With only a couple of days left in 2014, it's time to start preparing for next
year, and we want to help you get off on the right foot! Changes in technology, equipment, government regulations, and software are constantly happening in the healthcare world, and we don't expect that to slow down anytime soon.
The rise of the ePatient is going to continue to be a trend moving into the new year, and we think that most of the trends in optical regarding practice management and EHR software are going to revolve around the ePatient.
More and more patients are wanting access to their health information, and they want to be able access it easily whenever they want. Enter the rise of the ePatient. ePatients are consumers who are fully engaged in their healthcare. They want easy access from their healthcare providers to specific information about their conditions and health needs through electronic communication tools.
So how are you going to accommodate ePatients in your practice? EHR software can help you provide better, more coordinated care with your patients and other providers of different specialties. Using direct messaging systems that allow you to securely communicate with your patients online, through secure email, is a good place to start. You should also be equipped with a patient portal that's going to give you the opportunity to provide education, results, and treatment instructions with your patients that they can access with a few clicks of their mouse.
We define interoperability as the ability for information to follow a patient wherever and whenever it is needed, across healthcare specialties, pharmacies, labs, and hospitals, irrespective of the EHR vendor and geographic boundaries, making health info available 24/7. In the past, healthcare providers have been keeping their patient records on paper, or in systems that can't easily share information with one another.
The ability to transfer data seamlessly from one system to the next is another piece of the ePatient puzzle. If you're looking to boost interoperability in your practice you need to look for software solutions that can offer you the best. So if you're in the market to make a practice management and EHR software purchase this year, make sure you talk to each vendor about how their system works with others to help you achieve your goals of seamless data sharing to improve your patient care experience.
Mobility is a big one for both you, and your patients. As we mentioned before, patients are looking for easier access to their health information. But for you, as an OD of your practice, having a system that increases your flexibility is going to make your life easier. Cloud-based systems offer the most mobility for your practice allowing you to access your system from any device with an Internet connection, even when you're out of the office.
Cloud-based systems also give you the freedom to choose your device, whether it be a desktop, laptop, or tablet. This flexibility in device allows you to develop a customized patient experience that works best for your office set up. Tablets are great for sharing quick information with patients, and can offer a more personalized conversation about their healthcare as you can sit face-to face while sharing the screen. Depending on the set up of your office desktops can sometimes create a barrier between you and your patient if your back has to be turned while you're entering in patient info to the system.
Those are the three big trends that we think will affect ODs and EHR software vendors moving into 2015. Can you think of any trends we might have missed?
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