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How to Maintain HIPAA Compliance with Your Optometry Software

In a busy practice, your biggest concern is providing the best possible care for your patients. And, with all the craziness of your daily routine, things like HIPAA compliance can sometimes get ignored. Keeping your staff up to date with HIPAA training and maintaining compliance with your optometry software is a critical part of practice security.

But really, HIPAA compliance has a lot of fine lines and can get pretty confusing. So today we want to clear up the answers to three common HIPAA questions with help from the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Secrets to Becoming a Paper Free Practice with Optometry Software

These days, there aren't many processes that are left done on paper - just about anything can be done online. When paper is involved it usually creates more hassle to get the job done. It's even true in your eyecare practice.

Paper processes can have a big effect on the efficiency of your workflow. But, we also know that making big changes to a workflow that you and your staff are comfortable with can be daunting. So to start, we've got a few tips to share on how your practice can have a successful transition to a more efficient practice with help from optometry software.

7 Important Do's For a Successful EHR Software Demo

Making a big purchase for your eyecare practice can be stressful and overwhelming if you aren't prepared, and the buying process is likely going to be a long one. Searching for the right practice management and EHR software for your practice is one of those purchases. In order to find the right software you're going to be looking at a series of demos to help you narrow down your options and figure out how each software might function in your practice. So how do you go about making sure you get the most out of a software demo?

End of Year EHR Software Selection

With the year coming to a close in a few short weeks you might be wrapping up your selection process when it comes to looking at new software for your practice. The start of a new year is a great time to purchase a new software system to get your practice off on the right foot in the coming months. 

Purchasing an EHR software for your practice isn't a move you want to rush. There is a lot of planning to do and considerations to make in order to land yourself a software that is the right fit for your practice. Take a look at this quick, 4 step guide that will help you hone in on what you're looking for in a software so that you can take your practice to the next level. 

What You Need to Know about Cloud-Based EHR in Your Practice

Before you dive head first into a cloud-based EHR for your eyecare practice there are a few things to know and consider. If you're moving from paper or a client-server system, the switch to the cloud could be a big change for your practice. And, if you aren't an expert in technology you might want to make sure that your practice has the details in place to support a cloud-based system.

Being able to understand your software and equipment is going to allow you to get the full benefits so that you can really take your practice above and beyond. Let's dig in to some of the details you should know about the cloud.

Is Your Practice Ready for Cloud-Based EHR?

Understanding the Cloudundefined

Cloud-based software systems are simply systems where your data and applications are maintained on remote servers, and you access your data via the Internet. So, instead of hosting a physical server in your own practice, your software vendor hosts and manages a server for you. That way, you're not stuck dealing with updates, server maintenance, IT costs, or hardware expenses. Plus you can access your system from any device with an Internet connection, not just the devices that you've installed software on.

So, what about Internet requirements?

In order to fully utilize a cloud-based software you need to have a reliable Internet connection. Each software is going to be different in terms of the speeds and requirements that they expect out of your Internet connection. Most Internet providers offer varying speeds of service, so you just have to make sure that you have the package that is the most appropriate for your practice needs.

How to Create a Master Training Plan for Your New Optometry Software

Training. It can be one of the more difficult things that your practice goes through. Especially if you're training on new optometry software that will play a role in just about every corner of your practice. Your staff might be resistant to the change, or you might be feeling unsure about your purchase decision. The best way to overcome the fear of change is by having a solid working plan in place to get your practice on the right track towards using the new software.

How to Outline Your Optometry Software Training Plan

1. Sit Down with Your Teamundefined

This is such an important step for getting your staff on board. Before you even start shopping for a new system you should include your team on the process. Find out the types of things that they would want in a new system so that you can take it into consideration when shopping.

Once the software is picked, meet again and get their input on how they would like to see the training process go. This way you can all set expectations and goals for the training period.

2. Understand Your Training Options

Talk with your vendor to really understand what types of training options you and your team will have. There might be different options based on your practice needs.

3 Ways Your Tech Can Use EHR Software to Make Your OD's Life Easier

In order for your workflow to be a good one, your optical tech and OD need to work seamlessly together, along with your EHR software, to provide great patient care throughout the exam. How your tech does their job and records patient information is going to affect the workflow for the OD.

But maybe you're not taking full advantage of all the ways that your tech can help make your ODs life easier. Depending on the technology and processes used in your practice there might be a couple of things that your tech could be doing differently that could save your workflow time and increase the amount of patients you see each day. Let's look at three ways that we think you might be able to use your EHR software to better utilize your tech.

3 Exam Lane Features You Need in Your Next Optometry EHR Software

Everyday in your eyecare practice is a busy day, so it's important to arm you and your staff with the best tools to get as much done as possible throughout the day. If you're not giving yourself and your staff the right tools you're likely creating more work for yourself, decreasing employee satisfaction, and losing out on money.

Having the right optometry EHR software in your practice can arm you with what you need to efficiently speed up your workflow. Let's look at three important characteristics that we think can take your practice from a good workflow to a great workflow.

Speed Up Your Workflow with These Optometry EHR Software Characteristics

Practice Management + EHRundefined

One of the biggest ways that you're going to be able to speed up your workflow is if everyone in your practice is working off one system. So if the front office is using a separate practice management system and the OD is working off an EHR your workflow is still going to be disjointed in a lot of ways. That's why an all in one practice management and EHR solution offers the most benefits.

An all in one solution works hand in hand. When a patient fills out their pre-exam forms online through the patient portal, that information is then directly uploaded into their electronic health record, which means less data entry. The EHR will also generate codes, billing, orders, procedures, and patient counseling based on information you enter during the exam. When this information is generated during the exam your biller and optician are able to pull up the patient's info from their station to more quickly complete their tasks.

A Few Reasons Why Cloud-Based EHR Software Might Not Be For You

So much buzz about the cloud. It's everywhere! But is it right for you and your eyecare practice? After doing the research and learning everything there is to know about cloud-based EHR software it seems like the benefits outweigh the negatives. But there are two sides to every argument, and today we want to take a look at a few reasons why some people might be on the side of caution when it comes to implementing the cloud in their eyecare practice.

5 Reasons You Should Forget About Cloud-Based EHR In Your Practice

1. You won't get to shop around for expensive hardware.undefined

Who doesn't love to shop, especially for new and pricey hardware for your practice? If you decide to go with cloud-based EHR software in your practice you won't need to shop around for expensive hardware that's compatible with your new system. With a lot of client-server software options you'll have plenty of opportunity to spend your hard earned cash on new hardware to get your practice prepared for the new system. 

2. You won't get to manually update your software.  

If dealing with software updates is your jam, then don't think twice about a cloud-based software. With cloud solutions your updates are all handled by the software vendor leaving you plenty of time for other things. With traditional software you'll be able to set aside your own time for manual updates. You might even be able to close down the office for an afternoon while you get all your devices up to speed with the new updates!

Should You Integrate Your Practice Management and EHR Software?

