There's something we can all relate to when it comes to government policies. We nag about why they keep changing when everything was going perfectly fine, and we find it difficult to implement the new policies and deadlines into our lives. Truth is, policies are always changing and updating in order for healthcare to become more efficient.
As you may know, the deadline for using optical software to implement Meaningful Use into your practice so that you avoid penalties in 2015 is coming up. Because you have to complete your 90 day reporting period of Stage 1 by the end of this year, it's easy to put things off when you don't realize the importance of the policy. So let's take a look at the differences and what you have to complete in order to attest for stages 1, 2, and 3 of Meaningful Use, and how each stage has, and will, contribute to the betterment of your practice.
Using Your Optical Software to Complete The Different Stages of Meaningful Use
Meaningful Use Stage 1 focuses on data capturing and sharing, which includes:
- Electronically capturing health information in a standardized format
- Using that information to track key clinical conditions
- Communicating that information for care coordination processes
- Initiating reporting of CQMs and public health information
- Using information to engage pateints and their families in their care
To start participating in Meaningful Use, you begin with Stage 1. If you're planning on attesting to Stage 1 of Meaningful Use in 2014 there are a few deadlines you should know. You must begin your 90 days of Stage 1 Meaningful Use and have enough time to complete your reporting period before the end of the year to avoid payment penalites in 2015. And, after your 90 days don't forget that you'll still need to complete a full year of meeting Stage 1 requirements in 2015. Since you're starting Stage 1 of Meaningful Use in 2014 you'll need an EHR system that is 2014 certified.
Meaningful Use Stage 2 Focuses on advanced clinical processes, which includes:
- More rigorous HIE
- Increased requirements for E-Prescribing and incorporating lab results
- Electronic transmission of patient care summaries accross multiple settings
- More patient-controlled data
If you're done with Stage 1 and you're starting Stage 2 of Meaningful Use in 2014, here is what you should know:
You must attest with a 2014 certified EHR system. EHR systems that have 2011 certification are no longer valid and need to re-certify. So there is a good chance that the system you were using to attest Stage 1 of Meaningful Use isn't going to be certified right away for you to start Stage 2. You'll either have to wait for your EHR vendor to get certified for 2014, or purchase a different certified system.
Meaningful Use Stage 3 is going to focus on improved outcomes, which includes:
- Improving quality, safety, and efficiency
- CDS for national high-priority conditions
- Patient access to self-management tools
- Access to comprehensive patient data through patient-centered HIE
- Improving population health
The deadline for Stage 3 of Meaningful Use has been pushed back and is now scheduled to begin in 2017, instead of the original scheduled year of 2016.
Hopefully this helped clear up any confusion with the three stages of Meaningful Use! Need help boosting your Meaningful Use and software technology knowledge? Check out our Practice Management & EHR Dictionary, it includes 40+ terms !
It’s time for another Optical Vision Site post! We are always excited to share some of their fun ideas, and this month, they would like to show you some eyecare practice marketing tips, particularly, the importance of visual merchandising. They’ve got some great resources to share, and we hope to see more practices decorated with some of these fun eye themes!
Tips for Eyecare Practice Marketing: Visual Merchandising
Why Visual Merchandising is Important
Not all of us are great at the visual. We know what we like and are attracted to. We know individually we walk into stores because of the window displays. And, we probably all know that effective visual displays can increase eyewear sales from 10% to 15%. That is a hefty increase, which is why we have been pushing Visual Merchandising for the last several months.
- Engages and inspires customers to make a purchase.
- Return on your investment of retail space.
- Builds your personal and store brand - think first impressions.
- Enhances customer comfort and ease of shopping.
- Gives you personality - sets you apart from your competition.
That said, you don’t have to be a brilliant visual merchandiser, which is why we have on our Pinterest Boards, several merchandising ideas for all type of spaces.
10 Resources for Eyewear Displays
10. Other Sources
- If you are looking to put a big sign, indoors or out, check out some of the ideas here on our Shady Sculpted Signs board.
- Thinking of redecorating? Need some inspiration check out our Visual Merchandising board? This board has all sorts of color combinations, eyewear displays, and layouts. You can see more from Fashion Optical Displays.
