Have you ever sent an email through Gmail, video chatted on Skype, or listened to music on Spotify? If you have, you have already used cloud based technology. So, you’ve used the cloud in your personal life and are familiar with it, but what exactly is cloud computing and how can it help your business?
Cloud computing refers to storing and accessing data and programs through the Internet. Services in the cloud are managed by a provider and your data is stored on an external network of servers. The information you store is available through a reliable Internet connection. There is no longer a need to invest in computer hardware with heavy upfront costs. With cloud applications, all you’re required to do is load the application once, log in, and start using it. And best of all, most cloud services have a subscription pricing model, so you only pay for what you use!
So using cloud based applications is easy, but why should your practice adopt the cloud?
3 Advantages of Cloud Computing to Improve Your Practice
1. Saves You Time and Money
Running applications through an onsite server at your own office, rather than in the cloud, can rack up huge expenses. In addition to paying high upfront costs for software, you also have to pay for a client based server system to support it. Although this will enable your practice to store large amounts of data, it’s not cheap. Moving your day-to-day business functions, including your practice management system and electronic health records to the cloud has the potential to save you big bucks!
Most cloud services use a pay as you use price model or charge a monthly subscription fee. This means that you won't be paying for space that you don’t use. Even though some monthly subscription fees may seem high, if you take into account all your expenses, it is cheaper in the long run. With a monthly subscription, you are also cutting out ongoing maintenance and upgrade expenses. By using the cloud, maintenance is performed and your system is upgraded automatically by the Vendor. This not only saves you money on hiring experts to maintain your system, but also means you won’t have to take time out of your busy schedule to maintain these updates.
Having in-house servers requires your practice to have extensive IT knowledge. A team of experts will need to be hired (yet, creating another expense) to install, test, and secure these applications. However, if you choose to use cloud services, they require minimal set up and are updated automatically. Another advantage of cloud based technology is that it is easy to integrate with software that you may already be using.
2. Gives You Unlimited Storage Capacity and Convenience
With the cloud, your storage space is unlimited. Filing cabinets can be a thing of the past and you will free up space in your practice. And remember, even though you have unlimited space, you’ll still only be paying for what you use.
Not only will you be able to store as much information as you’d like, the cloud also has a big convenience factor. The information you store on the cloud can be accessed through a variety of devices. Computers, smartphones, and tablets all allow you to access your information from anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection. If your staff is granted access to the information, it is easy to collaborate. Since data in the cloud is updated in real time, employees can see all the latest changes, view documents that are still in progress, and collaborate on projects together all at the same time!
3. Provides You with a Reliable and Secure Network
Data loss can happen for a variety of reasons and many of them are out of your control. You can have hard drive failure, theft, fire, or simply spill coffee on your laptop. Since these accidents can happen at any time, you are required to conduct constant physical backups. However, with the cloud, your files will be safe. Files in the cloud are constantly being saved and backed up online. Information that you may have otherwise lost is usually able to be recovered by cloud service providers.
A common concern with the cloud is that your information is not secure. However, in terms of backup redundancy, fire prevention, disaster recovery, and physical security, using the cloud is more secure than what you’d most likely be able to implement yourself. The government mandates regulations to ensure that data stored in the cloud is protected. Also, the top providers have written guarantees with serious penalties if your data is compromised.
Cloud providers will make sure your data is kept secure, but it is your job to keep access to cloud data in the right hands. Local and cloud applications both use similar technology for user authentication. Remember to always log out of your accounts and use strong, hard to guess passwords.
The future in cloud computing is a bright one. 71% of technology experts and stakeholders agree that by 2020 most people will work with internet based applications. And 2/3rds of global organizations are planning to adopt cloud technology in the near future. So why are you still wasting time and money running applications in your own office, when the cloud has so many advantages for your practice?
Want to learn more about cloud computing and what it can do for your practice? Download our Rising Up to the Cloud in Optical Practices e-book today!
After a major VisionWeb rebrand, everyone has begun to notice that something must be going on here!
We just can’t keep our BIG SECRET any longer – everyone was right! And with an announcement that is very near, we thought it was appropriate to have a scavenger hunt – the greatest scavenger hunt in the eyecare industry!
Completing our scavenger hunt will bring you one step closer to finding out what we’ve been hiding, and you'll get to be one of the first to know when our announcement is revealed! It’s easy to play, and the guessing is fun! We will also be posting frequently about the hunt on social media, so be involved on our Facebook and Twitter too! Make your guesses via Twitter with #VisionWebSecret and check out what everyone else is thinking!
