Oral Cancer Screening in Your Practice
May 14, 2024 at 4:00 AM
by Kathleen Bokrossy
<span style="color:rgba(178, 150, 199, 1)"><strong>Oral Cancer Screening in Your Practice</strong></span>

We had an incredible event on Friday with Jo-Anne Jones' Experiential Oral/Oropharyngeal Cancer Screening Workshop.

So much has changed over the years with respect to Oral Cancer, in the research, demographics and the societal trends, that it is essential for us to stay current with the latest advancements, communications and knowledge for prevention and screening.

We need to ensure that we are consistently delivering exceptional care.

We need to ensure that we are up-to-date with the stats and are comfortable having the HPV conversation with our clients and patients.

There was a very engaged group of dental hygienists with us on Friday. Some had mentioned they wished their team would have come with them. How do you go back to practice all excited to implement a thorough intraoral and extraoral examination consistently when so many others might be missing the mark and not being as thorough or perhaps not performing such an essential service to their clients?

Consistency is so important in any business and is the cornerstone of excellence in our profession.

Consistency ensures that every patient receives the same high standard of care, regardless of when they visit your practice or which member of your team they interact with. From hygiene appointments to more complex treatments, patients expect reliability and professionalism at every touchpoint. Consistent protocols and procedures help streamline workflows, minimize errors, and deliver a seamless patient experience from start to finish.

People notice when one performs exceptional care versus another who may be in a rush or have a focus on something else that may be important to them.

This is why going through the experience with your team is so important. When you have a solid team, who all know and implement the key elements of a protocol, you stand out from the crowd. It ignites your team when you work with a vision, synergistically.

Oral/Oropharyngeal Cancer Screening could be one of the topics that you bring up in your practice. Meet together as a group and work on each other. Are you consistent with your screenings? Are you making sure that your patients are thoroughly screened? Is your communication and messaging flowing from clinician to clinician? It shouldn't be a surprise when you provide a thorough oral cancer screening. We shouldn't hear "I have never had this done so thoroughly before." Or "I have not had this done before."

When patients know to expect an Oral Cancer Screening (and one that has quite changed from when most of us went to school) and don't receive it, they will notice and wonder why they aren't receiving it. They will notice that they are missing out on something and this will reflect negatively on the practice. We have all been in a situation where we have received exceptional service once, twice, maybe three times and then the next time, something has changed. We leave disappointed and perhaps never return.

Not only is consistency so important to deliver optimal care; it also serves as a powerful form of marketing that doesn't cost anything extra. When you provide consistent care, you make your patients happy. Happy patients come back and happy patients share their experience and refer!

See below for a template on the patient experience and go through this with your team. Perhaps start with your Oral Cancer Screening protocol. What does this look like? Have you updated your Intraoral and Extraoral Cancer Screening over the last 5 years? Are you referring your patients for the HPV Vaccination? Are you using an Oral Cancer Screening Device, like VelScope? Is your team comfortable having the HPV discussion with your patients? What does your protocol look like and how might you improve?

Our next Ultimate Experiential Oral/Oropharyngeal Cancer Screening Workshop is happening on Friday, November 8th, 2024 at rdhu. If you would like to join us, please click here to register. If you are from out of town, we have a few amazing courses set up for the weekend so you may want to make this a Professional Development weekend for yourself and your team if they would like to come with you. On the Saturday, November 9th is our next "The Bacteria Party: Who's on Your Guest List?" from 9am - 1pm. Stay and have lunch with us and join me for a hands-on Sharpening and Instrumentation Session, Sharpen Your Skills, from 2pm - 5pm! Sounds like a great opportunity for our in-town and out-of-town members! Click here to register for all 3 with one click (and save an additional $10)!

Thank you for your support and for reading!

Have a great week!


Kathleen Bokrossy, RDH ~ President

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