- Need some ideas for Window Displays - large and small? Check out our Merchandising Eyewear Display.
- Want to add a few ‘Eyewear- Eyeball Accents’ into the office? Check out our Merchandizing Board: Optical Decor. Look at eyeball chairs and lamps, eye chart decor, and optometrist decor. All accent pieces come with the theme of eyeglasses and eyeballs.
- Need some ideas to inspire your patients on Sunglass Storage? Check out Super Sunglass and Eyeglass Storage Ideas. These are fun DIY projects that you can show your patients or make yourself and put in some dead areas in the exam room, the bathroom, or even down the hall.
- Got some old eye charts and want to reuse them? Check out our Pinterest board Eye Charts. We also have Eye Charts scattered through the other merchandising boards.
- Other Eye Decor you can find on our Eye Got Time, which features eyewear with watches and clocks with eyeglasses and eyeballs. A few accent pieces to put in the office.
- Another board we called Bespectacled Branding offers some ideas along with merchandising on building your Brand, from business cards (old and new) to stationary, to pens.
- We also offer merchandising ideas by events. Because our eyecare merchandising boards are growing, we are going to be breaking them out by seasonal displays. Each holiday offers displays, optical fun (for Facebook), some recipes, and infographics. We are changing this to make it more of a ‘Holiday Marketing In A Box’ type of board for our readers to use as a resource. Currently we have the following holidays up:
- Use the following keyword search: visual merchandising, retail store display, store window, retail merchandising, retail design, retail store windows, and vm design.
- Flickr also has sources of retail store displays.
We realize that many of you might have your reservations when it comes to keeping
your data secure in the cloud. Especially when you hear about data breaches in the news, like the current Heartbleed situation.
In the past you might have been keeping your data safe in your office with a client-server solution, and you've been hiring out an IT consultant to help make sure that your system and data is as secure as possible. Well, what if your software vendor took care of that for you? That's what happens when you move your data to the cloud. Your vendor is responsible for the security and privacy of your data. So what is it exactly that makes cloud computing in optical more secure than keeping your data safe in your own practice?
Cloud Computing in Optical: Keeping Your Data Safe
How should you choose a vendor?
Any vendor that offers services in the cloud, lives and dies by their level of security. So choosing a vendor that's been around for a while and has experience and stability is going to help ensure that your data is secure. Another thing to consider when choosing a vendor is knowing what their plan would be if something were to happen to your connection or data. They should have a service-level agreement and a plan in place in the event of an incident. Knowing that the vendor has a recovery plan in place is going to allow you some piece of mind.
Where is your data actually being stored?
The cloud is an abstract thought to a lot of people, and it can be hard to understand where your data is actually being stored. Well, your data isn't actually floating around in the air, it's still being stored on servers at a facility. These facilities offer top of the line enterprise level security standards. High-end security includes things like environmental controls, security guards, security cameras, back up power supply, and authorized access which are just a few examples of things that cloud vendors are able to provide when it comes to physical security of your data. If you were to offer these same levels of security, storing data in your office would be quite expensive.
What about the data?
There are also a number of ways that your data can be protected on top of the physical protection that a top of the line facility can provide. There are measures put in place that keep your data secure from cyber threats as well. Data encryption protects the integrity and availability of data that is stored in the cloud, and it ensures that all of your data will remain confidential even if it falls into the wrong hands. Especially in health care, it's important to seek out a vendor who provides a high level of encryption security.
How do you access your data?
While one of the biggest benefits of using cloud computing is that you can access your data from any device with an Internet connection, but this also raises the question about the security of access. This is something to discuss with your vendor. How is identity and access monitored? Who has access to your data? Who can make changes to your system and data?
Long story short, your data will be safe in the cloud, and likely more safe than you could keep it in your own office. Just be aware of some of these different points about security that you should make a point to talk about with your software vendor when moving your data to the cloud. Once your vendor explains all of the details and securities they have in place to manage your data you'll rest assured that your data is safe and sound.
Want to learn more about cloud computing in optical? Check out our eBook!