To play you must simply:
So think outside of the box and have some fun! Sometimes what you’re searching for may not always be right in front of you, so start looking in the most unusual places. You could also invite your friends and colleagues to either join in on the fun or have a nice, friendly competition (everyone loves one of those)!
So what are you waiting for? Join in on the greatest scavenger hunt in the eyecare industry by signing up and receiving your first clue. Happy hunting!
Brainstorming a unique marketing plan is a daunting task. Marketers frequently find themselves evaluating competitor efforts and saying, "Why didn't I think of that?" However, with the right marketing team, your competitors may soon be saying this about you!
Warby Parker, a supplier of frames and eyeglasses, knows a thing or two about marketing. While preparing a speech on optical industry trends, Cathy from The Optical Vision Site, realized how Warby Parker used consumer trends to market their products. She explains how easy it is to apply these top trends in eyecare practice marketing at your practice!
Tunnel Vision vs. Warby Parker
A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to speak on optical industry trends at a meeting in Denver. In preparation for the meeting it really struck me how Warby Parker embraced consumer trends to become the 'media darlings' of today. While musing over this, I also realized that every single thing they did, the eyecare professional could have done too.
There is NOT one thing they did, that was so unusual, so unique, so cutting edge. IN FACT the only thing they did NOT have was Tunnel Vision. IN FACT- if you read our annual Consumer Trends And How They Effect Eyecare for the last several years, you could have implemented any of the below way before Warby Parker did. (Yes, I know, Shameless Plug).
Let's look at Warby Parker:
1.) They launched in 2010. (See our story here in April of 2010) A couple of young non-optical guys decided to go after the big guys (Luxottica) and freely admitted that they did so. The campaign was good vs bad, David vs Goliath, big vs small. All of that created what you would call an 'eye-worthy, news-worthy' event. Appealed to the counter-culture mentality. You can do the exact same thing check out Eyes On Fremont.
2.) They focused on PR and targeted that 18-30 year old 'social media' junkies to spread the world via Social Media. That group, tweeted, Facebooked, YouTubed, and bought $95 frames and lenses. What happened.. all that FREE publicity by Kids was brought to the attention of the 'biggies' i.e Forbes, USA Today, NY Times, LA times etc.. and then they, WP, became the buzzword of the year 2010, 2011, 2012, and still in 2013. You can do that too.
3.) Product- Because of their target market, young 'hip' consumers, their product development was very small and specific- not alot of styles, but they were 'cool and trendy', they added color and a few interest pieces such as monocles (We blogged on this in 2009 because it is a big trend among young men). You can do that too and you can stock monocles and other interesting pieces.
4.) Knowing their target market, they knew that these kids 'SHARE,' so they utilized Try-On Technology (you have this available too), and kids are all sharing their pictures, and asking what their friends think. Due to Try On Technology, it increased the virality and customer referrals. They were NOT the first to employ try on technology, other online companies have been using this for years, but Warby Parker made it 'cool.' You Can Do That Too, Try on Technology online has been available for OVER 10 years, but the big push online has been within the last 5 years, way before Warby Parker.
5.) They made it cool, hip, fun, and easy. Yep, take a picture, order 5 frames, and you can send them back anytime... Very easy to deal with. You Can Do This Too. Be Fun and Engaging. Listen to this story;
'She went on about the fact that the shipping was free, the returns were free, they donate a pair to someone in need, and if you have any issues with the glasses they are eager to help. When my friend received her glasses, they were a little tight at her ears; in turn, she emailed Warby Parker and asked for advice. They told her to either come down to the showroom for help, or go to an optometrist — and send them the bill. She was so impressed she told everyone about it.' (Source Forbes Magazine, The Referral Effect)
6.) BUT in order to get the press, they needed a hook- and one of the biggest consumer trends in the market today is Social Responsibility (we have been blogging about this since 2009). Without that hook, that mission, they would have just been another online company with a funny name. That said, looking at a socially responsible innovator Toms Shoes' one for one give back program (who gets a lot of press)- well, why not apply that to eyewear? It worked, and with that type of campaign, giving back is a guaranteed- no-brainer -word of mouth buzz.
