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Introducing Midlevel Dentists in South Western Sydney PHN
  • 5

  • Course Code:
  • University: Kaplan Business School
  • Country: Australia

Resourcing Plan

Introduction

The health sector has, over the decades, undergone transformative evolution in response to the ever-changing needs and demands of global populations. Within this dynamic landscape, South Western Sydney's primary health network has identified an emergent opportunity: the incorporation of mid-level dental therapists into its cadre of healthcare professionals.

Historically unfamiliar to Australia's dental workforce, these dental therapists are poised to play a pivotal role in bridging gaps in oral healthcare provision, particularly for the more vulnerable segments of society.

This report aims to elucidate the nuances of this strategic move, delineating the potential benefits and challenges inherent in such a transition.

Given the profound implications this change might have on oral healthcare delivery, the objective herein is to present a comprehensive overview, thereby underscoring the significance of meticulous planning and stakeholder engagement in ensuring the initiative's success (Harrison et al., 2021).

Key Stakeholders and Personnel

Assigned Stakeholder Task Actions
General Dentists Provide Expertise - Share insights on current oral care practices.
- Collaborate on training modules for dental therapists.
Dental Hygienists Understand Patient Needs - Conduct patient surveys on oral care preferences.
- Offer feedback on therapy protocols.
Dental Assistants Address Operational Challenges - Identify logistical challenges in introducing dental therapists.
- Propose workflow adjustments.
Patients Feedback Provision - Participate in feedback sessions post-treatments.
- Share concerns and suggestions for improved care.
Policymakers Regulatory Framework Development - Draft guidelines for dental therapist operations.
- Ensure alignment with national health standards.
Healthcare Administrators Resource Orchestration and Strategy Planning - Allocate funds and resources for dental therapist integration.
- Oversee the transition and monitor its progress.

Table 1: Stakeholder identification
(Source: learner)

In the intricate tapestry of healthcare transformation, various stakeholders and personnel play indispensable roles, each contributing distinctively to the overarching vision. Central to the introduction of mid-level dental therapists in South Western Sydney's primary health network are the general dentists, who, having been at the forefront of oral care, provide invaluable insights and expertise.

Dental hygienists and dental assistants, with their hands-on experience, offer a granular understanding of patient needs and operational challenges (Karimbux et al., 2023). Patients, the ultimate beneficiaries, serve as the litmus test for the success of this integration. Policymakers, wielding legislative and regulatory influence, shape the contours within which this transition occurs.

Meanwhile, healthcare administrators, often operating behind the scenes, ensure seamless orchestration of resources and strategies (Ticku et al., 2021). Collectively, these stakeholders form the bedrock upon which the successful incorporation of dental therapists rests, underscoring the symbiotic interdependence that defines modern healthcare paradigms.

Project Schedule Charter

Timeframe Activity/Milestone Deliverables Anticipated Challenges Proposed Solutions
January Stakeholder Consultations Consultation summaries and feedback reports Stakeholder resistance to new changes Organise workshops to clarify the benefits and roles of dental therapists
February-April Development of Training Curricula Completed training modules Ensuring relevancy and comprehensiveness of training Collaborate with general dentists and hygienists to ensure practical and theoretical alignment
April Finalisation of Regulatory Guidelines Regulatory documentation Balancing stringent standards with practical applicability Engage policymakers in dialogue with hands-on dental professionals
May-June Recruitment of Dental Therapists Signed employment contracts Finding candidates with the right balance of experience and skills Collaborate with dental colleges and run targeted recruitment campaigns
July-September Comprehensive Training Sessions Training certifications Ensuring consistent and high-quality training across all therapists Implement a mix of hands-on training, theoretical sessions, and regular assessments
October-December Integration of Dental Therapists into the Network Integration reports and patient feedback Patient apprehensions and team integration challenges Launch communication campaigns; organize team-building activities and patient awareness sessions

Table 2: Project Schedule Charter
(Source: learner)

The ambitious endeavour of introducing mid-level dental therapists into South Western Sydney's primary health network necessitates a meticulously crafted timeline.

The project's commencement is earmarked for January, with the initial quarter dedicated to stakeholder consultations and the development of requisite training curricula. By mid-year, recruitment and comprehensive training sessions should be well underway, aiming for full integration of these dental therapists by year's end.

