Many optometric practices have already incorporated electronic medical records (EMR) systems into their practices. They are benefiting from the digital documentation of medical history and care, the portability and accessibility, the efficiency of record keeping and the smaller footprint with elimination of paper charts in their offices. In addition to this, many are also benefiting from other uses of EMRs, which can include integrated practice management software (PMS)- making this combination an excellent way to not only document and record exams, but to become more effective in business.
Are you using your current EMR software exclusively for patient records? Many of the tools mentioned are available in all the current optometry EMR programs.
When we think of utilizing EMR in our practices, we usually think of the benefits in the exam room. However, EMR can be useful in all parts of our practices, including our optical. Software such as Crystal® PM has an added inventory management function. By using a barcode scanner and Frames Data®, you can have the frame purchase price, blue book price and sale price available to your optical staff. By tracking inventory, you can effectively measure which frames are selling and be able to restock your best sellers quickly. Crystal® PM also allows you to track lab orders, cutting down on staff time.
RevolutionEHR® also pulls inventory data from Frames Data®, and auto-populates sizes and colors for every frame carried in an office. This cuts down both on manual data entry, and having staff spend time searching for colors and sizes that frames are available in for patients.
Being able to generate a report quickly and track best and worse sellers, length of time in inventory and tracking frame count on your board is a great way to maximize profitability in the optical with minimal time and effort.
Long gone are the days of waiting on hold for pharmacy staff to call a prescription in for a patient. Now, with the click of a button (or two), prescriptions can quickly be sent to pharmacies electronically through most EMR systems. This is much quicker and uses less staff time. It also helps to eliminate errors and
mistakes as there is a permanent record of the prescription.
Thinking about adding a new service or diagnostic tool to your practice, but unsure if you have the patient flow to make the investment? EMR systems such as RevolutionEHR® allow practices to generate patient lists based on various diagnoses. This can help determine the volume of patients seems with specific conditions of pathologies and give OD’s data to determine what additional services may be financially beneficial in their practices.
Many OD’s are unaware of scheduling capabilities integrated into their EMR systems. MaximEyes® gives patients real time online scheduling capabilities via a secure patient portal. Patients can also upload insurance cards and licenses for seamless, touch-free data collection. Staff can optimize scheduling by keeping track of cancelled, rescheduled and no-show appointments, and schedules can be color coded to accommodate multiple doctors, exam rooms, types of appointments, and days of the week.
Did you know some EMR practice management software allows you to submit claims directly? Providers using MaximEyes® can submit authorizations and claims to VSP® directly, and can also submit VSP® lab orders. Opticians can quickly calculate patient responsibilities and reconcile and post VSP payments. Crystal® PM also features customizable invoices, auto-completed CMS 1500/ HCFA 1500 formers, employee tracking items and insurance fee schedules.
Over the past few months, optometry practices have quickly embraced telehealth in their offices. This has usually meant using an additional tool to communicate with patients. Some EMR’s, including EyefinityEHR® now provide telehealth platforms as part of their suite of offerings. Through EyefinityEHR®’s telehealth service, providers can provide care for consultations and visits, and easily document and code virtual patient visits.
Introducing a new multifocal contact lens to your office? Many EMR programs have the capability for data mining- you can select current presbyopic contact lens wearers, and send an email, text or postcard to these patients directly.
Adding a new dry eye treatment in office? EMRs often have the capability to search for specific codes so you can target these patients to offer these services.
Many offices introducing myopia management have found direct marketing through their EMR software to be a great way to introduce this new service. Patients can be selected based on their age and prescription, and information sent directly.
This focused marketing strategy allows practices to be selective in who they are sending alerts to, and make sure the message does not get lost in the noise of too much communication. This personalized touch for patients can be a way to significantly boost revenue to drive your targeted patients into your office.
No More Lost To Recall
In addition to being able to schedule patients, many of these systems take appointments to the next level. For example, Maximeyes® has a find tool that allows offices to find patients who have not been in for a visit in the past year, and are not scheduled currently. Staff can pull reports and call these patients to fill open exam spots and increase revenue in slower periods.
Transitioning from paper charts to EMR is a great way to improve efficiency in the exam room and allow us to access patient records from anywhere. We often overlook other ways our EMR software can help our practices be more profitable, improve patient communication, and overall make our offices more efficient and successful.
Jennifer Stewart, OD is a partner at Norwalk Eye Care, a 2018 Coopervision Best Practices Award Winner. She is also the Chief Vision Officer at Performance 20/20, a sports and performance vision training facility in Stamford, Conn. She can be contacted at email@example.com.