Warby Parker, while not the first to offer a one for one program, they were the first in the eyewear business. You can do this too, especially now, with companies such as MODO's one for one, 141 Eyewear, Shauns Shades, Adlens, Eyes of Faith Eyewear, Modern Optical, and soon Toms Glasses will be offered to eyecare professionals. Even supporting eyewear companies that give back in some way. (See our post on Philanthropic Eyecare- Retail Trends and 11 Charitable Events)
7.) They didn't get stale.. Yep, they needed that press over and over again to constantly re-create the awareness. So now what? They continued to re-invent themselves. They opened kiosks in hotels (2012), they opened up Yurt POP Up Stores (Yep, we blogged on this in December of 2010 and again in May of 2011). Each of these just restarted the buzz! You can do this too.
8.) Then they syngerized realizing the power of 1+1= 5 and started collaborative efforts with other names. We have been blogging on collaborative efforts for years. But Warby Parker started collaborating with Suno (2911) for Limited Edition Eyewear (we blogged on Eyewear Trends:Limited Edition in 2010) and note, that Tom Glasses is also in collaboration with Charity Water.
You can do the same thing by networking with other local businesses and various charities. Anyone can do a collaboration, it doesn't have to be with a vision charity, it can be with anyone. See Destination Eyecare (yep we blogged on this in 2010).
They introduced a Waldo Eyeglass to celebrate Waldo's 25 Birthday. You could have done the same thing just by stocking a bunch of round frames and offering "Waldo Wednesday's". There are tons of interesting characters wearing eyewear that you could be celebrating as well.
9.) They bragged about their 'Do Good' Mission, getting even more press, Warby Parker gives 30,000 eyeglasses to New Eyes For The Needy. Personally, I love their Annual Report (you should check this out) and their fun facts on employees, all the social good, it makes one feel really connected to them. Guess What.. You can do that too.
10.) The press and the customers kept coming and coming, so what else did they do to recreate the buzz? Launched the Warby Parker Class Trip. A bus trip to select cities to sell and blog about their product. Really, how hard would this be, take an RV to to a destination spot and sell sunglasses or eyewear? No eye exams, no retinal testing, just eyeglasses? I will say it again, You Can Do This Too.
11. ) Opened their first flagship store in Soho when they realized that the consumer wants to touch and feel the product (see review). Offering eye exams ($50) and eyewear. You have already done this.
Bottom Line- If you look at every thing that Warby Parker did and does, you can do the exact same thing. Isn't it time to get over Tunnel Vision?
The time has come for Vision Monday's Annual Dispensing and Retail Excellence (D.A.R.E.) Awards! For the past three years, Vision Monday has awarded optical practices who have made innovative and daring choices for their dispensing, merchandising, and philanthropic initiatives; as well as their marketing and advertising campaigns. For the first time, the awards have a sponsor, Europa International who will assist Vision Monday with promoting and judging the contest.
The award categories will include:
- The PDA (Public Displays of Attention) Award for Most Daring In-Store Merchandising and/or Window Display
- The Shop it Like It’s Hot Award for Most Daring Store Design, Retail Environment, Merchandising and/or Window Display
- The Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Web Award for Most Daring Social Media or Web Presence (including websites, social networking, and viral marketing)
- The Sphere of Influence Award for Most Daring Community Outreach, Philanthropic, or Patient Education Program
- The Seeing Green Award for Most Daring Eco-chievement
- The Resistance is Futile Award for Most Daring Advertising Campaign (print, TV, or radio advertising)
In addition to these six award categories, the judges will also hand pick a selection of exceptional entries. These entries will be eligible for the We the People award. This award will be granted to the entry that receives the most reader votes on www.VisionMonday.com/DARE between July 1, 2013 and August 9, 2013.
The winners of the We the People and the other six awards, will be revealed in the September 9, 2013 issue of Vision Monday. In addition to the announcement, these outstanding retailers and dispensers will be highlighted throughout the year by Vision Monday and Europa on company sites and social media platforms.
To qualify for a D.A.R.E. Award the retailer or eye care provider must:
- Be based in the U.S. or Canada
- Have a primary business function that is the retailing or dispensing of prescription eyewear or sunwear
- Have been continuously operating since May, 1 2012 and still be in operation
Meet all the qualifications and think you have what it takes to win? Fill out an application today. Entries are due by 11:59pm on June 14, 2013 so time is running out!
Don't meet all the qualifications? Help out starting July 1st and vote for your favorite to win the We The People award!