Key milestones include the finalisation of regulatory guidelines by April, the completion of recruitment by June, and the culmination of training modules by September. Each milestone is accompanied by specific deliverables, such as regulatory documentation, signed employment contracts, and training certifications.

Anticipated challenges encompass potential resistance from established dental professionals and apprehensions from patients (Augustsson et al., 2019). Solutions entail extensive communication campaigns to elucidate the competencies of dental therapists and ensure a harmonious integration into the existing healthcare fabric.

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Equipment and Major Resources

The integration of mid-level dental therapists into South Western Sydney's primary health network necessitates a meticulous evaluation of equipment and major resources. These provisions not only ensure the smooth transition of these professionals but also guarantee that the standard of oral care remains uncompromised.

To begin with, infrastructure requisites are paramount. Dedicated spaces within existing facilities may need modifications to cater to the specialised services dental therapists will offer. This might include additional consultation rooms, treatment areas, and perhaps even bespoke spaces designed for specific procedures they are licensed to perform (da Costa et al., 2020).

Training facilities stand as another cornerstone. While some dental therapists may arrive with a foundational skill set, their orientation to the network's protocols demands state-of-the-art training rooms, equipped with the latest dental apparatus, to foster hands-on learning.

Additionally, these facilities should house advanced simulation equipment and digital platforms to facilitate theoretical instruction and real-time feedback (Li et al., 2021). In terms of tools and equipment bespoke to dental therapists, there's a need to invest in specific dental instruments that align with their scope of practice.

This encompasses tools for preventive care, basic restorative procedures, and minor oral surgeries. Given their distinct role, it's imperative to ensure that the tools are both cutting-edge and ergonomically designed, promoting efficiency and patient comfort (Mathison & Pepper, 2023).

Lastly, the digital age mandates the integration of robust IT systems. A comprehensive software suite that facilitates appointment scheduling, maintaining patient records, and inter-departmental communication is essential (Sharma et al., 2021).

Such systems not only streamline operations but also enhance the patient experience, offering them portals to book appointments, access their treatment histories, and communicate concerns.

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Funding

The integration of mid-level dental therapists into South Western Sydney's primary health network demands a comprehensive financial blueprint. Preliminary budget estimations project significant outlay, driven by multifarious facets of this ambitious endeavour.

The cost breakdown elucidates substantial allocations for hiring – encompassing recruitment drives, contractual negotiations, and initial onboarding. Training, another pivotal segment, necessitates investment in both facilities and specialised educators.

Equipment acquisition, from advanced dental tools to cutting-edge IT systems, represents another major expenditure (Mangwanya, 2022). Furthermore, infrastructural modifications, vital for seamlessly accommodating these new professionals, add to the financial portfolio.

As for sourcing these funds, a multipronged approach is envisaged. Government grants, given the public health implications of the project, are a plausible avenue.

Additionally, private investments and strategic partnerships with dental institutes or equipment manufacturers could serve as valuable financial catalysts, underpinning the successful realisation of this initiative.

Communication Plan

Stakeholders Communication Method Target Audience Reason for Communication Frequency
Dental Professionals Workshops & Seminars Dentists, Hygienists, Assistants Emphasise complementarity of dental therapists Monthly
Webinars Dental Professionals at large Updates and feedback sessions Bi-monthly
Policymakers Webinars Health policymakers Highlight public health benefits and cost efficiencies Quarterly
General Public & Patients Pamphlets Clinic visitors, patients Introduce dental therapists and their expertise Constant presence, refreshed quarterly
Healthcare Administrators Workshops Clinic managers, administrators Discuss logistical and operational details of integration Monthly

Table 3: Communication Plan
(Source: learner)

Receiving Feedback

A pivotal component of the integration process for mid-level dental therapists into South Western Sydney's primary health network is the collection and assimilation of feedback. Varied mechanisms have been earmarked for this purpose. Surveys, with their structured formats, offer quantifiable insights from a broad spectrum of stakeholders.

Focus groups, on the other hand, provide qualitative depths, facilitating nuanced discussions amongst specific stakeholder groups. One-on-one interviews, particularly with key personnel, yield detailed perspectives on the intricacies of the integration.

The solicitation of feedback is not a mere procedural step. In the realm of change management, it serves as the linchpin, highlighting potential areas of improvement, and more crucially, offering stakeholders a voice in the transition, thereby fostering ownership and commitment (Piatnychuk et al., 2022).