Many eyecare practices have started using all-in-one practice management and EHR solutions to help speed up their workflow and raise efficiency throughout their entire practice. By using an all-in-one system, you'll integrate workflow processes together and create a more seamless flow that both your staff and your patients will love. Are you ready to take this step? Ask yourself these five questions to find out.

5 Questions to Help You Decide if You Should Use an All-in-One Practice Management and EHR Software

undefined1. Could Your Front Office Use a Boost?

If your front office is feeling overwhelmed with scheduling and appointment reminders on top of their other duties, integrating your optometry software could help. Practice management software that allows for online scheduling and automatic appointment reminders can take away a lot of stress from your front desk staff, allowing them more time to pay attention to the patients that are physically in your practice.

2. How Efficient is Your Pre-Exam Process?

If your practice management system has a great patient portal, information can be automatically filled, or sent, straight to a patient’s EHR. This allows your technician to quickly review patient information without having to ask the patients a ton of questions. It’ll also give your tech more time to conduct pre-tests and answer specific patient questions so that everything is ready for the comprehensive exam.

5 Questions to Determine if Your Front Office is Wasting Time in Your Optical Practice

Your front office sets up the image of your practice for your patients, and they keep your schedule and workflow running on time. If your front staff is inefficient and unproductive, it not only puts the rest of your staff behind schedule, but also can send a negative message to your patients. We've got 5 questions for you to determine if your front office is wasting precious time.

Is Your Front Office Wasting Time in Your Optical Practice?

Do your patients fill out paper forms in your office while they wait for their appointment?undefined

Having patients fill out pre-appointment paper forms in your office takes up both their time and yours. You have to wait for them to complete the forms before they can move through the appointment, and then you have to manually enter them into the computer. If you utilize a patient portal in your optical practice, your patients can fill out forms online prior to their appointment, which means less wait time for them! This is even more helpful when your patients are running late for their appointment already. Plus, the info is already in the computer and can be processed in your EHR. Less data entry for you!

Does your staff perform manual phone call reminders?

Calling each patient the day before their appointment can take up a good chunk of time for your front desk staff. Instead, implement a patient recall and reminder system that allows you to send automated reminders via text, email, or phone. These reminders can have confirmation features so you'll know ahead of time if a patient can't make it.

Self Assessment: Finding the Right Optometry Software

Buying optometry software is one of the biggest purchases an independent practice can make. So it makes sense that practices approach this topic carefully, and try to do as much research as possible prior to making the purchase. Understanding your practice's individual needs is the first step towards finding the right EHR software for your office. Today we want to walk you through some questions to ask yourself that can help you discover which type of optometry software is right for your practice.

Finding the Perfect Optometry Software with a Few Simple Questions

undefinedHow would you describe your IT knowledge?

"I'm pretty good with IT. I like spending time keeping up with server maintenance and set-up during my software implementation."

Go for a client-server software. If you're an IT junky, you probably prefer having your software in the office where you can easily access it. Keep in mind that even if your system is in office, you are still at risk for security hacks. Maintaining your HIPAA compliance means more than simply keeping your server room locked. You also should think about total cost of ownership. The hardware purchase is only the beginning. You might also need to purchase additional servers and equipment to be compatible with your software.

"I'd rather have someone else manage the maintenance and set-up of my software."

Cloud-based software is the way to go. There is no server installation meaning there is no IT knowledge needed. Your vendor takes care of everything like maintenance, backups, upgrades, and security. Make sure to pick a HIPAA compliant software so that you can take it easy knowing your practice is taken care of!

How to Explain Health Records and Optometry Software to Your Patients

Many patients are unfamiliar with the way technology is advancing in the eyecare industry, leading them to have concern about their information being stored electronically. "The cloud" is a very vague concept to a lot of people, and often comes with security concerns. The best thing you can do to ease their nerves about your EHR software and their private information is to explain to them what they are and the benefits they provide. If you're stuck as to how to begin the conversation, use these talking points to begin the education process for your concerned patients.

Each system is different and the benefits that you and your patients might receive will vary from system to system. Here are a few starting points that can get you thinking about your optometry software and the specific features that you and your patients will enjoy the most.

undefinedQuestions Your Patients Might Ask about Your Optometry Software

What exactly is optometry software?

  • Practice management and EHR systems help your healthcare providers handle everything they need to stay operational, from scheduling to billing to storing patient information.
  • EHR stands for electronic health records, and it makes it easier to share your health information with your other healthcare providers in order to provide better patient care overall. 

How is your system going to benefit me?

  • You're now able to schedule appointments at your convenience online.
  • You can submit pre-appointment paper work online which means you will experience a shorter wait time in the office.
  • They system creates less manual work for our staff which will speed up the overall exam process meaning that you will get through your appointments faster.
  • We are able to share important patient education materials including treatment instructions, lab results, and doctor to patient communication with you securely online.

Understanding PQRS with Your EHR Software

undefinedPhysician Quality Reporting System, or PQRS, as it is commonly referred to, is a reporting program under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that serves to promote the reporting of quality information through incentive and negative payment adjustments. The program allows EPs to understand the quality of care they are offering to patients.

This year marked the beginning of negative adjustments for practices not participating in PQRS. While some practices have opted to accept the penalties, we urge you to begin reporting as soon as possible if you are eligible since the negative adjustments will continue to increase over time.

The Details on PQRS and Your EHR Software

Overview

  • PQRS is not required for Meaningful Use.
  • If you participate in PQRS you must successfully report on at least 50% of eligible insurances within a 12 month period.
  • You can choose from 5 different reporting methods.
  • If you successfully report this year, you'll avoid payments in 2017.
  • Your PQRS data must come from one single application.

Want Your Eyecare Practice to be HIPAA Compliant? Here's What Not to Do

With all the current focus on the change to ICD-10 and Meaningful Use Stage 3, it can be hard to focus on anything else within your practice. However, the anticipation of change is no excuse to get lazy when it comes to other industry regulations like HIPAA compliance. Staying up-to-date with your compliance procedures is vital for avoiding unnecessary breaches and the costly consequences that come along with them. If it has been a while since you've looked at your office procedures relating to HIPAA, now is the time to give them the attention they deserve. Here is what not to do.

How Not to Keep Your Eyecare Practice HIPAA Compliant

undefinedDon't Maintain Your Employees

You are required to have all of your staff trained in HIPAA policies and procedures, so if you are failing to ask for documentation or train any new staff members before they are exposed to patient information, you are breaking compliance. Maintaining compliant employees is more than just training new hires; if you aren't monitoring your current staff, you have no idea if they are breaking policies. Some red flags to keep an eye out for are visible passwords in work areas and unprotected sensitive patient information. It is also important to revoke patient information access and change passwords anytime an employee leaves your practice. 

Don't Conduct a Risk Analysis

If you fail to conduct a risk analysis, or if you just document it and then file it away never to be seen again, you could be failing to identify key compliance problems in your practice. Take the time to complete and review your analysis and document any big changes like new EHR software, switching locations, or changing IT centers. Your practice should be reviewing this document at least once a year, but you might find it necessary to review it more often. 