Two weeks ago the VisionWeb team was out in NYC for Vision Expo East. We always enjoy the time out of the office to visit with current and future customers, along with our friends in the industry. We spent a lot of time talking to our booth visitors about Uprise, and what our cloud-based eyecare practice management software can do for their practice. We got a lot of great feedback, and we really value the face to face time we get with the people who make up the optical industry.
We know that not everyone can make it out to Vision Expo every year, so we wanted to share with you some of the pictures we took from the show in case you missed it. And if you are in the market for a new practice management and EHR software, don't forget to take a look at Uprise!
VisionWeb is also a proud sponsor of the Optical Women's Association (OWA). Each year at Vision Expo East the OWA holds the Pleiades Award Reception. The OWA is a great organization that is open to all women in the optical industry. If you're looking for a new way to get to know others in the industry - this is your chance! We took a few pictures at the event to show you just what you could be involved in!
If you missed us at Vision Expo, don't worry, you can still check out Uprise, our cloud-based practice management and EHR solution!
We have some information from Emdeon that we'd like to share with you
regarding optometry insurance, changes to the new CMS 1500 form, and the ICD-10 delay. We know each of these topics can be confusing, especially lately, so we hope this will clear up a few of your questions.
There are two critical things you need to know about the new CMS 1500 form:
- We can now accept claims uploaded using the new form. However, you must work with us to update your account settings before you switch to the new form.
- There is no urgent need to upgrade to the new form related to the CMS April 1 deadline. You will need to upgrade your print image output to accomodate ICD-10 codes in advance of the 2015 deadline, but the April deadline has no relevance for claims submitted through us.
All the changes and deadlines can be confusing and hard to keep track of, but the most important things for you to understand are that we support the new form, but you don't need to switch to the new form right now, and anytime you make a change to how you send your claims you must work with us to change your account settings.
Your Optometry Insurance Questions Answered
What is the April 1st CMS deadline?
As of April 1st, any claims that are delivered to CMS by mail must utilize the new version of the CMS 1500 form.
Does the April 1st deadline impact me?
If you submit all of your claims through VisionWeb, the April 1st deadline should have no impact on you. Any claim you submit though, regardless of what form you send it to us in, will be converted to a discrete, electronic format (ANSI X12 5010) before being submitted to the payer. Since the payer receives the claim in an electronic format, not a print image format, the print form utilized by you to create the claim originally is irrelevant. Note that even for the few payers where we don't have a direct connection for electronic submission, our process for printing and mailing claims to those payers will output your data on the new form. However, if you print a fraction of your claims directly from your practice management system and mail them yourself to a payer, then you will need to upgrade to the new form before submitting any additional claims by mail.
Do I need to upgrade to the new CMS 1500 form, ever?
Possibly not. The most obvious change in the new form is that it will allow you to send a larger number of diagnosis codes and will support submission of the longer ICD-10 codes. However, if your practice management system will allow you to output ICD-10 codes on your existing print image form, we can configure your account to read ICD-10 codes on that old form, which will reduce the need for you to upgrade to the new form. There are a number of issues you should consider regarding ICD-10 and your practice management system. You might need to upgrade to a new practice management system that supports ICD-10.
- Does your practice management system support ICD-10 codes or otherwise allow you to enter ICD-10 codes? If not, you will need to upgrade your system before the October 2015 deadline.
- Because ICD-10 codes contain more characters than ICD-9 codes, your practice management system may be unable to output the entire code. If this is the case, you'll need to upgrade.
- Because ICD-10 codes are significantly more specific than ICD-9 codes you may need to include more diagnoses with your claim then you've used in the past. If your practice is such that you are likely to need more than eight ICD-10 codes, you will need to upgrade to the new form, which supports a larger number of codes.
- On a related note, the old CMS 1500 form supports only four diagnosis fields. If you find that you need more than four codes, we can support an additional four fields output to other places on the form, but diagnoses five through eight will only be available to you if your practice management system provides a consistent way to include them somewhere on the old form.
What do I need to do if I want to send ICD-10 codes on my current CMS 1500 form, rather than upgrading my CMS 1500 form?