For the longest time, eyecare practices have gotten used to the routine of collecting patient information and then mailing in claims, one-by-one. Smart practices have noticed the huge amount of time this takes away from concentrating on patients. To help get you on the path to efficiency, check out these 3 things that every practice should be aware of when it comes to filing insurance claims electronically.
1. Using a Clearinghouse is the Next Step Towards Efficient Electronic Claims Filing
These days, eye doctors have multiple options to send in claims. You can file claims yourself by sending them through the mail or by visiting each individual payer's website. You could also hire an outside billing service to handle your claims, but many people feel like they lose control when they do it that way. The last option is to use a clearinghouse company that connects multiple insurance companies in one location.
There are many advantages to using a clearinghouse, including:
- The ability to submit to thousands of payers from one website
- The ability to enter leads in directly on the clearinghouse website or through integrated eyecare practice management software
- Systematic error checking, which makes it less likely to be rejected when submitting your claims
- Being able to track insurance claim status in real time
As you can see, using a clearinghouse gives you the ability to maximize reimbursements, receive payments faster, identify and correct claim problems sooner, and generally takes the headache out of claim filing. Even better, clearinghouses with ERA management services make the claim filing process even easier, which brings us to our second point.
2. Use an Electronic Claim Filing Service with ERA Management
When it’s comes to electronic claim filing services, you want to look for a service that makes your life as easy as possible, right? If that’s the case, you should be looking for a claim filing service that also offers ERA management, or Electronic Remittance Advice management services. Using a clearinghouse with ERA management services will give you the ability to automatically interpret remittance advice received from your payers – information typically received on paper – and deliver it in an electronic format.
Remittance advice in an electronic format is much easier to manage than stacks of paper EOBs. And it’s accessible in a fraction of the time, so you can start the reconciliation process sooner. Using an electronic claim filing service with ERA management will also give you the ability to:
- Search and sort remittance information by provider, payer, date range, check number, or payment method
- View summary reviews with reasons for adjustments, denials, and reductions
- View transaction-level and claim-level summaries
- Export your reports into an Excel format for easy remittance advice archiving
- Download and import ERA into your compatible practice management system
- Have access to software for auto-posting
Clearinghouses offer a number of services and benefits. We highly recommend you check out our post, “Don’t Commit to a Medical Claims Clearinghouse Before Reading This”, before making a purchase decision on a service.
3. Sending Claims Through the Mail Simply Won't Cut It Anymore
Old habits may be hard to break but we're in the 21st century! Claims sent through the mail can take days to receive, which means it will take even longer to get back your reimbursement payments. Even worse, they could get lost in the mail! A simple switch to electronic claims filing will provide better and more efficient care of your customers. In addition, rejected claims will be returned faster with reasons as to why the claim was rejected so this mistake won’t happen again. This way you’ll be able to see more patients instead of wasting time dealing with claim rejections.
Furthermore, errors in paper claims can’t be caught until after the entire process is complete. This will delay the time it takes to get paid for the claim, and it takes up to 30 days for the entire process to be completed, which unfortunately could leave your patients upset. Can you afford to spend time filing claims on paper?
What are you waiting for? Download our quick efficiency test to find out if you're getting the most out of electronic claims filing!
Did you know that in a recent survey 93% of eye care providers said that online ordering to spectacle lens suppliers made their practice more efficient? If you did, then why are you still using the phone and fax to place these orders?! Phone and fax orders are more susceptible to errors, take up time that could be spent on patients, and prevent you from taking advantage of some great features online optical ordering services, like VisionWeb, can provide. But that’s not all; check out these 5 consequences of not ordering to spectacle lens suppliers online.
1. Unhappy Employees and Customers
If you are not utilizing an online ordering service, your precious time and money are being used inefficiently. Navigating to multiple sites, that all use different ordering processes, can be very cumbersome for any practice. With the online ordering service that VisionWeb provides, these days are over. Our services give you access to over 400 spectacle lens, contact lens, and frame laboratories in one convenient location.
The average eye care practice wastes about 34 hours per year ordering via phone or fax. Your time is being wasted on the phone with the labs updating information and correcting mistakes. When orders are placed through VisionWeb, there is an error checking feature. This error check makes sure orders are correct before sending them off to the lab. Automatic error checking also makes it impossible to create an order combination that can’t be made by your labs. Because of this feature, your practice won't have to deal with a lab calling you up about errors in your order.