Why Marketing Your Patient Portal is Crucial to Its Success

In this digital age, where consumers prefer doing just about anything online, top-quality patient service and satisfaction is now a requirement. Using a patient portal or secure electronic communications is an effective way to not only boost patient engagement and satisfaction, but also, improve your own practice’s workflow and interoperability through technology.

Your practice can gain a great deal of time and money from implementing a portal. Patient portals can take a significant burden off of your practice by putting the power of self-service into the hands of patients. But, getting patients to use and engage with your patient portal can be the biggest challenge of integrating a patient portal!

If your patients are reluctant to using a well-designed patient portal, the problem may be in your practice’s process of marketing and integrating it into their care. Here are 5 strategic ways a practice can increase patient portal usage and consistently maintain an engaged patient audience, which inevitably leads to increased workflow and efficiency throughout the practice!

Taking Your Patient Portal to the Next Level!

Easy Sign-Up

Patient portals help save you valuable time when patients adopt and use secure
messaging
. But as mentioned before, getting your practice’s undefinedpatient portal set-up and actually getting patients to use it are two entirely different challenges. The first step to marketing your patient portal is ensuring your patient portal is always easily accessible. Have it integrated and promoted across your practice’s website, and include log in links in emails. Also, provide patients with simple instructions on how to log into the portal to view their health information.

Pamphlets in the office with these instructions, and mentioning your new patient portal on your office voice mail are two more ways you can encourage patient portal use. If patients arrive early for appointments a staff member can take the patient through an online tour of the portal and assist the patient as they sign-up and explore any tools or features. Developing a script for employees, can help ensure that patients receive consistent messaging from your entire team.

Highlight the Most Useful Features

Your patient portal can do a lot of things, but many of your patients might not care about all of the portal’s features. So, a good tactic to remember is that instead of overwhelming patients with too much information, highlight the features that will be used by that patient most often. The most common (and simple) features you might market, generally surround making it easier for patients to manage their health online, as well as perform normally very time-consuming tasks online. It’s all about saving the patient time and making their care more convenient.

A Basic Rule of Thumb for Eyecare Practices Implementing EHR Software

As the time to implement new EHR software in your practice approaches, your staff might be anxious about the potential changes to their normal daily routine. Before you begin this process of implementation, it is imperative to get all of your team on board with the new EHR software to help make the entire process easier. We know that there are a lot of different strategies out there for making changes in a practice, and it’s not a one size fits all situation. So here we have some basic guidelines to help you determine the best implementation strategy for your practice to take with your new software. 

This guide will show you the benefits and advantages of taking the time to think out the EHR software implementation process. Developing a plan of attack for this will help you better manage the changes occurring in your practice.

How to Prepare for Your New EHR Software

Promote an Implementation Team Leaderundefined

Establishing a single team leader, or maybe more than one depending on your practice’s size, will help push forward and be responsible for your implementation plan of attack. Your team leader helps by assigning tasks and scheduling meetings for the other members of your optical staff, especially during the training period. This internal communication from the team leader should touch all facets of the practice to ensure a smooth implementation.

As we have said in the past, each practice has its own unique priorities and needs. There is no blueprint for EHR implementation, so coming up with your own personal plan of attack is an essential step to this process. A good place to start is by having your team leader work with your EHR vendor to best determine a strategy for your own individual practice.

Discovering Your Biggest Optometry Practice Management and EHR Software Needs

If you're looking to purchase new optometry practice management software for your practice, you might find yourself overwhelmed with all of the options available to you. Buying new practice management and EHR software is not only a huge purchase to make, but it will undoubtedly bring large changes to all areas of your practice. To help lessen the stress of searching for software, we've got some steps you can take to make sure you choose the option that is best for your practice's needs. 

How to Discover the Best Optometry Practice Management Software for Your Practice


1. Decide Who Your Practice Isundefined

Understanding who your practice is might be the most important step in deciding which software to purchase. Every practice is unique in terms of staff, hardware and IT infrastructure, and workflow, so take a look at these three areas to help create a practice profile. Write up a couple of paragraphs that highlight how your practice is currently functioning. Having a true understanding of how your practice currently runs will help you pin down the features that you're going to want in a new system.

2. Drill Down and Get Specific

Once you've written up a couple of paragraphs about who your practice really is, use this information as a stepping stone to help you understand what your specific software needs are. Which areas of your workflow need the most improvement? Where is your staff running into the most inefficiencies? Based off of those areas you can determine which features and integrated tools you see as most important in your software decision. It's important to know what you're looking for before you start checking out demos from different vendors!

5 Ways to Fully Utilize Your EHR Software

Improvements in the healthcare IT world are transforming the way that patients and physicians communicate and share information, mainly helping to increase the level of patient care across the country. Connected EHR systems are taking patient care and practice workflow to new heights through tools, features, and with some help from the Meaningful Use program. We understand attesting and reporting to Meaningful Use is a decision each practice must make pending their own situation. The pros and cons of the incentives and penalties concerning Meaningful Use are differently prioritized for every practice, so we understand it’s a big decision.

Whether you attest to the Meaningful Use requirements or not, a practice management and EHR system can still help to improve your practice. We have no bias on which side you choose, we just want you to get the most out of your EHR software! We have a list of 5 advantages to implement and utilize the tools and features of your EHR system within your practice.

Benefits of Direct Messaging in Your Practice with EHR Software

Direct messaging in healthcare has become a new and popular trend that has evolved and grown recently. No matter your specialty, there are times when you must interact with other healthcare providers and practices in order to provide the top-quality care your patients expect. The vision of direct messaging through an EHR software is to provide a secure network where all participants are verified and can securely communicate. This connectivity will empower doctors and patients to better communicate with each other. 

What is Direct Messaging?undefined

Direct messaging is a secure way for healthcare providers and organizations to send clinical messages and exchange Protected Health Information (PHI). Providers and organizations can send secure electronic messages to each other, including attachments such as Continuity of Care Documents (CCD), referral documents, X-rays, and other types of important medical information and files. Direct messaging is specifically designed for the exchange of patient health information across different EHR networks. It can be used to promote care coordination between visits, address patient concerns, monitor a patient’s condition, take care of routine health issues, and help patients better manage their overall health. Direct messaging works towards eliminating outdated communication methods such as phone calls, faxing, or standard mail and consistently keeps your patients' data secure. Along with all of this, direct messaging is HIPAA compliant and mitigates these inherent risks of information being compromised by providing an easier way for healthcare providers to securely share patient information electronically.

5 Habits to Adopt When Implementing New EHR Software

You’ve finally decided on a new EHR software (congratulations!) and now you might be wondering how you can make the implementation process as smooth as possible. While we’ll be the first to admit that implementation can be challenging at times, we also want to encourage you to stick with the process and stay calm, it will all be worth it in the end. To help the process along, we have some tips that will help your implementation become a success!

undefined5 Habits for Successful EHR Software Implementation

1. Learn to Rely on Your Training Resources

Your software vendor offers training for a reason, so make sure that your practice utilizes it to its full potential. Trying to figure out everything on your own not only takes time, but it is confusing for everyone in your practice. Ask questions and review training regularly as you get acquainted with your new software.

