Four years ago, N.C.-based MyEyes Optometry was poised for expansion, but practice owner Alan L. Byrd, OD, didn’t want growth to have any negative impact on patient care. In fact, as he acquired other practices, he wanted the transition to be as seamless as possible for patients. As the practice grew from just himself and one other optometrist to 6 doctors in 5 offices, “We really had one goal in mind: to ensure that everyone in the practice focuses on patient care 100% of the time, whether they are dealing with a patient on the phone or in the exam chair,” Dr. Byrd says.
The Solution: Centralize and Automate the Entire Workflow
They decided to move to an electronic health records (EHR) system and consolidate all the practice’s administrative functions (including patient communications, appointment scheduling, insurance, billing, and inventory) in a central call center. “It may sound crazy to make both those changes at once, but we could never have made the call center model work without Compulink’s Eyecare AdvantageTM,” says Dr. Byrd.
Compulink’s integration and customizability made it possible for MyEyes to automate processes across their entire workflow and tie it all in to the call center. For example, the practice created a one-touch re-order button in the contact lens exam screen that connects to Compulink’s inventory/optical POS module. “When I pull a set of trial lenses for a patient, the system automatically alerts our call center to restock that particular prescription,” Dr. Byrd explains. His staff built a custom questionnaire right into the record, too, so that clinicians can monitor the success of contact lens training for new wearers. And if the doctor decides to schedule a patient for LASIK surgery, another simple button push sends a message to the surgery coordinator at the call center, who pulls the patient’s record and schedules the procedure. “There is no EHR or practice management product on the marketplace that offers a fraction of the customization that Compulink allows its users,” he says.
The Results: Double the Revenues without Hiring More Staff
Within 3 years of implementing the call center and EHR system, MyEyes was able to double patient revenue without adding employees. “We’ve been able to specialize, be more efficient, and share information quickly with this model,” says Dr. Byrd. The cost of handling charts, which he estimates at $5 per patient visit, has been eliminated, but resource gains have been an even bigger factor.
“Automated remittance posting through Compulink has dramatically altered how we use staff time,” he says. “A $20,000 check from a large payor like Medicare now posts accurately in a matter of seconds, where before it would have taken our insurance and billing team all day to figure out which claims were covered and post payments to all the appropriate ledger accounts.” Dr. Byrd has also realized his goal of growing in a way that is seamless to patients. The last practice that MyEyes acquired had 15,000 patients. “Within 1 week of closing, all 15,000 patients were in our database and all their records had been scanned in so that we had access to the entire history electronically,” he says. “EHR is a huge commitment, but the return on investment is equally huge.”
Pearls for Success
“Radical change is hard, and some people can’t adapt to it,” says Dr. Byrd. “But if you instill an appreciation for continued learning in all your staff and motivate them to want to be on the cutting edge, you will find that most can embrace change and master it quickly.”
You also need to choose vendors and partners carefully, he says. “I feel very fortunate that Compulink also embraces the idea of being on the cutting edge in the EHR field. I know that the practice will be able to take advantage of Medicare and other EHR incentives because Compulink has invested in their technology and taken the initiative to become certified,” he says.