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SSgt. Matthew Aldridge selected as Trusted Care Hero after identifying risk mitigation for prevention of harm

Falls Church, Va. -- “Every Airman, every day, a problem solver.” SSgt. Matthew Aldridge, Air Force Reserve Command, exemplified this Trusted Care guiding principle when he recommended a dental risk mitigation practice, which resulted in implementation of new policy. 

Aldridge, a dental technician, remained vigilant of his work environment, closely observing daily operations –committed to understanding processes to best support safe health care delivery. It was during a routine unit training assembly, that an idea was sparked. 

Aldridge identified an area where risk mitigation could prevent harm and exercised the Trusted Care duty to speak up. Along with a team, Aldridge advocated the use of disposable diagnostic dental instruments. This process change would save time, reduce risk and improve patient care. The suggestion --made through lessons learned-- led to new AFRC policy, 25 Aug, 15, requiring all standalone AFRC bases to use disposable dental instruments. 

The disposable dental instruments initiative saved eight hours of work time for patient care, without increasing costs to the unit. Disposable packages are easily accessible and eliminate the risk associated with sterilization of reusable equipment.  

Aldridge’s vigilance and commitment to duty illustrate adherence to the guiding principles of Trusted Care, in an effort to further continuous process improvement and deliver high quality care. 

 Aldridge is based out of 507th Medical Squadron, Tinker AFB, Okla.