2. Allow Yourself to be Flexible to Workflow Changes

You’re switching to a new EHR software for many reasons, but one of the biggest is to improve your office workflow. Keep that in mind as you move through implementation and be flexible to making changes to your old workflow habits. Analyze your processes and make necessary and realistic changes so that you can get the most out of your new software.

4 Ways Your Optometry EHR is at Risk if You Don't Perform a Risk Analysis

Meaningful Use requires that you perform a security risk analysis of your optometry EHR software in your practice in both Stage 1 and Stage 2, but that isn’t the only reason it is important to pay attention to risk management. It is critical for every practice to take the time to look at the way their practice operates and what is being done to protect patient information in order to keep the practice running efficiently. That is why we want to share with you some reasons it is important to perform risk analysis in your practice. It is also a great idea to check out the CMS website for more resources on anything HIPAA or Meaningful Use related.

undefined4 Security Risks You Run if You Don't Perform a Risk Analysis

1. You might miss a simple physical security measure.

Taking a look at the physical aspects of your practice can help ensure that your patients' information is being protected. We suggest paying attention to your building alarm system, office locks, privacy screens, computer equipment, and portable devices that have access to you EHR system. 

2. Your technical safety could fall through.

Your software vendors likely have data encryption and back-ups taken care of, but going a step further to secure your technology is necessary. Take a look at your passwords (and your staff's passwords), and consider changing them quarterly. It is also a good idea to keep logs so you can keep up with users and EHR activities.

New EHR Software: 4 Staff Training Tips

The transition from a paper-based healthcare practice to one which relies on an EHR system can be a daunting task for doctor’s and their staff. But, converting to an EHR doesn't have to be something a practice fears. While EHR software can be associated with a big price tag, tricky installations, and transitional training periods; with proper training your staff can learn even the most complicated systems.

Training is not only helpful for integrating and implementing new EHR software with your staff, it is essential. Effective training will help provide your staff with the maximum level of system knowledge to gain the confidence and competence needed to adapt and thrive when faced with a new software system. Here are four training tips to help lift the fright from your staff and not only train them, but train them well.

Getting Your Staff Ready for New EHR Software

Emphasize Early-Adoptersundefined

Most practices have a known core group of tech-savvy employees whom are able to learn, adapt, and implement new procedures quicker than the rest. These super users, or “guru’s”, can often act as liaisons for the less technically gifted individuals, so training these more educated staff first will encourage the spread and trickling down of EHR training tips and techniques down to the rest of the staff.

An easy way to spot a guru that can help train other staff members is one who is excited about the EHR conversion, is a quick learner, has a high computer literacy, and is patient with others. While these guru’s can help lead, they can’t teach your staff everything. If basic computer training is necessary, we suggest offering in-office tutors or online courses to get your staff up to par and ready to integrate the new EHR software into their daily work.

How Combining Practice Management and EHR Software Can Increase Practice Efficiency

No eyecare practice is the same. There are endless combinations of using different features in practice management systems and EHR software. However, if you’re trying to increase efficiency in your practice, an all-in-one solution that combines both practice management with EHR might be the best option. While it might not be the right fit for every practice, there are some great benefits that all-in-one systems offer.

undefined5 Things You Won't Miss When You Combine Practice Management and EHR Software

1. Repetitive Data Entry

By having one system that houses everything for your practice, you can avoid having to enter the same data multiple times on different systems. Every bit of data recorded throughout each step of the appointment, from pre-exam to check-out, will be synchronized in the patient’s file, meaning appointments will take less time in your practice.

2. Not Having Access to Your System from Home

If you use a cloud-based EHR, you’ll have access to your software anywhere you have an Internet connection. This is perfect for when you can’t make it into the office and need to update your schedule to get someone else in the office to handle your patients for that day, or to reschedule your appointments.

4 Functionalities Every EHR Software Should Have

EHR software can change your practice in ways you might not have thought possible, but not all software is created equal. So it's important that when you are shopping for a solution, you are taking into consideration your practice's unique, individual needs. While every practice has different requirements, there are four important functionality features that we think are necessary for every EHR system to have.

4 Key Ingredients of the Best EHR Systems

1. Clinical Decision Supportundefined

Clinical Decision Support (CSD) helps to increase the quality of care you provide your patients by giving you recommendations for patient-specific information. This feature is able to give you alerts and reminders, guidelines, reports, diagnostic support, and summaries for each patient that visits your office. This knowledgeable technology is great for helping reduce errors and improve efficiency in your practice, which in the end will increase overall patient satisfaction.

2. Patient Recall

Think of how much time your staff spends each day calling patients to remind them of appointments, or filling out recall cards to mail out. Having a patient recall system built in to your EHR software means you can automatically send out appointment reminders, which will help save your staff a lot of time. This type of tool often has a variety of different areas that you can customize, so you can contact your patients through the method they most prefer, including text and email.

3. ePrescribing

Filling out prescriptions by hand leaves so much room for error, but with ePrescribing you don't have to worry about pharmacies not understanding your handwriting or making a mistake transcribing the prescription. Sending prescriptions electronically is also a faster method, meaning your patients receive their care faster. When the ePrescribing tool is built into your EHR software, patient specific information, like allergies, automatically shows up along with medication history, so that you're able to provide the safest care for your patients. 

4. Mobility

Cloud-based EHR software offers mobility that client-server solutions can't. Being able to access your system on tablets, and at home, can greatly improve your overall office workflow. Having the freedom to access your system and information from any device with an Internet connection means you can work from virtually anywhere!

There you have it. Those are the 4 key features to keep an eye out for when shopping for new EHR software. What features do you look for that we didn't mention?

4 Clear Advantages of Having an Online Patient Portal

undefinedAn online patient portal is a Web-based access point that seamlessly connects doctors and patients like never before. This online tool gives ODs the ability to communicate and share health information remotely; all while supplementing the ongoing management of patient care. The online relationship can’t replace the valuable experience of an in-office visit, but it helps facilitate an ongoing doctor-patient dialogue. As part of the Meaningful Use Stage 2 requirements, eligible professionals are requires to provide patients with an electronic copy of their health information upon request. But Meaningful Use isn't the only reason you should be taking advantage of a patient portal.

In order to supplement the patient experience, and provide the best care available, your practice should adopt optometric software equipped with a compatible patient portal. Doing this, and understanding these 4 main advantages to the patient portal will help your practice recognize and appreciate how a patient portal can give you a competitive edge in the optical industry.

How an Online Patient Portal will Increase Your Competitive Edge

Patient-Doctor Communication

A patient portal should facilitate and function as a mediator of information between patient and doctor. You should be able to personalize secure messages that can be quickly exchanged, and used to create a more tailored experience for each of your patients. Adopting a patient portal will increase the value of each in-office visit, and help save you time by staying off the phone with patients who have questions after their visit! Also, by staying in touch online, your customer retention and satisfaction rates are likely to increase, along with your practice’s revenue. Implementing a tool, such as patient portal, to create a noticeably higher level of care and attention will build more widespread and meaningful relationships with your patients that you might have thought not possible in the past.

