As he prepared to launch his solo ophthalmology practice, Joseph L. Sokol, MD, knew he wanted to go paperless. In designing the new office layout, he didn’t even allocate space for a chart room. “After 11 years in group practice, I felt like paper charts were becoming really outdated and inefficient. Since I had the luxury of starting from the ground up, I wanted to position my practice for the future,” he says.

The Solution: Roll Compulink’s Ophthalmology Advantage™ into Startup Costs
“I researched electronic health records (EHR) extensively,” says Dr. Sokol. “Ultimately, I chose Compulink’s Ophthalmology Advantage for two reasons: First, the company had a proven track record in ophthalmology and eye care. That experience makes a difference,” he says. “And secondly, it seamlessly integrated EHR with all the scheduling, billing, and other practice management functions I needed.”

“I was impressed with the two-step implementation,” Dr. Sokol says. In the planning phase, his task was to think through the clinical workflow and how patients would physically move through the office. Once that was clearly established, he says, “Compulink loaded all our information, set up the insurance tables, and taught my staff and me how to use the system. Because the day-to-day functions were so easy to learn, we immediately felt more relaxed about using the system and were able to tackle more complex functions in short order.”

The Result: With EHR, I’m a Better Doctor
“A good EHR system can help eliminate the weaknesses of human error and memory,” Dr. Sokol says. “I know my medical records are more complete and more legible with EHR—and they are accessible to me from anywhere,” he says. “ Compulink’s EHR is so customizable that I’m able to build treatment algorithms into my system so that I’m providing more consistent medical care of chronic diseases like glaucoma. Also, when I order a test, the Advantage system prompts me to follow up on the test result. Courtesy letter templates that can be personalized with just a few keystrokes help me communicate with other providers much faster and more frequently than I did in the past,” he says. “That’s just a better way to practice medicine.”

Advantage has really simplified the billing process, he says. “The system validates claims against the elements and diagnoses in the electronic record for enhanced accuracy. And with auto-posting and auto-remittance, I don’t need a billing or computer expert on staff, which gives me a lot more flexibility in hiring,” Dr. Sokol says. “My patients also perceive EHR and e-Prescribing as more high-tech and progressive, so it makes a very positive impression for my practice.”

Pearls for Success
“Once you have narrowed down the list of potential EHR vendors to a few serious contenders, take the time to visit similar practices using those systems,” Dr. Sokol advises. “Some systems that looked good in the demo proved to be rather cumbersome when I saw them in a real practice setting. I learned a great deal about Compulink’s capabilities and the opportunities for customization when I visited another solo practitioner who was using it. I also asked a lot of questions about training. I think the quality of the educational materials provided by Compulink and the availability of live training were instrumental to my success.”

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