Electronic health records have made inputting and accessing patient data much easier.
Eyecare practitioners today gather more data than we have in years past. Advances in glaucoma testing, retinal photography, visual field testing, tear chemistry and corneal health have allowed us to diagnose diseases earlier and better manage ocular disorders.
Acquiring this data has gotten easier, but some questions arise: How do you store this information? How can you access it quickly? If you’re not in the office, are you still able to see this information?
With the advent of electronic medical records (EMRs) and electronic health records (EHRs), inputting and accessing this data has become much easier. One limitation of paper charts has been the inability to access patient information from outside the office. With EHR, and information being stored in the cloud, you can now access patient records, medical history and other information from anywhere.
Communication with other healthcare practitioners has also become much more streamlined and efficient. Most EHRs have referral and co-management templates that you can customize and send electronically.
Many of the top EHRs in optometry also include e-prescription software, patient management tools, the ability to monitor and track IOP values over time, and integration and storage of images and data from other equipment, such as digital cameras and visual field analyzers. Integration with other diagnostic equip-ment is extremely important for streamlining exams and data entry so that you can import and store it directly in the EHR instead of manually entering information.
Eyefinity EHR is a cloud-based system with adaptive technology that learns which tests and procedures each doctor does for different diagnoses. This makes data entry extremely simple and efficient for the OD or scribe, saving time in the exam room. You can also create exam protocols, which allow you to quickly docu-ment common procedures.
Eyefinity EHR users can access infor-mation from any computer or with the Eyefinity EHR app on an iPad, iPhone, or Apple Watch.
ExamWRITER is one of the first EHRs and still one of the most widely used in the optometric industry. Users can automatically generate co-management reports, chart and access IOPs and confirm proper billing levels. OfficeMate can also integrate with a number of diagnostic equipment interfaces, including Heidelberg Spectralis OCT, Humphrey, Konan Specular Microscopes, Marco, Nidek, Oculus, Optos, Optovue, Reichert, Top-con and Zeiss, with more integrations in development.
RevolutionEHR simplifies documentation with flexible data entry, customizable exam templates, document and image management, automated referral letters, patient education tools, access to histori-cal exam data, e-prescribing, and patient engagement and recall.
Crystal Practice Management Software’s EHR, Crystal PM, features customizable records, auto history (allowing the ECP to see all previous patient data in a given field), and free e-prescribing. Crystal PM also integrates with numerous pieces of equipment, making data acquisition, analysis and storage efficient. Currently, this software integrates with equipment from Canon USA, Essilor of America, Eyelogic Systems, Carl Zeiss Meditec, Huvitz Co., Reichert Instruments, Tomey USA, Top-con Medical Systems, as well as others.
MaximEyes EHR from First Insight Corp. lets you completely customize and modify exam fields. It also has more than 30 exam templates. Problem-oriented assessment/plans and disease-specific templates can be developed for patients with glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration and other retinal and corneal diseases. This saves time and improves flow and information storage.
Customized letters and reports are available for co-management, as well as treatment summary forms for patient education. There are touch-screen capa-bilities for mouse-free data entry with compatible monitor use.
MaximEyes integrates with a number of devices from both Zeiss and Canon, including instruments from Humphrey, Cirrus, and different autorefractors and keratometers.
EyeClinic Imaging, also from First Insight, is a cloud-based image-management system that consolidates diagnostic data, images and reports from fundus cameras, visual field analyzers and optical coherence tomographers. It integrates with any EHR system, or it can be used as a standalone system. The information is easily accessible 24/7 from any computer or mobile device.
As we continue to capture and integrate more data, the question becomes how dowe access and manage this information, and how does that translate to patient care.
Many efficient offices use scribes, who gather patient information and input that information into the EHR that is being used. The ECP can then review the chart in the room in real time, or access the patient chart at another station before seeing the patient. The scribe becomes extremely efficient at data entry, leaving the ECP more time for patient education and communication. And, by reviewing the chart before entering the exam room, the ECP can begin to formulate a plan.
In other offices, the doctor inputs all the information and usually determines and enters the treatment plan while with the patient. This system, similar to paper charts, can be less efficient but involves less staff.
In our office, our technician does pre-testing and collects all of the pertinent data. He or she takes a basic history on the patient, including the chief complaint, medications, allergies, and any glasses or contact lenses the patient is wearing. The tech also acts as a scribe, entering all data during the exam.
By having a scribe in the room, I never look at the EHR or type. Instead, I focus all my attention on the patient. I review the records after the exam, making sure all findings are documented correctly, and then send the charges and codes to my billing team, optical information to my opticians and any necessary prescriptions to pharmacies. I also take care of any referrals after the exam, using referral and co-management templates.
We have found this system to be extremely efficient, and having two scribes has allowed us to improve patient care.
Electronic health records can make an ECP’s office more efficient by streamlining care and data entry. They also allow ECPs to view patient records remotely, whether it is at another workstation in the office or even at home.
Jennifer L. Stewart, OD, is a partner at Norwalk Eye Care, in Norwalk, CT. She is also the co-founder and chief optometric officer at Perfor-mance 20/20, a sports and perfor-mance vision clinic in Stamford, CT.
WHERE TO FIND IT:
Crystal Practice Management Software
800.308.7169 | CrystalPM.com
877.448.0707 | Eyefinity.com
800.920.1940 | First-Insight.com
877.738.3471 x1 | www.RevolutionEHR.com