The Benefit of Implementing Planned Time-Outs

By William J. Moorhead, D.M.D.

To some people, “time-out” implies “sporting event.” To others, it means “parenting strategy.”

Time-outs have been used in medicine for several years. In surgery with the surgical team, time-outs verify such areas as:

  • Patient’s name
  • Date of birth
  • Consent form had been signed
  • Drug allergies
  • The kind of surgery being performed

In our practice, we use time-outs as a planned pause before the start of treatment to focus on safety and patient communication.

Planned Time-Outs in Dentistry
Fortunately, in dentistry we don’t often deal with the life-or-death issues that hospitals face. But mistakes cost us time, add to our stress and sometimes cause us to achieve less-than-desired results.

That’s where the time-out comes in.

The most natural time for a time-out for our procedures is before someone picks up a needle for an injection, including local anesthesia or the start of an IV sedation.

Here’s an example of the time-out I recommend before local anesthesia.

Talk over time-outs at your next team training session. And if you come see my presentation at the Summit, you will learn more reasons why time-outs are a great tool to implement in your practice. Plus, I would love to hear your ideas on this topic.

If you haven’t already registered for the Summit, I am pleased to offer you some incentive to do it today. Here’s $200 off your registration!  Just enter code BLOG when you register.

I can’t wait to see you in November at the Summit in Orlando.

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