Choosing an optical practice management system is one of the biggest investments an eyecare practice can make. Heavy upfront costs and installation of regular upgrades is an investment of both time and money. And, with the push towards implementing Electronic Health Records from the EHR Incentive Program, it’s now more important than ever to make sure your current (or future) practice management system is satisfying your needs while fulfilling the new meaningful use guidelines.
There is no denying how beneficial and efficient practice management systems can be once you and your employees surpass the learning curve. However, according to the 2010 Physician Practice Technology Survey, 54 percent reported to be unsatisfied with their current system because it wasn’t living up to their expectations.
Where Might Your Optical Practice Management System be Lacking?
1. An Easy-to-Use and Intuitive Interface
Remember that extremely uptight and controlling teacher you had? She was very particular about written journal assignments, demanded anything you wrote was in cursive, and perfectly formatted to her standards. It’s your journal. Why can’t you write in the way that is more comfortable to you? Many opticians and ODs feel the same way about their practice management system.
From the 2010 Physician Practice Technology Survey, 55.8 percent responded to wishing their current system had a more intuitive interface. Many concerns comprised of the following: not being able to customize the exam to look like paper charts, inhibited from customizing the reports themselves, limited note-taking room, the scheduler is too small, lack of equipment interfaces, and customizability of the work flow screens.
That’s why we believe a practice management system should have a clean and simple design with a limited amount of clicking through scheduling, diagnosis, treatment, coding, and billing. On top of fewer clicks, a system with the freedom to be used on tablets should have large buttons for easy touch control. What other features make up an easy-to-use interface? Drag and drop ability, search options, and access to frequently used items are all recommended qualities for any system!
2. More Mobility
Imagine having a practice management system on a specific desktop computer that stores all of your patient information. You have to go through long countless mouse clicks to access the information you need. Even the manual paper process of searching for information might be faster than all those clicks. This, as well as double entry, leads to longer exams. Longer exams mean that the doctor can’t see as many people an hour, leading to decreased practice efficiency. A less efficient practice ultimately produces less profit.
The purpose of a practice management system is to keep your eyecare practice running as smoothly as possible for maximum efficiency. It should take care of the financial aspect of your practice, from scheduling patients to billing to generating monthly reports.
With the right practice management system, you can access your patient’s information from multiple devices instead of having your desktop at one location. Now you can carry your tablet around the office to visit multiple patients and still have access to all of your information. ODs can also open their system outside the office so you don’t have to be stuck behind your desk all day. You can leave the office at a reasonable time and finish what you need to at the comfort of your own home; all you need is access to the Internet to reach your system.
3. Embedded Tools
If you currently have a practice management system, that’s great! You’re on your way to looking out for the best of your eyecare practice. But are you having to pay additional fees to get additional integrated tools? Some systems even claim they have other functions embedded in the system but you still might have to purchase them separately.
When 20/20 asked practitioners what features they wished their practice management system had, “a more robust accounting function” topped their list. Many practices find themselves having to use their own accounting software instead of one (if any) offered through their PMS.
In addition, there are other integrations that make for a better practice management system. The best method is to bundle all your systems together so they integrate efficiently with each other to get the most of your software investment. Uprise is available with the following embedded tools that are automatically provided to you without any extra cost or additional integrations:
- CodeSAFE® from ReimbursementPLUS®
- VitalHealth Software
4. Better Reporting
Do you feel frustrated because your practice management system offers poor drawings for documentations or needs better reports in general? You aren’t alone. 62.3 percent of respondents from the 2010 Physician Practice Technology Survey named “better reporting” as the number one feature they wished their current practice management system offered.
And who’s to argue with them? In order to receive compensation from the EHR Incentive Program, eyecare practices must demonstrate meaningful use, partially from reports generated by their practice management system.
You need to be able to customize your reports so it is easier for you to understand your optometric practice. By having the right operational features and visual analytics, your practice management system will improve your bottom line and increase efficiency. Find a practice management system that will generate interactive reports including financial, auditing, and analysis reports to better identify issues such as unusual billing patterns and billing errors. PM systems, like Uprise, also provides your eyecare practice a better insight into your patient database by analyzing appointment durations, demographics, and best-selling ophthalmic products.
5. Faster Go-Live with Less Setup
Eyecare practices often complain that installation can be pricey and time consuming. And, when they decide to introduce a new device at the office they are required to pay additional licensing fee and take time to install the software. This means you may have to hire a team of IT specialists to install or update all of your software. Also, when it is time to update the system, you have to purchase the upgrades yourself and deal with long and complicated re-installation processes on every device. Once that’s complete, employees have to be trained on how to use the system. But because opticians and ODs are short on time, proper training doesn’t occur and employees don’t learn how to efficiently use the system.
We’ve talked about cloud-based technology a lot these days, and believe this technology could be the answer to make practice management systems easier to deal with. Because accessing the cloud only requires an Internet connection, a practice management system offered through the cloud could be accessed using any device, from anywhere, without having to annually install the software on each and every computer or iPad. So, when you decide to purchase those new iPads for the office, you wouldn’t need to worry about installing the software on the new devices since you access your system simply by logging into your account through a URL. On top of that, with cloud-based solutions updates happen automatically and on-the-go so employees will usually only have to learn one new process at a time, not an entirely upgraded system all at once.
So now that there is less time spent on getting the system up and running and maintaining it, employees have more training time. As a result, they become more proficient and the benefits are seen sooner, so your practice management system can be up and running in no time! That is the beauty of cloud-based technology.
A cloud-based practice management and EHR solution could be the next best thing for your practice. Find out if Uprise can fit your eyecare needs!