Using phone and fax ordering not only wastes your time, but your customers’ time as well. While you’re forced to be on the phone, your customers are experiencing longer wait times and frustrated employees. When you order to spectacle lens suppliers online, you will have a more efficient practice and happier employees and customers.
2. You Can Only Work During Your Spectacle Lens Suppliers Hours
With an offline ordering system you are limited to placing orders only when your lab is open. In order to track your orders, you have to rely on them. By moving your ordering system online, you have access to order placement and tracking 24/7. With an Internet connection, eye care providers can track any patient’s order, from any computer.
These services are also available on your smartphone or tablet. With the VisionWeb app you’re able to stay up to date with your orders virtually anywhere. Even if you’re out of the office, you can still review pending orders, check the status of orders in process at the lab, access archived orders, and navigate through orders easily with search and filter options. By utilizing all VisionWeb has to offer, you will have access to your labs 24/7, no matter where you are.
3. Slower Turnaround
A faster turnaround is created by ordering to spectacle lens suppliers online. It could take up to a week to receive an order placed on the phone or fax, while an online ordering system typically gets orders back to your practice 1-2 days faster. Mistakes are harder to make because every order is error-checked before submitted. This creates the benefit of spending less time on the phone with the lab. The lab and the eye care practice can instead focus on the work at hand and turn jobs around faster.
4. Inability to Integrate Your Eyecare Practice Management Software
Without an integrated system, your practice is forced to duplicate data by entering orders in multiple locations. After entering the information into your eyecare practice management software, you then have to enter it again to place that order. If your practice already uses a practice management system, you can integrate it with VisionWeb. VisionWeb allows you to use the information from your optical practice management system to create and submit orders to your suppliers, without leaving your system.
5. Lose out on VisionWeb’s Features
So, if you’re still not convinced that switching to an online ordering service will be beneficial to your practice, let’s look at a couple of VisionWeb’s features that make the ordering process easier than ever.
With frames data assist, you no longer have to manually enter frame or frame measurements. All users are able to search the frames data catalog, select a frame, and a simple click will automatically populate frame measurements. Ordering frames is now easier than ever and other VisionWeb services take the hassle out of all your ordering.
On top of frames data assist, with the save to pending feature you’re able to save partial or completed orders for later use. This feature reduces the amount of unnecessary duplication that many practices are guilty of.
This unnecessary duplication can be further reduced with the use of two different order templates that VisionWeb offers. The favorite order template allows you to save a template that you use often for easy access when needed. In addition, the archived order lets you file your completed orders in your account. You can search for these orders, but it won’t slow you down when they aren’t needed.
All of these features save time and decrease the likelihood of making mistakes.
There are real consequences to not switching to online ordering and sticking to the traditional ordering processes. By ordering to spectacle lens suppliers online you will save time, money, and have happier customers and employees.
Keep up to date with all of VisionWeb’s services and tips on how to make your practice more efficient. Subscribe to our blog today!
Times are changing and technology is on the rise. With all the new technology on the market there can be a lot of information to absorb. And lately, there has been a lot of talk about cloud computing in optical and how the cloud can benefit eyecare practices. One of the ways the cloud can be used is in the form of Software as a Service (SaaS). Software as a Service refers to a software distribution model where data and software are hosted by a vendor and are accessible to customers over the Internet.
In this infographic we broke down the differences between the traditional client server approach to eyecare practice management and compared it with a cloud practice management system. Decide for yourself who wins this technology showdown.
Want to know more about cloud computing in eyecare? One of our favorite optometry eBooks will further explain the benefits of using cloud solutions.
If you’re like most practices, converting to a new Electronic Health Records (EHR) software system is in your cards, especially if you’re thinking of participating in the Meaningful Use Incentive Program. Getting the entire practice on board with such a big change can be stressful and you may not even know how to start! In today's guest post, Software Advice is here to provide tips on training your staff. Check out what they have to say!
Implementing an (EHR) system can seem daunting, especially if your practice is making the transition from paper records. But by providing effective training for your staff, you can avoid some of the most common frustrations.
Research has shown that good training is essential to successful EHR implementation. Training can help your practice avoid setbacks, errors, and even employee turnover in addition to facilitating a smooth transition to a new system.
Software Advice has put together five tips for effective training to get your staff up and running with a new EHR.
1. Assess Computer Skill Levels and Offer Training if Needed.
Step one is especially important for practices transitioning from paper to electronic, where employees may not use computers extensively on a regular basis.
