When Dr. Charles Collins of Eye Care for Rhode Island was looking for Electronic Healthcare Records (EHR) he was turned on to Compulink’s Advantage software because of the company’s origin in optometry. “It was intuitive and user-friendly, and I could tell they knew a lot about what I do,” says Collins. He soon discovered the product was a proven ophthalmology solution that could help him improve clinical and administrative productivity while expanding the quality of his patient care. “With Advantage, my technicians become extenders of my care and can give me wonderful pre-refraction information, which I can fine tune and use to look at a patient’s previous spectacle requirements with the confidence to know if I’m improving things,” Collins says, “It’s just a really amazing product.”
Better Clinical Productivity
After integrating the product and taking the time to learn how to let it help his business grow, Collins sees tremendous improvements in productivity. By taking time to customize tables and information with the typical findings among his most common diagnosis, he is able to make selections from pre-populated tables and then quickly make any necessary adjustments. For example, by scripting out his exams in advance, he is able to choose a template for cataracts, which automatically inserts two paragraphs of information into the patient file. From there, he can personalize and customize the findings in a few short moments.
Adding to the efficiency, data entry can be selected to default to his last positive findings in a patient record. By locating the unique and discriminating data from past visits, he is able to key in on patient progress to see if the patient is getting better or worse. He also finds that many of the past positives are actually chronic conditions, which lets him avoid re-entering the data, as it is already populated in the file. “When I pull up a file, Advantage is able to focus on the information I want to see, so that I can hone in on the pertinent data without having to sort through all the clutter,” says Collins.
Data Input Using Voice and Scanning
He also loves the flexibility Advantage offers in interfacing with other products to enhance productivity. He specifically cites how easily compatible Advantage is with Dragon Medical Transcription software. By combining the two products, he believes he has the best solution for transcription and data entry. He also appreciates how easily he can adapt Advantage to the changing needs of his practice. “It’s an incredibly adaptable system,” Collins says, “The decrease in frustration for my entire practice can’t be measured. Compulink is an integral component of that.”
A key feature for Dr. Collins and his staff’s adaptation to EHR is the ease with which paper documents can be scanned in. Everything from his old paper files, consultant records, partner records from other clinicians, patient information, permission slips, permits and operative reports are all easily scanned in, even remotely. “Working through stacks of paper records can take hours. Nothing is organized,” says Collins. “However, now records are no longer spread all over the place, lost in a trunk of a car, or hidden at the bottom of a pile. EHR lets me find the information immediately, and I love that I never have to thumb through piles of paper.”
“With EHR I have far more time to focus on the patient in front of me than I did before when I was peeling through papers. It’s incredibly efficient,” says Collins. During a typical visit since moving to EHR he spends 2 ½ minutes familiarizing himself with the patient and another 2 ½ minutes examining them. After that he is able to take as long as necessary examining the data or even holding the patient’s hand and talking with them or comforting them, which they appreciate.
Better Business Productivity
“I’m a business man as well as a clinician. The first thing that drives me is the patient, but I also like making money. These are lean times, but my practice is continually growing and I’m able to making more money every year with Compulink,” Collins says.
Advantage’s Practice Management software is a key factor in driving revenue and productivity for the office. Advantage lets them monitor every aspect of their business to locate strengths and weaknesses, and develop a plan for improvement. They are able to generate various financial reports to compare to past years, monitor insurance payment turnaround time, or analyze outstanding billings. This has helped increase proficiency to where they are able to bill out each day, with an average turnaround for receiving insurance payments within two weeks.
Customizable Reporting & Analytics
Compulink’s robust, customizable reporting facilitates this fast, consistent turnaround because the detailed reports let his staff make corrections immediately. Dr. Collins likes that his office manager is able to run daily, weekly, and monthly reports on what types of visits he is seeing. They can then break the reports down further by insurance and materials used to get a very specific and detailed idea of how each department is performing and where the income is coming from. This increased awareness lets them know that if they are seeing less patients or if medical reimbursements are down, but another department is making up for it, they know where to make a stronger push. This has also helped the clinical side become more aware and involved in practices to increase revenue. This has contributed to a 20% increase in business on the year, and Advantage will continue to identify opportunities for growth going forward.
