While Marketing EHR Is a Stretch…
…You can promote the efficiency and patient care provided by e-records.
LEAH COLBY, O.D.
As the majority of optometrists make the transition to EHR, they are discovering amazing benefits to patient care and practice management. It may seem like a stretch to “market” EHR, but the simple interactions we have with our patients via our computer system enable us to promote what we do.
In this article, I focus on how EHR has improved patient care, communication and ultimately, made us better clinicians.
Thorough and efficient care
We are in our first year of a new cloud-based EHR system, but we have used electronic records since we opened our practice 11 years ago. With EHR, we can view prior exam information, which allows us to track progress and change in certain diseases and establish baselines of eye care. Seeing all the past prescriptions, contact lens trials or eye health visits on one page instead of paging through a thick chart (or opening multiple old records) has helped make exams more efficient: I can make clinical decisions quickly when the history is so easily accessible.
Our new system allows us to pull last exam information forward so we can easily track disease progress, such as a resolving ulcer, iritis or grade of cataract. Using “the cloud,” I can access records from virtually anywhere I have access to the Internet — a valuable feature for answering emergency calls or finishing chart notes after hours. Our EHR will soon offer a mobile app to make it even easier to access patient information.
In addition to greater accessibility, the ability to communicate effectively with patients about their history helps increase the efficiency and effectiveness of care.
We provide an “Exam Report Card” to patients at the exam’s end. In addition to improving patient communication, this clinical summary lists diagnostic and procedural codes, medications and allergies. (To attest for meaningful use, you must provide such a clinical summary to your patients.) Our patient-friendly summary provides documentation patients can share with other healthcare providers or insurance companies if there is a billing discrepancy.
OTHER ARTICLES LIKE THIS:
Take the Time for Technology • page 37
Keep Coverage in Mind • page 49
Lessons From the Sort of “Newbie” • page 48
Patient access and phone call reduction
The ability of a patient to access portions of their records or communicate with our staff has dramatically reduced the number of phone calls we make. Our patients are notified via e-mail or text once their order has been marked as “received.” Our patients love that we are keeping up with communication technology, and it’s made our staff more efficient with reduced phone calls and phone tag.
Spreading the word
While you may not be touting the specifics of the brand of EHR you use, remember to communicate the benefits of whatever you utilize to your patients to increase patient education and loyalty to your practice. OM
DR. COLBY OPERATES EYEWEST VISION CLINIC IN ROGERS AND ST. MICHAEL, MINN. SHE WAS NAMED THE “YOUNG OPTOMETRIST OF THE YEAR” BY THE MINNESOTA OPTOMETRIC ASSOCIATION. TO COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE, E-MAIL OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.
Optometric Management, Volume: 48 , Issue: September 2013, page(s): 44