You’ll need to identify basic computer skill levels among your staff and train up anyone who needs it. You can use one of many online resources to assess skills: there are free tests, paid tests, even tests you can create yourself.
If these assessments identify employees in need of basic computer training, you’ll need to get them up to speed. You could pay for classes at a local community college, or even pay an instructor to visit your office for training sessions. Alternatively, you could use free online resources such as Goodwill Community Foundation to help.
Providing basic training to employees who need it will make your staff more comfortable in the new electronic environment.
2. Select Tech-Savvy “Super Users” for Your Practice.
Designate one or two individuals whose role it will be to learn the system inside out and answer questions for the rest of your office. “Super users” should:
- Be highly computer literate;
- Be excited to learn new concepts;
- Be willing to help teach others; and
- Have been with your practice at least one year.
You may know right away who these individuals should be. If not, you can conduct a search of sorts within your practice. Consider offering an incentive, such as extra vacation or a small bonus, to motivate skilled employees to step forward to take on this added responsibility.
3. Train Staff Only on Features They’ll be Using.
It’s not necessary – and in fact, it’s impractical – for all employees to learn every feature of the system. Only the “super users” should know it backwards and forwards. Avoid frustration by tailoring training for the rest of your staff to each person or group.
For example, a billing employee will need to learn how to find insurance information and billing codes, but not how to enter a diagnosis. Don’t waste your time or theirs by training them on features they won’t use. This will speed up the learning process and minimize confusion.
4. Collect Feedback After the EHR Goes Live.
Once the system has been implemented, you’ll probably encounter some snags, such as a function you doesn’t understand or a process that takes too long and needs to be redesigned.
To stay on top of these issues and resolve them quickly, conduct regular feedback sessions in the months following implementation. Be sure to include members of different departments, so that all user groups are represented.
When issues are surfaced, evaluate and prioritize them so that you can tackle urgent issues first. For example, training nursing staff to enter vitals correctly is a higher priority than redesigning an inefficient workflow.
Take the changes one at a time to help your staff adapt more easily and to ensure patient care doesn’t suffer along the way.
5. Use Your EHR Vendor’s Online Resources.
Your staff may come up with questions that your “super users” just can’t answer. If that happens, be sure to take advantage of the online resources most EHR vendors provide.
Typically, the vendor’s website will contain learning and training resources, accessible with a username and password that the vendor provides. Often these resources include manuals, and sometimes even video tutorials, which you can access without having to pay for extra training.
Additionally, you can often find community forums tied to vendors’ websites. These forums give you the opportunity to connect with others who are using the same system.
EHR implementation is challenging, but following these best practices will help your practice avoid costly mistakes and make the transition smooth. Employing a strategic training approach will help you begin using the system effectively more quickly, which will allow you to focus on your top priority: quality patient care.
Amanda Guerrero originally contributed this piece to Software Advice. Amanda is a writer and blogger specializing in EHR, patient portal technology and Meaningful Use. From her years working as a file clerk at a doctor’s office to her time as an implementation manager at an EHR company, Amanda has witnessed the evolution of the healthcare industry’s charting system firsthand. View the original post here: Five Best Practices for Training Staff on Using a New EHR
Successfully implemented an EHR in your practice? Then it's time to get started on Meaningful Use! Download our eBook to find out why!
What exactly is meaningful use and how does it relate to your practice?
It may surprise you that these two things have more in common than you think. Just a deeper look into how meaningful use can save your eyecare practice thousands from the incentive program! Below is a special guest post from our friends at VitalHealth Software giving you all the details of adopting meaningful use at your practice!
According to the latest market research reports, close to 90% of general family medicine physicians have adopted an EHR, or are in the process of doing so. The rapid increase in adoption – up from perhaps 25% no more then four years ago – can mostly be attributed to the promise of meaningful use incentives, and the looming reduction in Medicare reimbursements for those that opt out of the program.
The adoption rate amongst ODs is starting to ramp up as well. Perhaps you haven’t taken the plunge yet, and are taking a wait-and-see approach, hoping that things will become easier as early adopters work out the kinks. But the window of opportunity is not open much longer. ODs that want to benefit from incentive payments will have to start participating no later than 2014. So perhaps we can help alleviate some of the concerns you may have, based on what we have heard in the field.