Before you begin sending ICD-10 codes you must contact us to make a minor change on your account. We recommend that we coordinate this change to occur ahead of when you actually being sending ICD-10 codes. We provide the option for you to include information in your claims that states whether diagnosis codes are ICD-9s or ICD-10s. This is useful, but not critical, if we reconfigure your system for ICD-10 support in advance of the date on which you being sending ICD-10 codes. If you're not able to provide the code type, we will assume that the diagnosis codes you are sending are ICD-9. The more compelling need for inclusion of the code type information comes in the event that certain claims for service after the deadline fall within some type of yet-undefined exemption requiring use of ICD-9 codes. The code type qualifier provides support for handling any such exception, should the need arise.
If you have any questions regarding CMS 1500 or ICD-10 feel free to contact our insurance team at 800.590.0873800.590.0873, or email at email@example.com! And, if you want to get the latest optometry insurance information straight to your inbox, subscribe to the blog!
There is a lot to learn when it comes to Meaningful Use and optical software for your practice. And with all of the different information out there it can be hard to separate fantasy from fact. So we put together an eBook to help you sort through everything that has to do with Meaningful Use.
Because we know, that as an eyecare provider, you can't live in a fantasy world. And, when it comes to Meaningful Use you probably have a lot of unanswered questions. How do you avoid penalties? What kind of EHR do you need to participate? How much money can you earn in incentives? What steps are required to attest?
Download the eBook to get all of these answers!
Meaningful Use and Optical Software
Fantasy vs. Fact
Like what you see? Download a copy of the eBook today!
The word "cloud" is becoming part of everyone's daily vocabulary. Whether you know the true meaning of it or not, you know that the cloud is an important part of technology today.
The cloud is essentially the Internet. If you're used a cloud-based system in your office then you access your system by logging into a website via a web browser. You don't have to worry about the hassles of having an onsite server in your practice, or installing software on all of your computers. Your vendor hosts and manages your data for you. While those are just the basics, we've got a list of truths and April Fools to help you understand the cloud computing in optical even better!
April Fools: Cloud Computing in Optical Edition
Cloud Computing is Just a Fad
April Fools. Although the cloud is more of a recent buzzword in optical, this type of technology has been around for a while, and is here to stay. While it takes a while for eyecare providers to adopt this type of technology as it requires change in workflow and is a big investment in purchasing a new system, more and more practices are adopting the cloud into their offices!
Cloud-Based and Cloud-Hosted are the Same Thing
April Fools. Cloud-based and cloud-hosted practice management and EHR systems are two different things. With a true cloud-based system your software and data are both hosted and managed by the cloud vendor. You don't worry about maintaining servers in your office, installing software, or manual upgrades. And, you access your system from the Internet so you have the freedom to log into your system from any device with an Internet connection.
A cloud-hosted system is where your servers are hosted and managed offsite by your vendor, but your software is still manually installed on each computer in your office. The IT burden of managing and securing a server is taken off of your practice, but you still have to take care of installing and upgrading your software on your own.
Security in The Cloud is Top Notch
True! While some people may worry about security in the cloud, it is actually often more secure than the security you can provide in your own office. It is likely that if you're managing your own server that you've hired an outside IT consultant to help make sure your system is managed safely. When your data is in the cloud, your vendor is managing it's security with enterprise level security that you wouldn't be able to provide in your own practice without paying a hefty price.
Cloud Computing is Going to Increase My Efficiency
True! While you maybe be satisfied with your current way of doing things, cloud computing could help make your staff more efficient in the long run. Cloud-based systems give you the freedom to access the system from any device, including tablets. Carrying around a table throughout the exam could save you and your staff time from logging in and out of the system as you move from room-to-room. Many cloud-based systems were also built to decrease the amount of clicking it takes to get you to the information that you want. Less clicking leads to an increased workflow throughout the exam.
Cloud-Based Software is Too Expensive
April Fools. While the costs of cloud-based systems vary across the board, there are many things to consider when thinking about the total cost of ownership of a system. Cloud-based systems come with a predictable monthly subscription-based pricing style. You don't have to worry about heavy upfront hardware costs, or costs of purchasing upgrades to the software down the road. Another thing to consider is the cost of other tools you will have to purchase and integrate with your system including E-Prescribing, patient education material, or coding and billing software. Some softwares come with these tools built right into the system!