How EHR Software Helps You Handle Your Worst Patients

Most likely you love the majority of your patients, but every practice has a handful of customers who can be rather difficult. Figuring out how to manage these patients can be even more difficult, but there are a couple of ways to do it using a patient portal with your EHR software.

undefined4 Ways to Use your EHR Software's Patient Portal to Deal with Your Toughest Patients


1. Online Appointment Scheduling

Online scheduling is ideal for that patient who always wants to talk way too much, and share every detail of their personal life with you. It is also great for the busy patient that can’t be bothered with small talk at all, and just wants to move through their exam quickly. With online scheduling, you can avoid getting stuck talking to Chatty Cathy calling to schedule an appointment, and Busy Ben will appreciate the convenience of skipping the call to your office and scheduling online.

2. Access to Diagnosis and Treatment Information Online

This one is for your know-it-all patients who feel like their self-diagnosis via Web-MD knows more than you, the real-life professional standing right in front of them. While they may argue with you in-office, having their treatment information on hand once they leave your office, calm down, and realize you were right, will keep them from calling back your practice and asking you to re-explain everything you told them during their exam.

3. Roll Out Pre-Appointment Forms

Some patients make you want to hide in your office and never come out. Luckily, having patients fill out pre-appointment forms online helps cut down the actual amount of time they spend in your practice. While there isn’t a solution to completely avoid these patients, at least there is a way to spend a smaller amount of time dealing with them.

4. Take Advantage of Secure Messaging

There are those patients who always come into your office with company, whether it be all of their children, or their significant other, it seems like these patients have a deep fear of being alone. With secure messaging to act as a convenient way for you to communicate with patients, this type of patient never has to feel alone again.

Hopefully your practice can utilize your EHR software’s patient portal to relieve some of the stress that comes with dealing with difficult patients.

Make Your Eyecare Practice and EHR Software an Information Hub for Your Patients

undefinedWith the rise of the ePatient, it is no surprise that more and more patients are turning to online search engines to find health information. The problem with this is that the credibility of online information can sometimes be questionable and hard to sort through, leaving patients misinformed. It is up to you, as an eyecare professional, to understand this trend, and how you can use your eyecare practice to combat it and provide your patients with accurate information. Offering reliable, timely, and accessible information to your patients, on your website or through the use of patient education tools within your EHR software, will help build your relationships, and increase trust with current and future patients.

3 Important Statistics about How Patients Receive Health Information Online

  1. Pew Research Center: 72% of Internet users looked for health information online in the past year. And of that group, eight out of ten began their quest on a search engine, rather than on a specialized health site.

  2. Pew Research Center: 26% of patients seeking health information online were asked to pay for access to the information.

  3. CDMiConnect Report: 20% of patients actively search for information in their doctor’s waiting room in order to feel prepared for their appointment.

The Knowledge You Need to Make the Best EHR Software Decision

undefinedWhen I was growing up my father taught me valuable lessons that I still hold with me today. Lessons such as never trust a telemarketer, and always ask for the manager when help is needed. He was helping me defend myself against the thousands of scams, schemes, and plots people will come up with to make a buck. The most common pitfall is usually through misinformation about products, and in the world of software technology that's no exception.

So how does this all relate to EHR software? Sometimes the people purchasing new software don't always have the technical knowledge and background needed for understanding the ins and outs of different systems. And when it comes to "the cloud" there is often a lot of confusion. There are currently only two-types of cloud systems in the eyecare industry; cloud-based and cloud-hosted. If you’re unaware of the difference between the two, you could very likely fall into this trap as well! I’ll show you how to spot the real deal, and get exactly what you are paying for.

Building Your Knowledge of Cloud-Based EHR Software

With the vast amount of information floating around the Internet it can be difficult to hunt down the real truth. The same applies when looking to purchase a cloud system. The term “cloud” and its value can be misunderstood by not recognizing the important facts and features that differentiate true cloud-based systems from systems with similar features. There are distinct and important differences between a cloud–based and cloud-hosted software. Do you know the difference? We’ve collected the three most common confusions that cloud-hosted software vendors could use to persuade and take advantage of you.

How to Ride Off Into the Sunset with Your New EHR Software

You’ve finished all of your training and you're just about ready to start using your new EHR software daily! Most likely you have a feeling that can best be described as excitement mixed with a high amount of nervous energy; and that is completely to be expected. Today, we are going to share with you some tips that will help the go-live process take place as smooth as possible for your practice, and hopefully calm some of those nerves so your practice can ride happily off into the sunset!

4 Tips for Implementing Your New EHR Software

undefined1. Take Things 1 Step at a Time

Don’t try and change everything all at once, it can create confusion and lead to mistakes. Start by only charting new patients electronically while they are in the office. Then slowly begin to switch over existing patients, charting a couple each day. It is okay to take time to fully transition into the software; we actually recommend it. Choosing a slow pace helps ensure that everything is done correctly and free of mistakes!

2. Understand the Importance of Communication

The high levels of communication among your staff shouldn’t end when training is over. If your team isn't communicating well, it's really going to show during EHR implementation.

Think about having weekly meetings during the implementation process where your staff can update each other on important information surrounding the implementation process. This also allows the opportunity for you to track and assess the progress you practice, and individuals, are making.

4 Ways Practice Management Systems Save Your Practice Hours

In any industry, time-management and efficiency are critical factors for trying to produce a solid business model. But, sometimes it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. While we all know this feeling, have you ever sat down and really thought on how your own practice is wasting time on a daily basis? Understanding where you and your staff are losing time can help start the process of gaining back that precious work time that will lead to a more productive practice!

So how does one create a more efficient practice without sacrificing any quality of care? Practice management systems are leading the way to a more efficient office. Integration between practice management and EHR software is now becoming a common option for EHR buyers, especially those considering cloud-based services. So if you’re still running your office with paper, submitting orders by phone, or not using a patient portal then you can turn things around quicker than you think with optometric practice management and EHR software!

How Practice Management Systems Can Help You Save Time in Your Practice

Put Down Your Phoneundefined

The method of submitting your ophthalmic product orders via the phone or fax machine is quickly becoming a thing of the past. These days, there’s online options and software available to help you place and manage your ophthalmic orders. Practice management systems can have built in ordering tools that allow you to place your orders without ever leaving the system. You'll be able to place orders quickly and error-free, helping improve your patient satisfaction and retention rate almost overnight! Using an integrated ordering solution will not only save you valuable time in your practice, but also increase the workflow in your dispensary!

Throw Away All of The Paper

In order to really speed up the workflow in your practice, and save time, it is recommended that you and your staff stop using paper for day-to-day business. Not only is it wasteful, but it can hinder how quickly you get information to your patients, and around your office.

Making the switch to practice management and EHR software from paper can reduce duplicate data being entered, instantaneously pinpoint a patient among your patient list, and generate reports that help you prepare and understand the business side of your practice. No blue-print is available for the “correct” type of practice management and EHR system, as each practice’s needs are unique and require different approaches. So make sure you take the time to determine what type of system is right for your practice.

