance experts.

Stay tuned for the next article in this series that will address these and other trends impacting compliance and dentistry. I welcome your views and experiences as well.