Over a year ago, I decided to pursue having our dental sleep medicine facility accredited by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM). Our clinic focuses on the management of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea through the use of oral appliance therapy, which has been found to be an effective alternative treatment for patients who prefer it to CPAP. When I first downloaded the brochure describing the requirements from the AADSM website, the process seemed quite tedious and overwhelming. Quite frankly, it would have been very easy to dismiss the project right there and then due to the work required, much of which seemed obsessive and compulsive in nature. But, as an office, we decided to go through with it.
As per the AADSM…
“The accreditation program was developed to define excellence in dental sleep medicine,”
“Details expectations for the proficiency of a facility’s dental director and staff; practice of policies and procedures to oversee the acceptance, documentation and billing of patients; and professionalism of consumer care, follow-up, service and safety,”
“Physicians and dentists can work together to provide effective, alternative treatment options for sleep apnea patients.”
Over a several month period, we created the required office manual and put in place all of the necessary protocols to satisfy the accreditation standards. However, due to the requirement to demonstrate long-term follow-up and the associated reporting, it took over a year to actually qualify for full accreditation, which we were granted this fall; the first dental facility in Canada to be accredited by the AADSM.
I have been involved in Dental Sleep Medicine for almost 20 years. Throughout this period, I have always endeavoured to follow the AADSM guidelines. However, going through this exercise has demonstrated to me that shooting from the hip does not result in the same outcome as taking the time to aim properly and with purpose. I can honestly say that meeting the requirements for facility accreditation has upped my game. The practice protocols that I have had to put in place in order to fulfill and maintain the accreditation requirements have simply made me a more consistent and thorough clinician, with a heavy emphasis on consistent. I would highly recommend this exercise for clinicians that want to practice dental sleep medicine at the highest level possible.
AADSM Facility Accreditation: Why Bother? Because it will simply make you a better clinician!
John Viviano DDS D ABDSM