Use of electronic medical records, or EMRs, continues to grow in optometrists’ offices. That’s a good thing.
My office has utilized EMRs for 10 years, and the improvement to our office efficiency has been remarkable. For example, we no longer need to decipher handwritten notes, and we have a clear record of a patient’s visit for office staff to reference. EMRs help with diagnosis, as certain entries will trigger additional testing and questions. This ensures a thorough exam for each patient.
During audits, our EMRs reflect the quality of care we provide. For example, the records show that we have been thorough in our quality of medical/vision care. These include quality of care measures as part of Medicare’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System, or MIPS. These include documentation about medications being used, and education about nutrition, physical activity and tobacco cessation.
Not only have EMRs helped us provide the best possible care to our patients, but they also provide benefits on the business side of our practice as well. Using EMRs, we can review quarterly and yearly results of dispensing of glasses and contact lenses. We also use them to improve the speed of ordering and delivery, which keeps patients happy and returning to us for their vision-correction needs.
In addition, we manage patient communications through this system as well, which allows us to send automatic appointment reminders and track and respond to any messages.
The doctor-patient relationship has improved, as patients think of us as a state-of-the-art practice that keeps up with all clinical care guidelines. EMRs have made scheduling testing and exam time more efficient, further improving our practice capabilities and the quality of care our patients receive.
My practice serves a large geographical area, with patients from different states. So, communications with patients about the importance of their vision health and efficiency with their time is a high priority for our office, especially since some of our patients travel longer distances for a visit.
I’ve been a supporter of Think About Your Eyes since its inception, as is the Wyoming State Optometric Association, of which I am a past president. We work hard in our office to educate patients about the importance of vision health. The advertising and awareness from Think About Your Eyes amplifies those efforts and benefits both our profession and our patients.
Sue E. Lowe OD, FCOVD, FAAO, is a member and past president of the Wyoming Optometric Association and among the 18,000 practices listed on the Think About Your Eyes online locator. First Vision Media Group supports Think About Your Eyes as a media partner.