Now that you've learned a thing or two about cloud computing in optical, check out Uprise our cloud-based practice management and EHR solution!
We all have an expertise we hold that's sensitive to change and judgement. For many eye care providers that expertise is patient care and practice management. And you've probably been doing things the same way in your practice for a long time. So maybe you think you don't need to brush up on the latest technologies because, why fix something that's not broken? Your practice is constantly busy, has a productive staff, and patients are ultimately getting their orders, no matter how long your staff gets put on hold by optical labs.
At the end of the day, you see no reason why your daily optical dispensing tasks need to be changed. After all, a successful business is one that constantly brings in clients, right? You may think that your way may be the "best" way, but it's time to open up your mind and consider how your practice can be even better than the best!
Optical Dispensing: How Online Ordering Can Save You Some Extra Time
1. Speed Up Orders
The "Drop Shipping" feature allows you to expidite order processing on jobs requiring frames that your practice doesn't currently have in stock. Follow these steps to have your frames "drop shipped":
1. Log in to your VisionWeb account
2. Go to the My Accounts section
3. Set up your lab account as "Dropship Accounts"
4. Select the frames that you wish to order from VisionWeb's frames engine
5. Select the lab where you would like the frames sent to in the "Dropship Location" field
Follow these 5 simple steps and your frames will ship directly to your lab to accompany our VisionWeb "frame to come" spectacle lens job!
2. 24/7 Order Tracking
With our "Tracking Orders" feature, you no longer have to waste time on the phone with labs trying to figure our the status of an order. Tracking your orders is an easy process and is available to you 24/7. Having the ability to check on your orders from one location at any time lets you see the most updated information to communicate to your patients anytime they request.
3. Reuse Frequent Orders
Think about the most common RX lens prescriptions. Wouldn't it be nice to have quick access to them? With the "Favorite Order Template" you can create a "favorite order" in your pending orders. This feature allows you to reuse the same template as many times as needed. Not only will this save you time entering the same information for each individual patient, but it will also decrease the likelihood of making mistakes.
4. Stop Re-entering Orders
Getting sidetracked during a busy day at the office is a common, as patients come in and out all day. When you are entering a patient's order into your VisionWeb account and a patient comes in that you have to tend to, you might immediately close out of the order that you're working on. But what if we told you that you no longer have to re-enter information due to an incoming patient?
Entering information twice because of an interruption is history. By saving an order as "pending," you are able to start an order, save it, and then come back to it later for edits. Then, once you're ready, you can send it off to the lab without having to re-enter any information. This allows you to greet patients as soon as they walk in the door instead of leaving them hanging while you finish up an order.
Check out the video tutorial!
5. No More Manual Entering
With our Frames Data Assist Tool, you no longer have to manually enter a frame or frame measurements. All VisionWeb users have the ability to search the Frames Data catalog, select a frame, and the frame measurements will automatically populate. If you are a subscriber, you can link your account with VisionWeb to view wholesale pricing and a color image of the frame.
See the video tutorial!
6. Access Current and Potential Suppliers from One Location
VisionWeb gives you the ability to connect with over 400 spectacle lens, contact lens, and frame suppliers giving us the most supplier connections in the eyecare industry! Through VisionWeb, you can connect with all of these suppliers in one convenient location. You can also access all of your own suppliers in one place, which will increase efficiency and reduce your turnaround time. Adding a new supplier to your VisionWeb account is super easy! So say goodbye to visiting multiple sites to place all your product orders!
View the tutorial for adding a new supplier!
7. Versatile Accessability
So now you know the benefits of utilizing the various features on VisionWeb, but wouldn't it be great if you could access all of your information on the go? Well not you can! By downloading the VisionWeb Mobile App, you will be able to review your pending and archived orders, check the status of orders being processed at the lab, and more! So no matter where you are, you will always have access to your orders.
Want to start saving your practice time by utilizing online product ordering? Check out VisionWeb today!