Is Cloud Technology Changing the EHR Game in 2015?

As small practices around the nation plan out their EHR strategy for the upcoming year, they are quickly realizing it can be more difficult and costly than they might have originally thought. It can seem impossible at times to gain a competitive-edge in the optical market, mostly due to things like limited resources and large competition. Cloud-based EHR systems are trying to close this gap by helping small practices work more efficiently than ever.

The cloud is still sometimes seen as a new and confusing technology that some people show resistance too. The advantages of the cloud, like cost and security, are generally not talked about and are masked by the fears and concerns practices have about the cloud. By addressing the concerns of practices we hope to change your mind on how many people view cloud technology!

4 Ways Cloud Technology can Improve Your Practice This Year

undefinedMoney Saving

One of the most annoying hurdles a small practice constantly jumps over when searching for a new EHR system is how to save on costs. With practice management and EHR software typically being one of a small practice’s largest expenses, there is opportunity to save money with cloud-based EHR. For starters, there is no upfront purchase of hardware, like a server system. Also, with no software installations for your computers, you don't have to worry about purchasing multiple licenses across each of your devices. You can also have a clear picture of your monthly expenses as most cloud services use a prescription pricing plan. Tired of those costly updates? Cloud-based EHR updates occur automatically and require no additional costs, saving you more time and money.

Consistent Security

The main concern many practices have with cloud-based EHR is the security of their sensitive information. Coincidentally the opposite is the truth, as the information stored in the cloud utilizes enterprise-level security from the software vendor, which would be extremely expensive if purchased separately. In the event of a natural disaster, practice based systems will lose valuable information, while cloud-based systems are backed up securely in multiple locations. Even if a security breach were to occur, measures have been taken to make the data unreadable. Security measures like data encryption, separate databases for users, and secure data centers are what separate cloud-based servers from the rest and gives your practice the security it wants, at a fraction of the cost.

Do You Know How to Manage Change in Your Eyecare Practice?

If you've started the conversation among the staff in your office about the potential of purchasing and implementing new EHR software, you might have heard a few grumbles from the crowd. Switching to a new software might not always be the popular choice in your practice, and if you're serious about making the switch, you're going to have to overcome those negative perceptions among your staff.

If your entire team isn't invested in the switch to new software it's going to make the process of switching that much harder. So we've got a some quick tips to help get your implementation plan started, and advice for dealing with your resistant staff.

Why You Need a Leader in Your Practice to Manage Your EHR Implementation Project

undefinedThe Role of the Leader

EHR implementation is a project. A big project. So you're going to need someone to take charge and be the go-to person in your practice. This person will ideally touch almost all aspects of your practice and will help manage the relationship between your practice and your EHR vendor. Your leader should also be someone who is comfortable assigning tasks and setting up meetings to make sure that your team is staying on top of their training.

Step in Your Staff's Shoes

As we said before, there's a good chance you might face some resistance from a few members of your staff. As creatures of habit, people tend to be resistant to big changes in their daily lives. It's important to understand what is making your staff resistant to the changes. Are they worried about their job security? Are they afraid they won't be able to keep up and learn the new system? Are they worried it won't be beneficial to their job? Keep your staff involved in the process, and make sure to explain how a new system is going to make tasks they do everyday easier. 

3 Daily Hassles Your EHR Software is Causing Your Practice

As an OD you're busy throughout your day taking care of patients as they come in and out of the exam room. Because your day is busy, you might not know where your staff is struggling to get through simple daily tasks. And, if your staff is annoyed or stressed out each day, it's going to end up rubbing off on their attitude with patients, and that's the last thing that you want.

Your practice management and EHR software can play a huge role in the success of your staff and your practice as a whole. We've got a list of software qualities that might be causing your staff added stress. If your team is facing any of these issues it might be time for you to look for a new system in 2015!

Is Your Staff Sick and Tired of Your EHR Software?

Plain and simple, the system is outdatedundefined

Some practices have been using the same software systems for years and years. The software has probably been doing it's job enough that you'd rather stick with it than take the time to search for and learn and new system. But in reality, a new up-to-date software is going to save your practice so much time in the long run. While it might be a tricky transition, it will be worth it in the end!

Does it take a million clicks in the software to get to where you need to be in the system? Are you having to switch between multiple tools in order to do your job? You might even be using an outdated version of the system that isn't giving you all the functionality that you need. The latest and most advanced systems out there today are cloud-based systems. You get automatic updates to your system without having to buy and install the latest versions. And, you'll get access to your system when you're out of the office since you will log into your system through a website online!

Are You Ignoring These Hidden Fees When Shopping for Optical Software?

There are a lot of things that go into purchasing new optical software for your practice. And while we know budget is definitely on the top of the list when it comes to narrowing down your options, it's important not to just look at the initial price tag of a practice management and EHR software. There's a lot that can go into the total cost of ownership of a software on top of just the initial sticker.

We put together a list of hidden fees that you might have overlooked along the way when evaluating different software. Have you thought about the hardware costs, annual fees, upgrade fees, training and support costs? Each of these things can tack on extra dollars to the software's total cost. Let's look at each cost a little closer.

5 Fees You don't want to Forget about when Picking New Optical Software

1. Training and Supportundefined

One of the more important things about buying new software is knowing how to use it. You won't be happy if you and your staff don't take full advantage of training resources before diving head first into your new software. How does the vendor handle training and support? What resources are available, and are they included in the cost of the software? The vendor might charge extra for training and support on a yearly basis, or for higher priority levels of support. While other systems include these costs in the fee of the software. So make sure you're asking each vendor what's included!

2. Software Upgrades

New versions of the software are going to be rolling out after you make your purchase, and you don't want to be running your office on an outdated system. When new versions roll out you might have to purchase new licenses of the software, and new versions could affect the hardware that you're using in your practice. Cloud-based system updates happen automatically within your system and are most often included in the cost of your software purchase. Client-server systems are usually going to require you to purchase the latest version.

Why You Should be Investing in a Mobile Optometry EHR

Smartphones and tablets are starting to become the norm in the healthcare world. It's becoming more common for healthcare providers to carry devices around their office to speed up their workflow and help stimulate more patient engagement. While using mobile devices isn't a replacement for desktop computers, they are a great addition to help make your practice more flexible. There are definitely still some tasks in your workflow that are going to be easier to perform on traditional computers.

Let's take a look at some numbers. In a study by Epocrates, 2 out of 3 clinicians said that their practice's EHR isn't optimized for mobile use, which is surprising considering that EHR management is listed as the top professional use of tablets among most clinician segments. That being said, when it comes to optometry EHR there are only a handful of systems available that are going to be mobile friendly. Let's take a look at some of the benefits of going mobile with your EHR.

Benefits of Using Optometry EHR to Build Flexibility in Your Practice

Easily Keep in Touchundefined

Having a software system that is accessible on the go is going to allow you to increase communication with your colleagues, staff, and patients. You're going to be able to respond faster to requests while you're moving throughout the office, or even from the comfort of your own home. It's also beneficial to be able to face your patients in the exam room when talking about their visit, medical history, and symptoms. Depending on the set up of your exam room, desktops can sometimes cause you to have your back turned to your patients. Tablets allow you to sit side by side and share your screen while having a conversation with your patients. This type of setting will help build trust and relationships with your patients.

Tips for Keeping Your EHR Software Secure and Staying HIPAA Compliant

undefinedWhen it comes to using cloud-based EHR software in healthcare there are a lot of questions raised about security. When there are stories of hacks and information breaches of various big-name companies in the news it's no wonder people have their reservations. And, even more so, many healthcare professionals don't have the technical background to know what makes software systems secure, which can cause more concern.

But, you should be rest assured that software vendors, even cloud-based vendors, are providing you with systems that are safe and secure for your practice and your patients. Especially if a system is certified for Meaningful Use, you should be even more comfortable with the security that system offers based on the rigorous testing EHR vendor's must undergo to become certified.

In the end, you can't rely solely on your vendor for all of your system's security. There are some things that you and your staff should be doing in your practice to help ensure that you are doing your job to help keep the system secure as well.

How You and Your Staff Can Help Keep Your EHR Software Secure

Perform a Risk Analysis

One of the core measures of Meaningful Use requires you to perform a full security risk analysis of your certified EHR. Whether or not you're participating in Meaningful Use, performing a risk analysis is still a good idea! Security analysis can be performed in a variety of ways, but here's a few steps we think make up a good plan:

EHR Systems: 3 ICD-10 Challenges You Should be Prepared For

The transition to ICD-10 is going to be a big change for every practice. ICD-9 has been around probably as long as you've been doing your job, and changing old habits can be a challenge. Luckily there is still plenty of time to get your staff on track with the change as the deadline for the switch is October of 2015. Having a successful transition to ICD-10 is going to affect how quickly you're getting paid, so it's important to have the proper plan of attack in place so that you don't see a hit to your bottom line.

It's also possible that the switch to ICD-10 could affect your practice's workflow. EHR systems that have ICD-10 coding built into the software is going to be a great way to help get your staff up to speed with the changes and decrease the slowdown in your workflow. Setting up a training plan, having all your resources lined up, and a software that has your back is going to help ease the transition.

EHR Systems: 3 Things to Consider When Transitioning to ICD-10

Trainingundefined

Everyone in your office is going to have to be up to speed with ICD-10 changes. While it might be more important for certain people in your office (like your billers) to have the most knowledge, it's still good to keep everyone up-to-date. Having a training timeline in place is important because you can't have your staff taking time away from patients during the day to focus on ICD-10. It's something that will have to be done on top of their daily routine.

Utilizing online training materials is a great way to help get your staff up to speed. Your staff will be able to work the training into their own schedules and keep up with it at their own pace.

Resources

Do you use a practice management and EHR system in your practice? Is the system ready to help you make the ICD-10 transition easier, or is it only programmed for ICD-9 codes? There is a chance that you might have to purchase the latest upgrades to the system in order to keep up with the changes and keep your office running smoothly. Make sure you start the discussion with you vendor now so that you don't hit any bumps in the road. You might have to add additional staff to your team or adjust your schedule in order to keep up with your patient flow while everyone gets used to the new system. Being on top of these changes ahead of time is key to making sure you have the resources lined up to make the change.

Delays

If you're practice isn't up to par when the change rolls out your payments could take a hit while your staff catches up on learning ICD-10, so be prepared for it. The chance of errors at the beginning is going to be pretty high along with decreased productivity cause by the learning curve could both impact your bottom line. As long as your staff is putting in the hours and effort to learning the new system ahead of time, it will pay off in the long run and make things easier on everyone!

 

4 Things You Might Have to do to Keep Your Optometry EHR Protected

Your patients want to make sure that their health information is secure in your office, so being able to keep patient data secure is a big concern across all healthcare specialties. Whether you're using an optometry EHR software that is in the cloud, or on a client-server in your office there are different things that you need to be doing to help keep your patients' information protected.

With cloud-based systems the software vendor handles most of the security for you. Since you still log into your system with a username and password, part of that responsibility falls on you to maintain secure access and strong passwords to restrict entry to the system. But with client-server systems there is a lost more security that you need to maintain in your practice to help keep that information secure.

Tips for Maintaining Security of Your Client-Server Optometry EHR Software

undefinedPhysically Secure Your Office

This may seem obvious, of course you're going to secure your practice. But where exactly do you keep your server? Do you keep the room locked? Who has access to it? While it's unlikely that someone would intentionally be looking to take data from your servers, it's in your best interest to monitor the access to your server room. Do you manage the temperature controls where your server is stored to reduce the risk of overheating? Is your data backed up somewhere outside of your office in the event of a natural disaster or fire?

Don't Forget Anti-Virus Software

You went to school to be an Optometrist, not an IT consultant. So you might not be sure of all the options available for keeping your computers and data safe. Anti-virus software monitors your computer for viruses in emails and downloads, and prevents anything from infecting your computer or other computers on your network. Regardless of the solution you're using, anti-virus software is a good idea. New anti-virus software is constantly available for updates since new types of viruses are created and found everyday. So make sure that you're keeping yours up to date!

Is Optometry EHR Good for more than just Meaningful Use Participation?

The deadline for receiving incentive payments for participating in the Meaningful Use Program has come and gone. But, you can still participate in the program to avoid facing penalties on your Medicare reimbursements in the future. Even if Meaningful Use isn't important for your practice, there are other benefits that certified optometry EHR software can have for your office.

undefinedWhy You Need Optometry EHR Even If You Don't Care About Meaningful Use

More Flexibility

Purchasing a new system can come with concerns of training and learning a whole new software without interrupting your practice. But, if you've been using the same system in your practice for years, there is a good chance that it could be outdated. For today's modern eyecare practice there are software options available that can help increase the efficiency of your workflow, while adding important modern touches to your system. Some systems come optimized for use on tablets. Tablets allow you to carry patient information around the office wherever you are, and give you more face-to-face time with patients instead of staring at a desktop. 

Fueling Your Practice with Cloud-Based EHR Software

Businesses run as well-oiled machines. And in an eyecare practice, you run all of your daily tasks through your practice management and EHR software, unless you're still a paper practice. So, hopefully the software that you're using is helping to fuel your practice to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

Maybe you've noticed a slow-down in your workflow, or your staff is complaining about bottlenecks and you're wondering if there is another software out there that could help fuel your practice for a re-charge. Cloud-based EHR solutions offer a few things that traditional, legacy software doesn't, and maybe it's just what your practice has been looking for.

How to Re-Charge Your Practice with a Cloud-Based EHR

24/7 Access to Your Systemundefined

With a client-server software, you've been stuck to only accessing your data from within the walls of your practice, and only on devices that have the software installed on them (unless you invested in a pricey solution where you can remotely access your system). But, with a cloud-based solution you don't have to install the system on any device. You simply log in by visiting a URL, which means you can access your system and data from outside of the office on any device, including tablets, with an Internet connection. In today's fast-paced, mobile world anytime access to your data is increasingly important!

