Optometry electronic medical record (EMR)/electronic health record (EHR) software can help optometrists work efficiently by helping diagnose and treat eye and vision conditions ranging from astigmatism to glaucoma. With templates and easy access to insurance codes, EMRs can also help optometrists make informed decisions by providing a deeper understanding of patient histories—displaying the right information at the right time.
For example, leading optometrist EMR software systems will feature a display screen that shows the changes in a patient’s intraocular pressure (IOP) values over time. This screen can help the optometrist evaluate glaucoma risk.
Screenshot of drchrono EHR dashboard
These systems can also integrate a patient’s prescription history and display the exact medication a patient was on when a corresponding IOP measurement occurred. This shows the patient why compliance is important in maintaining their health.
Top EMR software can help you improve patient care by showing you—at once—all the key information you need to follow up with and manage patients. EMR software for optometrists will also include generic features useful to most health care providers, such as the ability to provide E&M coding advice, e-prescribe, scan documents/images and provide clinical reminders. These solutions may be available either as a standalone EMR or as a complete EMR and practice management (PM) system that helps you manage billing and patient scheduling.
We recommend considering the following factors in your optometry EMR software:
|Office workflow management||Workflow management features can take you and your patient through booking the appointment and visual field exam and/or eye exam. Additionally, it can manage your diagnosis and recommendation for treatment with medicine or corrective lenses, along with scheduling follow-up visits and sending appointment reminders.|
|Intraocular pressure (IOP) tracking||Specialty optometry EMRs may have screens that display a patient’s intraocular pressure (IOP) values as they’ve changed over time. These displays can assist you in evaluation of patient glaucoma risk, and can be a useful tool to visually demonstrate the importance of compliance to your patient.|
|Optometry templates||Specialty EMRs have SOAP note templates specifically designed for your practice. An optometry EMR will include templates for eye exams, blurred or lost vision, conjunctivitis, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and more.|
|Vision and eye exam device integration||Vision and eye exam device integration With device integration, information from your practice’s autorefractor and keratometer can populate your workflow template to further support diagnosis.|
|Prescription & coding assistance||Because readings from devices can be integrated, the software can help you use the proper ICD-10/CPT code and recommend prescriptions. This can assist in reducing chances of undercoding or misprescribing diagnoses, lenses or other treatments.|
|Point-of-sale capabilities||One of the things that separates optometrists from many other medical specialties is the associated retail sales. Some optometry EMRs may offer point-of-sale (POS) capabilities, which can make selling and managing your inventory of glasses and contact lenses faster and easier.|
When you begin the software evaluation process, you need to assess prospective optometry EMR solutions based on your specific requirements. Below are some of the parameters that will help you identify a solution that checks all your boxes:
Number of unique features: You must evaluate features that are unique to your optometry EMR practice based on your specific needs. Some of these features include ability to track contact lens information for patients; integration with visual field machines, autorefractors, keratometers and other ophthalmic tools; compatibility with digital pen technology; POS to facilitate the sale of eyeglasses and contact lenses; and the inclusion of diagrams that graphically document ocular occlusions and various other eye problems.
Size of your practice: Currently, there are optometry EMR software solutions for every practice size available in the market. Since optometry software is designed for a certain type and number of users—and has scope for further scalability—you need to ensure that the final solution takes into consideration the total number of optometry doctors and physicians working in your practice.
Type of systems architecture: You can either install the optometry EMR software on-site on your local servers installed in your practice or in the cloud. An on-premise solution allows practices to be in control of data on individual systems, while a cloud-based solution provides the freedom of accessing data online from any location.
Certification from agencies: Before choosing an optometry EMR software solution, make sure that it is certified and tested by an ONC-Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ONC-ATCB). The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) creates various EMR certification standards and approves vendor EMR products. An ONC-ATCB certification is a guarantee that an EMR software solution has met the required objectives and measures for Meaningful Use (MU). Hence, you should check these certifications before you purchase a solution.
As a buyer, you must see to it that all your core requirements are met and provisions are in place to address the secondary needs later.
As you begin the process of software comparison and evaluation, here are some emerging market trends in the field of optometry that you must consider:
Rise of molecular technology and genomics: The field of optometry is poised to witness the rise of new technologies, such as molecular technology and genomics, which are expected to drastically change the game. This will enable optometrists to use gene chip analysis to detect and treat eye diseases in a more accurate manner and improve the prescription of antibiotics.
Expanded presence of optometrists: Doctors of optometry (ODs) and other practicing optometrists are expected to expand their presence by enabling third-party payers. In addition, they will allow the use of EHRs, such as Physician Quality Reporting Systems (PQRS) and e-prescribing.
Refractive lasers and femtosecond lasers: Doctors of optometry are expected to move to refractive lasers and femtosecond lasers for more applications such as glaucoma surgery, thin LASIK and grafting corneas.
The above trends will help you understand the latest developments in the field of optometry and guide you in selecting the ideal software solution.
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