Maintaining and building your customer base is one of an eyecare practice's biggest goals. And, you've probably got some competition with other eyecare providers in your area. So what can you be doing to help build your customer base, and not lose any current customers to the competition?
Having healthy doctor-patient relationships with your customers is a big part of keeping your customers happy. Have you thought about how your eyecare practice management software plays a roll in helping you keep and gain new customers?
How Eyecare Practice Management Software Helps You Keep Customers
Increases the Efficiency of Your Workflow
Your office probably crams in as many patients as possibly everyday of the week, but this can get hectic and it's easy for your schedule to fall behind if it is packed too full. With the right practice management and EHR software, you can boost the efficiency of your workflow making it easier to shuffle patients through their appointments faster, all while maintaining a high level of patient care. Before you go out looking for a new practice management and EHR software, think about the workflow and the needs of your office. Would it be easier to access your system from a tablet so that you can carry it with you from room to room and pull up patient information with the tap of a button? When it's all said and done, greater efficiency in your practice workflow is going to equal more satisfied patients.
Access to Educational Materials and a Patient Portal
These days, patients are looking to take more control over their healthcare. Access to a patient portal is a great way to provide information and resources to help patients take control. With a patient portal, your patients will be able to log into their medical profile at anytime giving them access to things like appointment requests, personal information, prescriptions, treatment instructions, questionnaires, educational materials, and lab results. Patients will also get access to any referrals given by the healthcare provider to ensure an easier and quicker follow up process with specialists. Patient portals really empower patients to become more involved with healthcare professionals throughout the entire process.
Integrate Your Online Ordering
When patients come in for new frames and contacts, they usually want them as fast as they can get them. So don't make them wait. If you integrate an online ordering tool with your eyecare practice management software, all of your orders can be placed and tracked from one convenient location. With Visionweb's online ordering tool, your lab orders are going to be sent straight into the lab's management system, which will put your orders ahead of phone and fax orders that have to manually be entered into their system. This is also going to reduce the chance of human error on orders that have to be transcribed multiple times. Getting your orders back faster is a simply way to help keep your customers smiling!
We know each practice has different needs when it comes to looking for a practice management and EHR solution. Check out this eBook, Selecting a Practice Management & EHR solution: The Ultimate Guide for Optometry, for help on picking out the right solution for you!
While there are many benefits of investing in a claim management solution for your eyecare practice. We want to talk about one of the biggest reasons of them all: ERA Management. Your billing department plays a very important role in your eyecare practice, so it's important that they have the tools and solutions necessary to do their job right!
There are a handful of other benefits of a claims management solution for your eyecare practice that include managing your claims with thousands of payers in one location, patient eligibility checks, claim status reports, real-time claim tracking, secondary claim submission, and detailed reporting and analytics. But today, we're just going to focus on one, and that's ERA Management.
ERA Management & Your Claim Management Solution
If you're not already utilizing ERA autoposting, you're probably still receiving this information in the form of paper EOBs. Technology is moving information to the computer, which will help you and your staff better manage the massive amounts of information that you keep in your practice. And that's not any different with claim filing. With ERA management, your system will automatically interpret remittance information received from your payers (which typically arrives in the form of a paper EOB), and deliver it to you electronically. Getting information in this format is easier to search and filter through than stacks of paper.
So What Else Does an ERA Management Service Give You?
Practical Information Management
- Remittance information is automatically stored for you for seven years
- Export your reports into an Excel document for easy remittance advice archiving
- Printer-friendly EOBs allow you to print by patient as needed for secondary claim processing
- Download and import ERA into your compatible practice management software for auto-posting in a snap
Detailed Summary Views
- Summary views with reasons for adjustments, denials, and reductions
- Transaction-level and claim-level summaries
Dynamic Search Options
- Search and sort remittance information by provider, payer, date range, check number, or payment method
- Reduced paperwork for your staff
- Simplified remittance balancing with detailed online payment visibility
- Faster communication of payment notification
- Expedited account receivable reconciliation
Want to learn more about how a claims management solution and ERA management could benefit your billing department? Check out our ebook!