Over the past few years, Midwest Eye Consultants has grown from 2 doctors at a single location to 38 doctors at 26 locations, including clinics, surgery centers, a LASIK center, a lens lab and even an
audiology clinc. “For a while, each office was a standalone site with its own patient database. That was unwieldy from a management perspective, and it meant that we were wasting time duplicating tasks that could have been centralized,” says Jackie Imus, IT Project Manager. The practice’s strategy of growth through acquisition means she has had to do something most administrators dread — convert practice management data from one software package to another — over and over again. In the past year alone, she’s converted data from 9 different practices to Compulink’s Eyecare Advantage, now used practice-wide.

The Compulink Solution
Fast, Easy Integration
Imus has worked closely with Compulink staff to make sure her conversions go smoothly. “We have done conversions now from OfficeMate, AllScripts-Misys, RLISYS, AdvantX, and others. Each
time, we’ve been able to transfer all the data we need quickly and seamlessly,” says Imus. “We can convert a practice in as little as 3 hours.” She focuses on transferring patient demographic data, recalls and appointment scheduling. “Those are the components you really need to start functioning and generating revenue,” she says. Billing and accounts receivables are usually left in the old system, which can be used concurrently for a few months to send bills and post payments from earlier visits. “You really have to think about what data you want from the old system and why,” says Imus. “A/R may not be worth transferring, particularly if the old system was less robust or data were not entered correctly.”

Imus didn’t choose Compulink herself. But having seen many other systems in practice now, she’s convinced Eyecare Advantage was the right choice. “The Compulink software is very intuitive,” says Imus. “And because it is so comprehensive, there are no barriers to the flow of information from one office to the next or from the clinic to the lens lab or surgery center.” Finally, she says, the ability to customize is what makes Eyecare Advantage really valuable, particularly as the practice moves towards implementing electronic health records (EHR). “You can use it right out of the box, but you can also customize it extensively, so that it supports all the features that make your practice unique,” she says.

The Outcome
Eliminate Redundancies and Save Money
Imus estimates that consolidating the practice’s operations with Compulink has saved 114 hours per month in staff time, and thousands of dollars per month in overhead costs, including $1,300 per month in reporting expenses alone. “Our next challenge is adding Web Registration and EHR, which represent an opportunity to gain even greater efficiencies and to do so much more with clinical data than we currently do,” she says. Compulink already gives her powerful data analysis tools. “I love that I can look at data on a macro level, practice-wide, or drill down specifically to contact lens exam revenue by provider. With most other software systems, it is just not possible for a multi-office practice to do that easily,” she says. And as she takes on the EHR challenge, Imus says she’s grateful for the tremendous training and support Compulink offers its clients. “Like any practice, we have some unique challenges. I have always felt that Compulink is as dedicated to our success as we are,” she says.

Practice Pearls
Imus offers this advice to fellow administrators:
The biggest factor in a successful conversion is to test everything in advance, says Imus. She builds tables ahead of time and does a practice merge into a test environment about 3 weeks ahead. This lets her see how the tables look and verify that data isn’t lost — and it also gives staff a chance to use the system without worrying that they’ll ‘break’ it. “Staff members are going to feel overwhelmed and panicky at the prospect of learning a whole new software system. But by showing them the benefits and giving them plenty of opportunities to take training courses and practice, you can help them feel more comfortable,” she says. “I always tell them my goal is to make their work easier. I want the computer to work harder than they do.”

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