1. An EHR Will Slow Me Down
This concern is by far the most often voiced concern by medical professionals. And for some solutions, this may be true. Many EHR solutions available today are based on older technologies, and perhaps designed for large practices with dedicated personnel to input data. These solutions offer a myriad of features and functions with complicated screens and workflows that require a lot of experience and simply don’t fit well with more agile practices. So take a little time to research your options. Look for an EHR that can support your workflow, with screen designs optimized for quick and easy data entry. Avoid solutions that tie you down to using a mouse and keyboard only. Once you give it a try, you will find that many consultation types benefit from the ability to directly face your patient, using an unobtrusive tablet device to document the visit.
2. Attestation Seems Complicated
True, it DOES seem complicated. But fortunately, an EHR that has been certified for Meaningful Use should do most of the work for you. When researching your options, look for solutions that can generate the exact reports you will need to submit in an easy to interpret format. All you’ll have to do is simply enter the data generated by that report into an online submission form. And starting 2014, the Clinical Quality Measures (CQMs) will have to be submitted electronically directly from the EHR. No effort required on your part other than initiating that process.
3. Is It Really ‘Meaningful’?
That is a fair question. Does a certified EHR really help improve quality of care? According to ONC, 88% of practices report that EHR adoption produces clinical benefits for them, while 75% of practices report that adoption has led to better overall patient care. These benefits can be attributed to several reasons. The four reasons most often mentioned by our customers are: instant access to patient medical history from anywhere, reminders for preventive care as well as acute care alerts through clinical decision support, improved care coordination through electronic exchange of medical data, and the ability to stimulate patient engagement through patient portal access. Of course some practitioners claim to do all these things without an EHR, but having a meaningful use certified EHR just makes the process easier.
4. Can EHR Software Benefit My Practice As A Business?
This is NOT a requirement that ONC uses to qualify meaningful use. But we have yet to meet a practice owner to whom this is not a concern. We have already established that the right EHR should not slow you down in documenting a medical exam. But it should also help you streamline the process of coding your visit for billing purposes, prescribing medication, generating reports, and transferring the appropriate data to your eyecare practice management software for ordering products. So make sure you don’t overlook these concerns when choosing your EHR.
5. How Does EHR Implementation Benefit My Patients?
This question is somewhat related to meaningful use. Studies show that successful EHR implementation helps improve quality of care. And based on our experience, it also greatly increases patient satisfaction. Modern EHRs allow patients to directly access select data from their medical record, and interact electronically with their care providers. And MU certified EHRs enable the exchange of data between different care providers, avoiding the need for patients to provide medical history information multiple times, with all its inherent inconsistencies.
We recommend that providers initially focus on getting the correct workflow implemented for optimal use of an EHR within a practice. Once that is done, focus on improving the patient experience by providing direct patient portal access.
6. Are These ‘Cloud-Based’ EHRs Really Safe And Reliable?
We hear this question quite often. Many ODs have probably used a locally installed software product for years, and may be a bit skeptical about moving their private data to the cloud. We recently released an eBook on this subject. Long story short… for small and medium sized practices we recommend a cloud-based solution over locally installed software. Cloud-based technology solutions are reliable, more secure, easily scalable, and far easier to maintain than any local solution can ever be, with a predictable cost pattern. Cloud is the way to go.
The road to Meaningful Use is not necessarily easy. But it is actually not as hard as you think. With the right EHR, most of the work is done for you. There is still an opportunity to benefit from financial incentives, so the time to act is now!
Ready to get started on the Meaningful Use Incentive Program? Our eBook, A Beginner's Guide to Meaningful Use, will tell you everything you need to know to get started!
Today, we’re here to talk about a popular topic that many of you might be unfamiliar with - Meaningful Use. You might have heard of it, but don’t really know much about it, much less how it applies to your practice. That’s why, we’ve partnered with VitalHealth to tell you everything you need to know about Meaningful Use. And don’t worry; it’s not as hard as you think!
The Meaningful Use Incentive Program is all about promoting the use of electronic health records (EHRs) in an effort to make healthcare more consistent and transparent. Early adopters qualify for an incentive payment from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services.
You are still qualified for incentive payments if you participate in the program this year. Our eBook will tell you how to get started! You’ll learn about:
- Benefits of EHRs
- Financial Incentives and Potential Penalties
- Requirements and Attestation
- Preparing for Audits
- And Much More!
When you succesfully complete the meaningful use program, you'll be able to enhance patient care, get work done easier and faster and make more money in the long run! More than 11,000 ODs have already registered for the program! Get started today!
Check out a preview of the eBook and click the 'Expand' button to view it in full screen.