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Optometry Practice Management (PM) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) Software FAQs

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Optometric practice management software and modern EHR solutions are a critical component of an effective optometric practice. But, because there are so many options in the market, the search for a new solution can be complex and frustrating.Having been in the optometric industry since 2000, we have worked with and developed a lot of leading optometry software solutions including our all-inclusive, cloud-based practice management and EHR solution, Uprise.

Below are the frequently asked questions we’ve heard about optometry practice management and EHR software.

There are so many optometric practice management software products, what makes Uprise unique?

For many years, practice management and EHR platforms have helped medical professionals improve patient care through accurate, digital documentation. However, medical fields and doctor’s preferences are different and therefore require a customizable solution. Uprise, is a modern, cloud-based practice management and EHR solution designed for, and by, the optometry community. Its true cloud-based model enables regular feature updates and code fixes to occur without affecting your practice.

As legacy, server-based EHRs get older, the code enabling the software to run, gets more complex to update when new hardware is purchased or software integrations change. At some point, your EHR provider will have to rewrite the software to keep up with industry changes and make it compatible with technology and integration changes.

Rewrites take a long time and can cost you money. Additionally, any big changes will require additional training for you and your staff. If you are on an older platform, it will be harder for your vendor to add new features, or make important usability improvements like reducing clicks and mouse movements.

Most vendors also require you to integrate other pieces of software and hardware into their optometry electronic health records system to have all the features you need to run your practice. Often, these costs extra, require consultants to implement, and are also difficult to maintain when one vendor changes something in their code. Uprise was designed from the start to include advanced integrations. We pay for them, we maintain them, and we talk to the vendors on your behalf. All you have to do is use them to improve your office workflow and enhance patient care.

Another difference for us is that a panel of ODs and Practice Managers were heavily involved in the design of the software. We wanted to eliminate clicks as much as possible so you can spend more of your time with your patient. We also wanted to avoid duplicate data entry, where mistakes can easily be made, by seamlessly sending data entered in the EHR to the PM, and vice versa.

Which is a better platform for an optometric practice management software, cloud or server?

A server-based EHR requires a lot of technical knowledge to ensure systems are running smoothly, data is being stored and backed-up regularly, and information is secure. Although you may be a tech-savvy OD, your time is better used caring for the patients, not the server.

In 2017, the superior option for all EHR platforms is to reside in the cloud. There are a lot of reasons to move to a cloud-based EHR including:

  • Lower Cost- Servers are expensive and require maintenance, upgrades, climate controlled rooms, software patches, and a dedicated resource to manage and maintain the backups and security. Unless you like being an IT professional (or paying for one), you should consider the cloud.
  • Business Continuity- Physical, in-house servers are susceptible to theft, fire, damage, and other natural or manufactured disasters. To protect your data on a server-based EHR, you must remember to back-up your servers, and you need to verify that the back-ups work. With a cloud-based solution, your data is backed up at least three times across geographically dispersed locations to keep the information you’ve collected on your patients available in the event of a disaster.
  • Increased Security- Malware, Ransomware, and viruses occur every day. Your staff can accidentally download corrupt data to your server or unknowingly click a malicious link that compromises or locks your data. Unless you employ an individual who continuously monitors the systems and can quickly respond to potential threats, you’re putting your practice and your patients at risk using a server-based solution. Using a cloud-based EHR, the network, patches, and security around the software are handled for you by a team of technology experts.
  • Scale- As your practice grows, you don’t need to worry about purchasing new hardware to support the practice growth.
  • Accessibility- Because the software is cloud-based and works on a tablet, you can securely access the EHR from anywhere with internet access. Simply enter your log-in credentials whether you’re in the office, at home, or on-the-go.

When your optometric practice management software resides in the cloud, the backups, physical security, maintenance, and other server-related tasks are handled by VisionWeb. Your data is backed up in multiple secure locations. All you need to worry about is having computers or tablets for the EHR and the chrome web browser for other functions. Should your office experience a virus, malware, or ransomware, your practice data is protected.

What are the key features of optometric practice management software?

Technology is playing a vital role in the way optometric practices operate. With increasing pressures to streamline the office workflow, your practice has to adopt robust solutions to enable your team to move each patient through the appointment quickly while maintaining a high quality of care.

