A new free-to-use fallow time calculator (FTC) has been launched to help dental practices optimise productivity following investment from Wesleyan and Practice Plan.
Endorsed by the Chief Dental Officer for England, the industry-leading tool will enable dental professionals to determine the exact fallow period necessary following an Aerosol Generating Procedure (AGP) to reduce the risk of exposure to infection.
Since the coronavirus pandemic, Public Heath England guidance recommends a fallow period of 60 minutes following AGP treatment.
However, the necessary fallow time can vary significantly depending on the type and length of procedure, and any mitigating measures such as the use of high-volume suction and rubber dam, along with the quality of a practice's air ventilation system.
Using practice-specific data, the new tool will allow practices to accurately calculate the required fallow time in order to maximise practice performance levels while complying with the latest compliance.
A detailed audit trail around fallow calculations can be easily inputted into a patient's clinical records to justify and record factors that allow reduction of fallow time.
Michael Copeland, senior area manager at Wesleyan, believes the new calculator is the most sensible and pragmatic approach to maximising patient care in a safe environment.
He said: "Current recommended fallow times have significantly reduced operational capacity. This barrier to care has been widely acknowledged as a serious issue and the reduction of fallow times by application of mitigation measures has emerged as a key priority.
"By accurately determining how long a treatment room should be left fallow following the use of an AGP, based on a practice's individual circumstances, dental professionals will be able to plan appointments more efficiently and tend to the care of more patients on a daily basis.
"The health and safety of patients has been a number one priority since practices reopened their doors in June. However, it's important that practices make the most of the working day, within safe limits, so that they deliver a high level of care for all patients. The new fallow calculator helps them do just that.
"Not only does the calculator maximise the delivery of routine care, but it also allows practice owners to effectively plan future appointments, giving them significant oversight of their cashflow.
"Understanding the downtime of surgery rooms on a daily basis can help to paint a picture of a practice's income on a weekly and monthly basis - something that is proving vital during these current times."
Built by digital consent platform Flynotes, the new tool complements the COVID-19 guidance published by the Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP) and the College of General Dentistry (CGDent), the recent update of which incorporates the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) recommendations on fallow time.
The tool is regularly updated in line with the latest government advice.