The timeline for this feedback initiative envisages monthly collections in the initial six months post-integration, followed by a comprehensive analysis to inform subsequent phases of the project.

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Management Of Resistance

The introduction of mid-level dental therapists into South Western Sydney's primary health network, while promising, may not be met with universal enthusiasm. Anticipated resistance could emanate from established dental professionals, potentially perceiving these therapists as a dilution of their professional domain (Errida & Lotfi, 2021).

Patients, too, might harbour reservations, stemming from unfamiliarity with this new cadre of practitioners. To navigate these waters of scepticism, strategic interventions are paramount. A robust dialogue, initiated early, offers clarity, dispelling myths and misconceptions.

Tailored training sessions, particularly for dental professionals, can elucidate the complementary nature of dental therapists, highlighting their specific roles and boundaries. Public awareness campaigns, spotlighting the rigorous training and expertise of these therapists, can assuage patient apprehensions.

Conclusion

The advent of mid-level dental therapists within South Western Sydney's primary health network marks a seminal juncture in the annals of oral healthcare delivery. This initiative, underpinned by the dual imperatives of enhanced accessibility and optimised service quality, holds the promise of revolutionising the dental landscape in the region.

However, as this discourse has elucidated, the road to realising this vision is replete with intricacies. It mandates meticulous planning, undergirded by a proactive and inclusive stakeholder engagement strategy.

The collective wisdom and commitment of all involved parties – from policymakers and dental professionals to the patients themselves – are indispensable. In summation, while the introduction of dental therapists heralds a new era, its fruition necessitates a unified, concerted effort.

The clarion call, thus, is for all stakeholders to coalesce, ensuring the seamless and successful implementation of this transformative endeavour.

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References

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da Costa, C. B., Peralta, F. D. S., & Ferreira de Mello, A. L. S. (2020). How has teledentistry been applied in public dental health services? An integrative review. Telemedicine and e-Health, 26(7), 945-954. http://clinicaallcare.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/How-Has-Teledentistry-Been-Applied-in-Public-Dental-Health-Services-An-Integrative-Review.pdf 
Errida, A., & Lotfi, B. (2021). The determinants of organizational change management success: Literature review and case study. International Journal of Engineering Business Management, 13, 18479790211016273. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/18479790211016273 
Harrison, R., Fischer, S., Walpola, R. L., Chauhan, A., Babalola, T., Mears, S., & Le-Dao, H. (2021). Where do models for change management, improvement and implementation meet? A systematic review of the applications of change management models in healthcare. Journal of healthcare leadership, 85-108. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.2147/JHL.S289176
Karimbux, N., T JOHN, M. I. K. E., Stern, A., T MAZANEC, M. O. R. G. A. N., D'AMOUR, A. N. D. R. E. W., Courtemanche, J., & Rabson, B. (2023). Measuring patient experience of oral health care: A call to action. Journal of Evidence-Based Dental Practice, 23(1), 101788. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1532338222001142 
Li, Y., Ye, H., Ye, F., Liu, Y., Lv, L., Zhang, P., ... & Zhou, Y. (2021). The current situation and future prospects of simulators in dental education. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23(4), e23635. https://www.jmir.org/2021/4/e23635/ 
Mangwanya, M. (2022). The performance based budgeting as a catalyst for effective delivery of primary health care. International Journal of Research in Business and Social Science (2147-4478), 11(1), 170-177. https://www.ssbfnet.com/ojs/index.php/ijrbs/article/download/1568/1148 
Mathison, M., & Pepper, T. (2023). Local anesthesia techniques in dentistry and oral surgery. In StatPearls [Internet]. StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK580480/ 
Piatnychuk, I., Boryshkevych, I., Tomashevska, A., Hryhoruk, I., & Sala, D. (2022). Online Tools in Providing Feedback in Management. Journal of Vasyl Stefanyk Precarpathian National University, 9(3), 6-17. https://scijournals.pnu.edu.ua/index.php/jpnu/article/view/6326 
Sharma, H., Suprabha, B. S., & Rao, A. (2021). Teledentistry and its applications in paediatric dentistry: A literature review. pediatric dental journal, 31(3), 203-215. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S091723942100046X 
Ticku, S., Barrow, J., Fuccillo, R., & Mcdonough, J. E. (2021). Oral health stakeholders: a time for alignment and action. The Milbank Quarterly, 99(4), 882. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8718589/ 

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