I was at my optometrist the other day—someone I’ve been going to for years. She’s moving her office to more modern facilities a few blocks away and is excited about the change. And yes, that includes making the switch to electronic health records (EHR). While she admits it will be a tough transition, she knows in the long run it will lead to more efficiency.
These digital versions of the paper chart allow physicians to track data over time, easily identify which patients are due for preventive screenings or checkups, monitor and improve overall quality of care within the practice, and check how patients are doing on certain parameters.
Best of all: EHRs are built to share information with other healthcare providers so everyone involved in the patient’s care is engaged and up-to-date. This team approach helps each and every specialist and also empowers the patient by giving him information on treatment follow-up and protocol, as well as offering a detailed record of recent tests.
This is important information for the eyecare professional (ECP). After all, knowing the patient’s list of medications and family history or some other nugget of information the patient can’t remember, is crucial towards offering the best treatment. Read about what you need to know in The ABCs of EMRs & EHRs for ECPs, a new industry white paper sponsored by Essilor of America, Inc. and VisionWeb (available at TotallyOptical.com). See “The EHR Journey: What You Need to Know,” for a more personal first-hand account of making the EHR switch.
For more of what your colleagues are thinking about in the upcoming year, see “Docs Speak Out” survey. At press time, Obamacare remained a top concern. Many ECPs are also focused on setting practice goals. Among them: increasing optical sales (52%); purchasing new equipment (40%); taking more vacation time (37%); remodeling (22%); and bringing in new frame lines (7%).
As 2014 approaches, it’s a good time for all of us to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. Continue to look to us for information on topics that pertain to running an independent practice, as well as the latest products for your office.
JEANNE MUCHNICK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF