Optical Resources: Do Online Reviews Give You The Heebie-Jeebies?

Posted by Janelle Pauli on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

Today, more and more people are turning to the Internet to get information about products and services they are interested in. And with popular review sites, like Yelp, it has become even easier for customers to give feedback about any business, both good...and bad. And whether you're receiving good or bad reviews, there's an appropriate response for handling each one.

Bad reviews can be hard to deal with. After reading something bad about your practice it's easy to get defensive about the situation, and you may be even more frustrated if the review is a one sided version of the whole story. But, the bad review is out there and responding negatively will only draw more attention. So, how do you handle a bad online review? We've got a few tips of what you shouldn't do when dealing with negative reviews!

Optical Resources and Advice to Ignore When Youoptical resources Get a Negative Online Review

Don't Become a Part of the Conversation

The number one thing not to do - ignore the bad review. If you have the opportunity to publicly respond to the issue at hand, you should. That way, potential customers who read the review know that you're responsive and are looking for ways to help resolve the issue. While it's important to address the problem with a response to the bad review, the next step is to take the conversation offline so that both parties can express their concerns and agree upon a solution without bringing in more attention.

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4 Ways Your EHR Software is as Scary as Halloween

Posted by Sharon Chin on Tue, Oct 14, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

EHR_Software_halloween1Halloween may scream commercialism to many these days, but I still find it the spookiest time of the year. Scary-looking masks and haunted houses scare me even though they aren’t real. But what a lot of doctors fear in their office is very real. Terrifying EHR software that doesn't work can be a real obstacle to running your practice efficiently. Don’t let your EHR scare you! If your system is showing the following signs, it’s time to switch your EHR.

Why Your EHR Software Might be Scaring You

It has an Ugly Interface

Like a scary mask, a bad interface can be a fright! Even if the software has all the perfect functions, a complicated and cluttered interface can make it hard to find critical data resulting in more time taken to complete an exam or even an inaccurate diagnosis. EHR software these days can do so much for your practice. But there’s no need to compromise form for function!

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How to Calculate New Patient Growth Per Year

Posted by Janelle Pauli on Thu, Oct 09, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

As an independent optometrist, it's important to make sure that you're measuring the right benchmarks in your practice. Not only are you seeing patients on a daily schedule, but you're also trying to manage a business. Successfully doing both can be tricky, and a lot of work. It's important not to just go through the motions, but to really monitor where your practice is succeeding and failing.

Today, we're going to take a look at one important benchmark that you should be paying attention to as least on a yearly basis, New Patient Growth Per Year. If you're not successfully bringing in new patients each year, it's hard to say that you're truly running a successful business. While it may seem like you're seeing new patients weekly, what about your existing patients that you haven't seen all year?

How to Calculate New Patient Growth Per Year

How_to_Calculate_New_Patient_Growth

Industry Average: 8-10%

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Trick or Treat: Meaningful Use Criteria for Optometrists Edition

Posted by Sharon Chin on Tue, Oct 07, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

With Halloween around the corner, we think it’s time for a little trick or treating! But instead of candy, we’re throwing in facts about meeting Meaningful Use criteria for optometrists. We’ve passed the October 1, 2014 deadline to receive financial incentives, but you can still participate to avoid penalties. Don’t get tricked by the misinformation thrown out there. Treat yourself to these facts!

Are You Getting Tricked by these Meaningful Use Criteria for Optometrists?

Meaningful_Use_Criteria_for_Optometrists_trick_or_treat

Trick: Cloud-based EHR systems can’t be used for Meaningful Use because they don’t meet HIPAA compliance standards.

Treat: Any system, including a cloud-based system, which has been certified for 2014 standards, is HIPAA compliant and eligible to attest for Meaningful Use.

So a system goes through a crazy certification process and all sorts of verifications to become a certified EHR and it misses HIPAA compliance? No way! It’s easy to discredit something you don’t know much about. In this case, cloud computing systems in the optometry field are more advanced than many may think. Since HIPAA places strict privacy standards on all providers in the medical industry, all vendors, including cloud vendors, are required to give you the best security possible.

In fact, EHR cloud vendors can provide better data security than most can accomplish in their own practice. Reputable cloud vendors encrypt your data, use separate databases for each user, and host their systems in facilities that have security controls that many practices cannot afford to provide on their own.

And to make sure that your data is safe, part of the core objectives for Stage 1 and 2 of the Meaningful Use Program requires you to perform a full security risk analysis of your certified EHR. This way, both you and your vendor are responsible for the security and privacy of your data.

Trick: I can switch between the Medicare and Medicaid Meaningful Use programs whenever I find that one is easier for me.

Treat: That’s almost true! If you are eligible for both, you are allowed to switch programs, but there are limits and stipulations!

There are two programs within the Meaningful Use Program that you can participate in: The Medicare Incentive Program and Medicaid Incentive Program. Optometrists and ophthalmologists qualify as eligible professionals but you will need to check your eligibility before you begin.

Most optometrists will only be eligible for the Medicare Incentive Program. But if you are eligible for both, you may switch between both programs as many times as necessary prior to receiving your first attestation. However, once a payment is received, you may switch one more time. But it is strongly advised to stick to one as both programs have different requirements.

Trick: The Stage 3 delay to 2017 means payment adjustments will begin in 2016 instead of 2015.

Treat: The Final Rule will bring about a couple of changes, but a delay in payment adjustments is not one of them. Those will still begin at the start of 2015. But to avoid 2016 penalties, you can apply for a hardship exemption!

Stage 3 has been delayed to begin in 2017, instead of 2016. The delay will only affect early adopters of the program who started in 2011 or 2012. Early adopters will have to stay in Stage 2 for another year in 2016. The payment adjustment, however, will not be delayed for another year, and will still begin on January 1, 2015.

If you did not attest by October 1, 2014, you will be hit by penalties next year. But you can still apply for a hardship exemption to avoid 2016 penalties.

There are many circumstances that will allow you to apply for a hardship exemption, including:

  • Newly practicing eligible professionals who would not have had time to become meaningful users. If you begin practicing in 2015, you may receive an exception to the payment adjustments in 2015 and 2016, but would have to begin demonstrating Meaningful Use in 2016 to avoid payment adjustments in 2017.
  • Infrastructure issues. You must be able to show that you are in an area without sufficient Internet access.
  • Unforeseen circumstances, such as natural disasters. This will be evaluated by the CMS on a case-by-case basis. Note that your application must be submitted this year, and that an application is not a guaranteed exception.

Meaningful Use is a confusing topic for many, and it’s not any easier with all kinds of changes being made to the program. Subscribe to the blog for more Meaningful Use updates, tips, and tricks!

 

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R.I.P. ICD-9: How EHR Software Can Help You Mourn

Posted by Kate Nabinger on Thu, Oct 02, 2014 @ 10:10 AM

When you file claims to private insurance providers and Medicaid, you use ICD-9 codes to report. With all of the advances and updates made with medical data sine the last updates to ICD-9 in 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has decided that it is time to upgrade to new ICD-10 codes. Since it has show that the transition may take some time, you still have 12 months to switch, with October 1, 2015 as the deadline. While it may seem like a long road ahead to adjust to the new system, there is a light at the end of the tunnel: many Meaningful Use Certified EHR Software comes equipped with the new ICD-10 codes built in to help make your transition easier.

How ICD-10 Will Benefit You and Your EHR Software

Improve Patient Care Across Providers

ICD-10 reporting has more details and provides more information with every code, to provide a more comprehensive patient history to share across healthcare providers. This means that patients will receive consistent, superior healthcare, regardless of which medical discipline they are visiting. 

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