Optometrists Explain How to Maximize Your EHR System
Optometry and optical practices are embracing modern technology more than ever before, abandoning manual approaches that hinder revenue potential and the ability to provide top-tier patient care. Embracing technology is an essential step for improving your processes. However, maximizing technology is how you advance those processes.
Not using EHR software technology to the fullest is a common pain point across industries. The optometry profession is certainly not immune to this tendency.
The American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC) reported that “73% of practices were not using electronic health record (EHR)-based functionalities to their full capability, and nearly 40% were classified as health information technology (IT) under-users.”
Wondering how to get more from your optometry EHR system investment? Below, two optometrists share their personal EHR optimization experiences and recommendations, so you know the best course of action to take.
What are 3 things you love most in your EHR and why?
Jeanette Lee, OD: To make screen navigation easier, we customized the entire workflow, added colored tabs, and used a widescreen monitor to see two pages at a time.
Bi-directional e-Prescribing (eRx) and medication adherence tools allow our doctors to send prescriptions and import medications prescribed by other providers. I quickly view allergy interactions, insurance, and medication costs right from within MaximEyes EHR. This makes it convenient to change pharmacies or medications if the cost is too high for the patient, which improves patient health outcomes.
EHR systems should continually be one step ahead with MIPS (Merit-Based Incentive Payment System) compliance requirements—built-in tools within EHRs minimize the number of clicks to complete a required task.
Greg Caldwell, OD: Now that we use MaximEyes EHR, we no longer have to interpret illegible handwriting on paper charts from five different doctors. Plus, there is less paper floating around the office and filing is nearly obsolete.
Having full access to records in a centralized place helps doctors make better clinical decisions and provide better patient care. We never need to search an entire chart for pachymetry or some other findings or measurements. Now we click the history button to see all past visual acuities and IOPs—data is very easy to find.
Electronically prescribing medications via a two-way eRx within MaximEyes is a huge time-saver in our big glaucoma practice. We don’t spend time calling pharmacies or physically printing or mailing prescriptions anymore. When patients used to call in requesting prescriptions, prescribing them at our clinic involved a labor-intensive process.
Which features in your EHR system do you wish you had more time to master?
Jeanette Lee, OD: Customizing more encounter forms, documents, and assessments with drop-down lists. Being able to fully optimize what features I use the most helps me speed up the exam time even more so I can spend more time talking with the patient.
Greg Caldwell, OD: Learning how to use advanced automated features, like auto-generate or auto-populate at a higher level than what we are using now. Also, spending more time on how to better manage a profitable recall system and integrating patient data (demographics, scheduling, and billing).
What one feature in your EHR system do you feel has the most time-saving potential in a patient encounter?
Jeanette Lee, OD: Copying the last encounter’s information or previous year’s information is a huge time-saver since we no longer need to worry about retyping everything.
Greg Caldwell, OD: Pulling patient data forward and modifying the chart/record are much quicker than paper reports. All data is centralized—and accessing patient records gives us the information we need quickly from any location.
Tell us about a time you used your EHR effectively for a complex patient treatment plan?
Jeanette Lee, OD: We treat many dry eye patients in our 20/20 Dry Eye Spa, as well as patients with infections that require heavy information charting on the anterior segment and medication prescribing. Our EHR system allows us to toggle back and forth between encounters. I can easily see what my treatment was before and how I am adjusting the next treatment option.
Photo provided by Jeanette Lee, OD
Greg Caldwell, OD: I diagnose, manage, and treat a lot of glaucoma, diabetes, and macular degeneration patients. These patient cases typically have past and current testing. Having this information in our EHR system helps me detect changes and manage patients because I can review all data efficiently. In MaximEyes, I open the patient’s record and prescribe the medication right through the eRx platform.
What type of computer system do you use in the EHR exam lane? How does this contribute or hinder your efficiency?
Jeanette Lee, OD: We use a desktop in both exam rooms. Techs use a laptop for case history in the exam room when both exam rooms are full. We automated the check-in process by placing two tablets at a kiosk where we use a check-in app that integrates with MaximEyes. Also, having different remote technology options, with the ability to log in anywhere, makes our practice more efficient.
Greg Caldwell, OD: We use a desktop with dual monitors—this setup is ideal as we have the patient chart and review tests open at the same time, and we make comments right in the chart. The location of our workstations is very efficient. But having my back to the patient, while reviewing or entering data in the chart, hinders some of that efficiency.
Let’s help you get the most out of your EHR system investment. Schedule a demo of MaximEyes to maximize your practice potential.
About Jeanette Lee, OD: Dr. Lee is the owner of 20/20 Optometry of Silicon Valley in San Jose, CA. She specializes in treating allergies, infections, and dry eyes. Patients are pampered in her 20/20 Dry Eye Spa where she uses a holistic approach to treatment.
About Greg Caldwell, OD: Dr. Caldwell is the co-owner of Drs. Centar, Imler, Gjurich, and Caldwell in Duncansville, PA. He is a well-respected lecturer who has given over 500 lectures in over 13 countries. He is the co-founder of Optometric Education Consultants. Dr. Caldwell has also published many articles in major optometric magazines.