Implementing EHR, or interested in making it more efficient for you? Here’s how it really works.
According to a recent AOA survey, 66% of ODs in the U.S. were using EHR in 2015, and over 24,000 optometrists have received meaningful use (MU) incentive payments totaling more than $286 million.
|Appointment requests, digital communications, and
more are at your fingertips with Solutionreach.
Many ODs have yet to make the leap and embrace modern technology in their practices. The obstacles are numerous, the return on investment is unclear, and the benefits don’t seem to outnumber the headaches. Still, the march toward EHR adoption is inevitable.
If you are considering purchasing EHR and practice management (PM) software, you will find the marketplace has an abundance of great solutions. But, choose wisely and avoid making your choice on price alone. Take advantage of online demos or visit a colleague who has successfully implemented the software you are considering so you can see it in action. Be sure it is fully capable of handling current and future requirements for PQRS, MU, and ICD-10.
To incorporate EHR technology without sacrificing efficiency and quality, you must first leverage your entire team. Optometrists must cast a positive vision for why the practice must evolve, then trust the staff to learn and implement digital office tools. Be optimistic and hire competent staff and/or third-party experts to make it happen. For example, in my office, scribes are now a necessity. We find that a well-trained scribe helps maintain a healthy patient volume and facilitates an effective hand off to our optical team. As ICD-10 takes over, practices using scribes will be more prepared to handle the demands of a highly detailed health record that reflects accurate CPT and ICD codes.
SCAN OLD RECORDS
While some of us are seeking a better software solution, others are happily still printing a paper copy of the exam form. If you are still printing, your attachment to paper charts is holding you back. New cloud-based platforms like Eyefinity are proving to be reliable alternatives to local server-based systems. Redundant backup solutions will prevent loss of data. Scan your old records and your staff will be much more productive with less paper to keep up with.
|Eyefinity’s cloud-based platform allows for a safe and secure way
to manage patients’ data.
To make life easier, explore third-party services that integrate with your EHR software. Some diagnostic equipment can be interfaced with EHR. Also, tools like CooperVision’s WebSystem3 and Solutionreach allow patients to interact with your office online and let you manage virtually all communication to the patient. This includes texting and emailing patients to remind them of upcoming appointments or to let them know their glasses are ready.
Still not sold on EHR? Consider this: a representative from your most popular insurance provider stops by for a visit (5% to 10% of meaningful use recipients are audited). They have full access to your records and after an audit, can ask for you to return lots of money. Your records are your best and only defense. Having a robust, compliant medical record could have a tremendous return on investment with surviving just one audit.
Mathis Dixon is in private practice in Perry, GA.
WHERE TO FIND IT:
Eyefinity/OfficeMate •877-448-0707 •eyefinity.com
Solutionreach •866-605-6867 •solutionreach.com
WebSystem3 •(866) 575-3937 •websystem3.com