3 Technology Time Savers
Rachel Foster, OD
Midwest Vision Care of Columbia, LLC
These days the to-do list is never ending. To spend any quality time doing enjoyable things, it is important to be as efficient as possible. Using technology in your practice is one way to shave off time throughout the day. I use a variety of technologies to do this, but here are a few that save the most time with today’s rigorous provider guidelines.
1. Patient Engagement & Confirmation System
Using a confirmation system that syncs with my EHR allows staff more time to dedicate to other areas of the office instead of sending out appointment reminders all day. This is also a huge money saver, as there isn’t the need to hire additional staff to work only on scheduling as the system does the heavy lifting. The patient engagement tool we use sends out reminders for scheduled appointments, syncs up with the EHR to mark the appointments confirmed, and also allows us to send other important messages about scheduling when patients are overdue. Another benefit is an internal survey to give patients the opportunity to let us know how we are doing.
2. In Office Technology
Ophthalmic technology has come such a long way over the last decade. Now at the push of a button, one can have multiple data sets that would have taken 2 or 3 different instruments in the past. Technology like auto-refractors, automated phoroptors, screening tests, automatic lensometers and handle held devices such as iCare or Tonopen help speed up the testing phase of the examination as the patient does not have to jump from instrument to instrument and instead can have most of this done from the comfort of the examination chair.
Another time saver is that most instruments also integrate into the EHR so that all values are saved with a quick “print” instead of manually entering multiple data points. The biggest time saver in my office is an automated lane. One card with AR and a second with their historical RX are inserted into the instrument which loads both in 2 seconds. I can quickly go through the refraction and then push a button to show old Rx vs new without having to reach for loose lenses.
First, not only are my charts electronic, but they are also cloud-based. This set up allows me to work quickly on updating charts, billing and running reports from the office, my home or anywhere else I can pull up the internet. As a type-A personality, I like to have ALL my charts done before I leave each day. If I am pulled away before I can complete each one, I have the option of finishing them later that evening from my couch while things are still fresh in my mind.
A secondary benefit of my EHR system is an app installed on my smart phone that lets me look at my schedule at a moment’s notice or even pull up a patient’s phone number if I am returning an emergency call. These are both huge time savers as I can quickly get the information entered or pulled up instead of having to drive into the office early or stay late.
RevolutionEHR also allows me to do many other functions at the touch of a button. I can create patient letters and plans with a variety of templates that allow me to format notes quickly. There are also many shortcuts that help to speed up the examination and ordering. For example, if a patient wears contacts, staff can enter in the right eye and then “duplicate” the same brand and power for the left eye with the click of a button. Similarly with glasses orders, not only does pulling the authorized prescription through the system and then electronically submitting the order to the lab save time, it also eliminates human error.
Other Wonderful Benefits of Technology
- Using templates, copy/paste and a number of other quick key shortcuts that make quick work out of assessment and plan fields.
- Verifying insurance benefits/Pulling insurance authorizations
- Using technology for electronic insurance submissions, EOB and ERA
- Being able to “print” documents as a PDF and move it to the patient’s chart without having to actually print with paper and ink and then scan into records with a final shred of the wasted resources
Implementing technology in your practice can save time for both doctors and staff, leading to increased efficiency, practice growth, and more free time for enjoying activities outside the office.
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