The software solutions and features your practice will need to successfully run a full-service optometric practice depend on the type of practice you run. However, it’s common for most modern optometric practices to use the following solutions:

  • A secure patient portal
  • Web-based Scheduler
  • Patient demographics
  • Electronic Health Record
  • Optical portal
  • Patient checkout
  • Billing code verification
  • Insurance claim processing
  • Products catalog
  • Ordering portal for optical dispensing
  • Patient recall
  • Patient education
  • E-Rx
  • Messaging (internal and to referral doctors)

One of the more efficient and cost-effective ways to obtain all of the software required for an effective optometric practice is to use an all-in-one solution. With an all-in-one solution your practice only has to pay one invoice, deal with one customer service team, learn one software interface, and manage one log-in for all the different tools. No more juggling between multiple applications or switching browser windows.

What other costs are factored into the decision for an optometric practice management software?

Purchasing the optometry software that runs your practice and enables you to optimize your office workflow and enhance patient care should be an investment, not a money pit. When considering a new practice management system and EHR solution, you need to consider if the vendor charges extra for anything that you might not initially consider as part of the price tag. Some charges you may discover are:

  • Data conversion fees
  • Implementation fees
  • Training fees
  • Consulting fees
  • Device integration fees
  • Support fees
  • Storage fees
  • Usage fees (per seat, per computer)

In some cases, fees can be more than the software license itself, so make sure your vendor is transparent about the total cost of efficiently running the system.

Uprise has just three fees; the fee for data conversion from your old platform (a one-time cost), an implementation fee (another one-time cost), and a monthly fee for each OD. The staff are free. Training, support, and upgrades are all free for the lifetime of your account. You can run Uprise on as many devices as you like.

As we mentioned before, your system should be an investment and not a money pit. We had an Uprise user tell us that his practice was able to effectively use his investment of the cloud-based practice management and EHR to add $21K a month in revenue by saving time and adding additional appointment slots to his schedule.Read his story here.

What about the impact on my staff? How will they learn the new software?

Getting staff buy-in early in the decision process will help you identify how your staff uses the existing EHR and how a change to the software will impact their success. By getting their input, you can determine what their needs are in a new solution to help them be more effective in their role and in caring for your patients. Additionally, getting your staff on board early with the change will excite them about the EHR upgrade and will help them better plan for the switch by staying on top of the training.

To help your practice maximize the possibilities of a successful implementation and satisfaction throughout your practice, Uprise trains your staff for free. A real, live person experienced in the optometry industry conducts the training and takes your practice and staff needs in mind. Your team can ask questions, and contact us when they need help. There are also a lot of online videos to watch and a searchable knowledgebase to help answer common questions.

Because your team learns differently, the Uprise training team offers different options for your team to get the most out of the training so they can effectively use the system and help your patients have an enjoyable experience in your optometric practice. Your staff has access to a library of varying training materials to get them up to speed quickly, including:

  • Videos
  • Hands-on activities
  • Hundreds of step-by-step guides

Regardless of your team’s time constraints and learning styles, we should have something that gets them up-to-speed quickly. And, because the learning center is web-based, you and your staff can access these resources online at the office or home. Aside from all the training available, Uprise itself is very intuitive and easy to learn. Each major workflow of the office has a tab, and we’ve contained most of what they need to do on that tab. In a few hours, most users feel comfortable with Uprise.

What else can we do to be successful during a migration to a new EHR?

If you’re in a busy practice, making time to implement a new PM/EHR can be tricky. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone. Implementing a new system in your optometric practice should be a team project, which includes a staff member to champion the transition and cooperation from the old vendor and the new vendor.

Work with your implementation team on a schedule that is manageable for your practice, delegate tasks, and keep in close contact with your team to work through any issues that show up. Your vendor should be sensitive to your practice and the needs of your team. Open, honest communication makes this process go smoothly.

To reduce opposition and obstacles during the EHR migration, follow these three tips:

  • Get staff buy-in
  • Understand your data requirements
  • Focus on training

When I evaluate an EHR, what else should I consider?

The EHR software you use in your optometric practice should be unique to your practice needs, your workflow needs, and your technical requirements. While there are hundreds of EHR solutions in the market, it’s critical to use a solution that’s designed for your particular industry. When evaluating solution vendors, consider your practice and technology needs. You also need to consider your staff and how they will adjust to the solution.

Never underestimate training time. If you have a lot of staff turnover, factor in how long it takes that new person to get up-to-speed, and what support your vendor will have for helping you train them. You don’t want a platform that takes three months to become proficient at if you replace a role every six months to a year.

Also, ask about extra costs. Does the system have everything you need, or will you need to license other tools and make them work with your workflow and EHR?

Need more tips on selecting the right practice management and EHR solution for your optometric practice? Download our practice management and EHR buying guide for tips, tools, and templates that will guide you to your ideal solution.

 Optometry Practice Management (PM) and Electronic Health Records (EHR) Software FAQs

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