Patient Scheduling & Web Registration
Dr. Collins sees Compulink’s Practice Management system as serving an integral role in all aspects of office management. He says, “There are so many features and so many positives. It’s just a great product.” Specifically, with scheduling, his staff can easily identify where they overscheduled and under-scheduled in order to make improvements going forward. “We can quickly and easily make changes so we don’t keep shooting ourselves in the foot,” says Collins. Recently they have seen great benefit and positive patient feedback from online patient registration. Within the past several months they have seen an increase to approximately 27 online registrations per month. These patients arrive with all their paperwork completed, and can be immediately directed back to the technicians, who are ready and waiting, which saves everyone time.
Optical and Meaningful Use
When generating payroll reports, Advantage accounts for everything from clocking in and out, lunch breaks, and overtime, and simplifies the entire payroll process. In addition, Dr. Collins loves Compulink’s integrated optical point-of-sale features for his dispensary and how well it works for improving efficiency and generating financial information. Last year was the first time Dr. Collins tested for the government’s Meaningful Use program, and he credits Compulink’s support staff for simplifying the process and helping him and his staff understand the steps. Compulink’s Meaningful Use trainers guided them through the submission process, which allowed the doctors in his practice to get their reimbursement checks quickly. Advantage also makes it easy for him to monitor the report quarterly to ensure he is in compliance for this year.
Enhanced Patient Care
In addition to improved efficiency and communication, Dr. Collins sees the Alerts feature as a wonderful tool for increasing the level of care his entire practice is able to provide its patients. By leaving an Alert for the technicians in the patient file, he keeps them updated on the nuances of a particular patient’s care, without taking the time to brief each of them in person. Alerts also improve his ability to connect with his patients and make their visit feel more personalized. He enters short notes about patients’ personal lives during and after a visit; the next time he sees them, he is reminded if they are a widow, or if they had a child or spouse pass away, or other important information. “Alerts are a great and useful automation and not just a sticky note falling off a page. It’s just one of many features that help me provide better care,” says Collins.
While examining a patient Dr. Collins may notice health issues beyond the eye. With Advantage, these are easily notated into the EHR and can then be shared with other specialists or with the patient’s general physician. In addition, prescription information and pharmacy records are auto-imported into the EHR. A note about a patient’s medicine allergy will be immediately seen, and Dr. Collins can simply populate the medicines online, which lets his technicians focus on more important things than having to write down dozens of prescriptions for dozens of new patients. Collins says, “Above all, the patient safety is incredible.”
Improved Quality of Life
Perhaps the most unexpected benefit of Compulink Advantage is that the improvement in office proficiency has carried over into Dr. Collins’ personal life. He says that one of the most noticeable areas is with the time he saves writing letters and communicating with primary physicians. A good part of his business comes from examining patients for diabetic changes in their eyes, which requires him to communicate with their primary physicians. He recounts spending nights and weekends drafting letters and sending out correspondence. Now with Advantage he simply sends a To-Do note to a technician, and when they run into free-time they can pull up a template and send to him for final proofing. In all, it takes him less than a minute to send correspondence out. “I’m not a slave to my correspondence anymore,” Collins says, “It’s wonderful, and it gives me incredible time.”
“Other doctors ask how I’m so happy with EHR and I tell them it’s because Compulink provides a great product. Adaptation seems difficult at first, but it’s well worth it,” Collins concludes, “It’s made life easier. I got my weekends back,” Collins concludes, “It’s the way you practice, it really is.”
Support When it Counts
Dr. Collins admits that launching EHR is not without its challenges and he warns that everyone will run into a few snags. When he first went live three years ago, his practice struggled with implementation because they were also moving into a new office at the same time. The new technology was a big change and they ultimately decided to defer with their first attempt to go live, but came back to it a few months later when they felt more stable. He shares that he felt overwhelmed; but when he shared with Compulink his concerns they were quick to provide him with personalized on-site training to take him by the hand. He recalls how Compulink’s Ophthalmic Product Manager surveyed them remotely and linked in with him to help bridge the gap from where they were to where they needed to be. Collins says, “They’ll adapt and take you by the hand until you are ready. I’ll never forget that.”