Optometrists Joseph and Peter Studebaker are partners in Englewood, Ohio’s Northwest Optometry, LLC, a full-scope private practice with an emphasis on contact lens fitting and medical care. “Our dad founded this practice more than 45 years ago and some of our charts date back nearly that far,” says Dr. Joseph Studebaker. “Not only was it becoming increasingly difficult to manage the volume of images and paper records, but we felt that administrative demands from third-party payers would only continue to grow,” he says. “We decided to embrace electronic health records (EHR) proactively.”
The Solution: Implementing Compulink’s Eyecare Advantage
“Compulink was a proven partner,” says Dr. Studebaker. “In 15 years of using their Eyecare Advantage practice management software, we’ve seen the company and its products evolve to keep pace with changing technology and practice needs. We knew they would continue to be a strong partner as we transitioned to EHR.” The practice did look seriously at other options. “Some of the other systems were aesthetically appealing, but they didn’t have the functionality or the end-to-end integration of Compulink,” he says. “We knew that to really benefit from EHR, our medical records, diagnostic devices, billing, prescribing, and product orders all needed to work together really well.”
The Result: A Smooth Transition to EHR
With Compulink’s exceptional implementation support, the transition went very smoothly. At first, the doctors gained familiarity by using the system just for routine vision exams. “I think we were all hesitant at first to give up the paper file for more complex patients, but we found that Advantage/EHR can actually support very detailed, sophisticated charting because of its tremendous depth in the documentation of ophthalmic diseases,” says Dr. Studebaker.
“The system is helping us more proactively manage patients with chronic diseases like diabetes and glaucoma,” he says. “It has been a great advantage to be able to incorporate diagnostic images, such as spectral domain OCT, directly into the medical record without third-party software.” Compulink offers seamless integration with more than 150 ophthalmic devices. Dr. Studebaker also likes the enhanced ability with EHR to track clinical tests over time, send personalized follow-up letters to other clinicians, and generate recall notices for patients who are overdue for preventative monitoring. “Ensuring that chronic disease patients receive timely and appropriate care is one of the greatest assets of an EHR system,” he says.
He has also seen an impact on patient perceptions. “Our surveys indicate that patient satisfaction has improved since we began using Advantage/EHR, and I know my patients are impressed that I can transmit prescriptions to their pharmacy electronically.” Plus, he says, E-Rx makes it simple to participate in Medicare’s E-Prescribing Incentive Program by supplying relevant codes. The health care marketplace of the future is a digital one,” says Dr. Studebaker. “With Compulink, we’re ready for that future.”
Pearls for Success
“Our biggest mistake was putting off EHR customization,” says Dr. Studebaker. “Compulink’s EHR was very effective right ‘out of the box.’ We thought customizing it would be too difficult, but it has actually been fairly easy to do. Moving some fields around and better defining our default treatment plans, for example, has really helped us realize the efficiencies of EHR. Our transitions would have gone faster and more smoothly had we done that from the beginning.”