When the federal government encouraged and then required all medicare providers to use electronic health records (EHR), there was an implicit promise of increased clinical efficiency and improved patient care. However, only with the right system can a practice truly reap these rewards. With Compulink’s Ophthalmology Advantage, an all encompassing EHR and Practice Management system, Orange Coast Eye Center has found the right product to properly manage all the complex aspects of the front office, as well as the tools to educate patients and provide them with a superior level of care. Advantage delivers on the promises of EHR.
Increased Clinical Productivity
After switching to EHR in 2011, Dr. Younger now sees it as a vital way to run a modern practice. He cites two key factors that helped him make it through the transition period to paperless. First was having a system with all the right tools and contained within a single comprehensive system. The second factor was Compulink’s industry leading customer support. “Fortunately, Compulink support was excellent in addressing our concerns and being there for us while we became accustomed to all the features Advantage offers,” says Younger, “Once we became comfortable, we really started seeing true efficiency.”
A few key features stand out amongst the Advantage software that keep the practice running smoothly. Encounter Favorites, which eliminated his concerns over the amount of free typing sometimes required with EHR, has saved templates of each doctor’s most commonly used exams that can be easily adjusted per patient attribute. He also recalls how his paper charts used to be littered with post-it notes to staff members, but now the To Do function, an intra-office messaging system linked to a patient’s account, acts as a virtual ‘sticky note’ to remind specified staff members to send in medication or contact a patient, for example. Additionally, the Alerts within Advantage act as a permanent notice that all staff can see when they enter a patient chart to inform them of key information.
Since switching to EHR, Dr. Younger notes an improvement in accounts receivable. One element in this improvement was being able to easily access patient balances and utilizing Advantage’s tools for generating reports and tracking balances due, which helped reduce accounts receivables that had fallen over 30 or 60 days past due. Also, many patients complain of not actually receiving paper mail, so using Advantage to send email invoices, increases practice efficiency.
Also, Advantage has built in coding logic, which is customized to the preferences of the practice so that the most commonly used codes are easily located and populated. This is helpful now, but will become essential once ICD-10 begins. Dr. Younger now believes that coding and posting an exam can be done within 15 seconds, greatly reducing exam time. Providing an extra level of organization, the electronic ledger ensures the codes and diagnoses align, which improves compliance. Dr. Younger states, “Advantage creates a system of checks and balances for coding, resulting in time saved, fewer missed charges, and increased revenue.”
Dr. Younger notes that Advantage has improved the ability to accurately capture payment. “Advantage includes coding, posting, and billing software, and having all of it contained in one system improves timely billing which can decrease the amount of overdue payments.” Advantage can also generate monthly or quarterly reports that separate out charges by CPT codes. The system can compare private insurers versus HMO, or generate reports and analysis of payer methods and trends, which he was not able to do with an older practice management software. Dr. Younger explains that “Having a tool to look back and see where we are at as a practice has been tremendously important for us to move forward.”
Improved Patient Care
Advantage also helps with patient education as images from diagnostic equipment are easily imported and can then be zoomed in on during a visit. A variety of images can be embedded directly into the patient record. The ability to open and closely examine these images during an exam allows better communication with the patient. Recently, Advantage software also allows state-of-the-art patient education using VueCare Media’s VueSimulator™, an integrated interactive, 3D patient education tool: “the visual data, animations, and videos can be shown to patients with VueSimulator are night and day compared to paper brochures”.
Another feature is that Compulink provides its own web portal for patients to access the Meaningful Use required parts of their patient file. Dr. Younger believes this integrated portal sets Compulink apart from the competition. Advantage auto-generates an email and sends the patient all the required information on demographics, diagnosis, and medication, in order to comply with the latest Meaningful Use rules. He explains that other practice management systems may require an outsourced portal service, but aligning the systems can be complicated. Dr. Younger says, “Advantage makes this process seamless.”