While Dr. Steven Grosser of West Metro Ophthalmology had used practice management software in the past, the decision to implement electronic health records (EHR) came with some apprehension. His relatively large practice worked efficiently, so his partners thought it might not be prudent to rock the boat. However, he knew that the future of healthcare would be electronic, so it was a change his practice needed to embrace sooner or later. He realized that sooner made the most business sense, to capitalize on the government’s incentives to help offset the initial cost, and set his practice up for long-term compliance. At that point the decision became about finding not only the best product, but also the best partner with which to form a long-term relationship. After a lengthy vetting process, Compulink won over Dr. Grosser and his EHR selection team with their full-featured and customizable EHR, long track record of success, and great customer service, all for a competitive price.
The Right Choice
West Metro Ophthalmology has four offices, with multiple providers and an optical shop. Dr. Grosser knew that implementing a single system to cover all of their diverse needs would be a complex affair, and he wanted a vendor that truly partnered with him. From the initial demonstrations to the preparation, execution and follow-up to their EHR launch, Compulink provided Dr. Grosser’s practice with great support and attention to his questions, concerns and feedback.
Dr. Grosser credits the Compulink implementation team for helping him and his practice understand that the conversion from paper to EHR is a process and not an event. They helped develop West Metro’s recipe for success: buy-in from all partners and key people, an in-house ‘go live’ team drawn from all critical areas, and finding a trusted IT partner for all hardware and equipment interfacing. In his case, launching Advantage at the same time across all four locations made the best sense and took a great deal of coordination between his practice, the IT partner, and Compulink support. The Compulink team made sure that his practice’s Go-Live Committee had a clear vision of the entire process, and that they were ready for each step along the way. “It is easy to underestimate the complexity and disruption of a go-live process, Compulink really broke it down for us in a nuts and bolts fashion,” says Grosser.
Dr. Grosser appreciates that throughout their relationship, even after going live, the Compulink team has repeatedly shown a commitment to ensuring West Metro is fully maximizing Advantage’s capabilities. Dr. Grosser attributes his success with EHR, in large part, to Compulink’s willingness to listen. He loves that that they value his input, and are continually improving their product and service. “The Compulink culture is just amazing,” Dr. Grosser continues, “It’s not an opaque company where I can only talk to a help desk. I know the CEO of the company on down, and they know me, and understand my concerns.”
The second characteristic Dr. Grosser was searching for in a vendor was staying power. Switching to EHR was a task he only wanted to undertake once, and he did not want to take a risk with lost access to patient data if the company were to fold or be sold. Compulink’s longevity and sterling reputation within the industry really called his attention. He values Compulink’s decades of experience, and sees it as an indicator of staying power. Some EHR companies Dr. Grosser looked at were newer startups, which raised a concern due to the volatile nature of small companies. “Transferring patient information into a new database is a large undertaking. I wanted a partner that would still be there for me for the next ten years and beyond,” says Grosser, “Compulink’s size, expertise, and track record gives me full confidence about the future.”
Now that he is on the other side of a successful EHR launch, Dr. Grosser sees first-hand how Advantage is loaded with tools and features to enhance his productivity and help him provide better care. Advantage’s E-Prescribing feature streamlines communications to the pharmacy, provides immediate access to a patient’s last prescription and number of refills, checks insurance coverage, and screens for allergies, ensuring greater safety. While Advantage is designed to simplify workflow in an ophthalmology practice, it can also be customized, allowing doctors to apply their own personalized adjustments and tweaks in order to meet their unique needs. Dr. Grosser sees this as perhaps Compulink’s greatest “advantage.” He understood that no matter how good an EHR was designed, individual practices are different, and even the same practice will evolve over time in unpredictable ways. “Compulink puts the ability to customize into the hands of the user, to the extent they feel comfortable. For those that don’t feel comfortable or have time, the company will help a practice develop their own customizations,” says Dr. Grosser. For example, For the top 75 diagnoses coded in his office, Dr. Grosser has a single-click button that auto-populates his assessment and treatment plan, some of which will also help with other aspects of visit documentation. If one of his providers or technicians request a change, it can be ready the next day.
Additionally, almost all of his practice’s correspondence is now handled through Advantage. In order to write a letter after an office visit, he simply presses a button, and the patient’s information is extracted directly from the EHR into a letter template that the practice designed. He is then able to quickly review and send. Dr. Grosser says transcription costs are down 80% from pre-EHR levels. Various ‘quick’ buttons benefit his entire staff, as technicians, front desk staff, business office staff, and surgery schedulers all enjoy increased efficiency. Dr. Grosser explains that while these features seem small, their benefit is great. “As patient visits continue to rise, personalizing the system is how we improve efficiency, revenue and quality of life,” says Grosser.
As he and his staff become more comfortable with the system, they are utilizing more features, such as insurance eligibility verification, automated remittance posting, and the collections management system. These features save his front-office hours of time and improve collections. Although the practice has added two providers in the three years since their ‘go-live’ date, the number of business office and front desk staff have remained constant.
Dr. Grosser knows he has found the right partner in Compulink, and he recommends Advantage for any practice that is not satisfied with their EHR or is looking to ‘go live’ for the first time. While it may never seem ideal to go through the transition again, he points out that the peace of mind and security from knowing Compulink will still be there 10 years down the road makes the decision worth it for anyone. Grosser says, “Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t go with any other company. Compulink understands that we’re in this together for the long term.”