Why Not Having an EHR or Practice Management System is the Wrong Decision

EHR and practice management software solutions are saving eyecare professionals time and money. If you haven't already switched from paper records yet, you are really hindering the expansion and success of your practice. Your paper record system might be the comfortable option, but in the long run it could really be hurting your practice.

You might fear making a transition to a new software, but the benefits greatly outweigh the costs. Not only will getting a new practice management system help your staff stay more organized, avoid Meaningful Use penalties, and speed up patient intake and appointment times, it also gives you, as an OD, incredible advantages.

4 Ways Not Having an EHR or Practice Management System is Hurting Your Practice

undefinedIt's Costing You Timeundefined

Without a practice management and EHR solution you're wasting time duplicating and entering data that you shouldn't have to record more than once. Your patient comes in and fills out paperwork before their appointments that you then enter into a system later, or have to manually sift through to find the information that you need. What if your patients could fill this data out online before they even walk into your office? You wouldn't have to deal with deciphering their handwriting, or entering the data in yourself. Depending on the system it can also take any necessary information and populate the entire patient record throughout the exam so that you only have to enter in data once. Think about all the time you could save!

Meaningful Use Criteria Tips: Audit Edition

Audit is one of the few words that can cause immediate stress and panic to anyone who works in an office. While an audit can be scary, they are also the best way to keep healthcare standardized and to ensure that all practices are meeting the same Meaningful Use criteria requirements and receiving all of the correct incentive payments for their efforts. Even though an audit on your practice can be a long and drawn out process, there are ways to reduce the intensity and immediacy of the trouble that an audit can cause. So, we came up with three tips for coping with an audit in your practice!

3 Tips for a Successful Meaningful Use Audit

Tip 1: Breathe. Don't Panic.undefined

So, you've been hit with an audit. The next step is determining which type of audit you are facing whether it's a pre or post-payment audit. A post-payment audit only happens after you have attested and received payment, and could result in repayments to the government if you are not up to the standards that you should be.

Audits are conducted by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). They make it a point to audit between five to ten percent of all documents they receive, which means you are not necessarily being targeted or under observation for suspicious activity. Most of the time, an audit is at random and is just in place to maintain a standard that all practices must live up to.

Most of the EHR Incentive Program's systems are designed to check over eligibility, reporting, and payment to ensure accuracy. Auditors tend to review practices who look like they are purposely transcribing less complicated codes. But, as long as you have complied with the program and maintained accurate documentation you should have nothing to be concerned about. When the CMS hires auditors, they pick from contractors who might not even specialize in the healthcare industry. So, if something is reported that you disagree with, do not be afraid to stand up for yourself and challenge it.

What You Need to Know About Complete vs. Modular EHR Software Certification

undefinedWhen choosing to participate in The Meaningful Use Program, you have two choices when it comes to purchasing your certified EHR software. Either you can use a complete certified EHR, or a module-based certified EHR. Both meet the requirements of meaningful use criteria for optometrists; however, one might work better than the other for your particular practice's needs, so we are going to go over the basic differences between the two.

Understanding the Differences of Complete and Modular EHR Software Certification

When you're shopping for practice management and EHR software and you see that one is flaunting a large "Complete Certified" label, what does it mean? How do they get this certification? What makes it different from a modular certified system?

Why Should You Be Looking for EHR Systems with Complete Certification?

undefinedIt can be difficult to find EHR systems that have complete 2014 Meaningful Use certification. In fact, the title of "Complete Certification" is only given to software that has been approved to give you all of the capabilities needed, as an OD, to successfully attest to Meaningful Use.

Complete certification is extremely important for your practice if you plan to participate in the Meaningful Use Incentive Program. You will not be able to attest and receive incentive payments unless you adopt an EHR that is certified for the year 2014. However, you may not be interested in participating in Meaningful Use, and you might be wondering why you should switch to a certified EHR. We have compiled a brief list detailing some of the great features a certified EHR system has to offer, outside of Meaningful Use.

9 Reasons Certified EHR Systems are a Necessity for Your Practice

5 Ways to Determine if It's a Cloud-Based EHR

undefinedDid you know that there are two types of cloud computing systems? A practice management and EHR system can be either cloud-hosted or cloud-based, and there are differences between the two that you should know about. Without some technical knowledge it can be hard to spot and understand the differences right off the bat. While many systems will advertise themselves as a cloud-based EHR, you should be aware of the differences between cloud-hosted and cloud-based systems.

Take a look at a quick definition between the two:

Cloud-Hosted: Your vendor hosts and manages your server for you remotely, but you still manage your software and it must be downloaded or installed on all devices accessing the system.

Cloud-Based: Your vendor hosts and manages your server and your software for you remotely, and you access the system and data from any device with an Internet browser.

How to Determine if a System is Truly a Cloud-Based EHR

What's the Scoop on Complete and Modular Optometry EHR Certification?

undefinedIf you're looking to purchase a new optometry EHR for your practice then Meaningful Use might be something you're thinking about participating in. And in order to participate in Meaningful Use, you'll need to purchase a 2014 certified EHR. Choosing to participate in The Meaningful Use Incentive Program means you'll be getting monetary incentives for completing the different stages of Meaningful Use, and you'll be avoiding penalties on your Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements come 2015.

But you might not realize that you have a choice when it comes to EHR certification for your system. You can purchase either a system with complete or modular certification. There are quite a few differences between the two, so we are going to give you the scoop!

Modular vs. Complete Optometry EHR Certification

3 Potential Problems You Might Have with Optometry EHR Software

Deciding on the ideal optometry EHR software for your practice can be like shopping for a new pair of shoes at the mall. There are so many brands and types of shoes, that you might just find yourself walking out of the mall empty handed because the choices were overwhelming. With hundreds of EHR software companies, each offering their unique features, it's important to know exactly what you're looking for so you can prevent yourself from feeling frustrated. Here's a smart first step optometrists can take:

Selecting an EHR Software: 5 Questions to Ask

undefinedWith hundreds of EHR software out there to choose from, selecting the right one for your practice can get overwhelming. Talk about making a decision! For starters, you can reflect on the goals your practice hopes to achieve with an EHR. This will help you pick out certain features and functions that you desire in an EHR software. To help you decide on your goals, we have 5 questions that can help you brainstorm and determine what EHR software is right for you!

5 Questions to Ask When Selecting an EHR Software

1. What are Your Needs?

Start by developing a list of specific features you're looking for in an EHR and rank them by importance. Some common features include e-prescribing, a patient portal, meaningful use certification, and graphical annotation. On top of these features, you should also think about ease of use and what type of technology your office is capable of running. Do you have technologically savvy staff that are comfortable with using new software? Do you have to go through multiple clicks to get a simple job done? What about accessibility? Would you prefer to work on a system that is optimized for tablet use? Accessing your needs and wants will eliminate a big portion of EHR vendors.

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