How Switching Optometry EHRs Can Boost Your Practice

This is article was created in partnership with Rev360, a supporter of NewGradOptometry & new graduate optometrists! 😎

how switching optometry ehrs can boost your practice

There are many kinds of optometry EHRs – some good, some great!

We’ve all been in situations where we wished our optometry EHR could do something more, or maybe differently, that would make practicing easier and more efficient.

It can be tough to know when it’s time to change your optometry EHR. Because of the investment in time and resources to make the change, it seems like no time is ever perfect.

Biggest Barriers to Switching Optometry EHRs
Figure 1: A General EHR Survey of Optometrists and Optometry Students by NewGradOptometry. {Click to enlarge}

However, in many cases, changing your EHR can have a massive impact on your practice. An EHR is one of the biggest assets a practice has when it comes to practice management. It can truly be transformative when it comes to practicing efficiently, and understanding the weaknesses and strengths of your business in its ability to capture and help you analyze key performance indicators.

NewGradOptometry conducted a survey of its users and asked participants to report their biggest concern in regards to switching optometry EHRs. A lack of familiarity and loss of productivity were the two of the most common barriers to switching EHRs which might not come as a surprise. The biggest barrier to switching, however, was the fear of losing patient data.

What would motivate you to switch optometry EHRs
Figure 2: A General EHR Survey of Optometrists and Optometry Students by NewGradOptometry. {Click to enlarge}

So, what would be enough to motivate a practice owner to switch EHRs? We probed deeper in our survey and found the following (Figure 2). Discovering another EHR that offers better features and support was the number one most reported answer.

In this article, we sat down with Dr. Craig Sylte, asked how he knew when it was time to switch his optometry EHR, and what ultimately led him to choosing RevolutionEHR.

About: Dr. Craig E. Sylte

A Wisconsin native, Dr. Craig E. Sylte is a graduate of UW-Madison and completed his Optometry degree at Indiana University School of Optometry in 2009. Dr. Sylte enjoys all areas of patient care including specialty contact lenses, children’s vision, refractive surgery consultations, treatment of eye diseases, and care for low vision patients. He is a member of the Fox Cities Optometric Society, Wisconsin Optometric Association, American Optometric Association, New London Chamber of Commerce and Clintonville Chamber of Commerce.

How long have you been in practice?

I started practicing in 2009 as an associate and purchased 50% of that same practice in 2012. I went on to purchase the rest in January 2017!

How many different EHRs have you used?

I’ve used 3 different EHRs. I used one optometry EHR system when I was a student. When I started practice, we were using paper charts, and then adopted our first optometry EHR in 2011. We stayed with this system until we ultimately switched to RevolutionEHR in February of 2018.

What were some of the reasons you were hesitant to switch EHRs?

The usual reasons. Change is hard, and we had used our previous system for close to seven years. We knew that we would have to invest a major amount of time in retraining the whole staff and there would be significant costs involved directly with the change. Beyond that, there would be indirect cost associated with reducing our schedule when the EHR went live to allow extra time for training.

I had been involved in our change from paper charts to EHR, and the clinic had been around for about 30 years at that point, so there were tons of charts that took years to get scanned and uploaded to our old system. The prospect of having to go through so much data conversion and reentry again was not appealing, but we knew it would only get worse if we waited.

What were the major frustrations with the previous optometry EHR(s) you had used?

A big one was that we were running a server-based system between two clinics that shared lots of patients, and there was no way for the systems to communicate with one another.

The analytics capability seemed to be severely lacking and made it extremely tedious to calculate any industry standard performance metrics. We were promised improvements and new features from the start, but they either took way longer than we were told or never came about at all. We continually felt like we were told to just hang on because greatness was just around the corner.

RevolutionEHR provides the capability to create custom reports on the precise information you need to understand and evaluate key performance indicators and review business data for practice analysis. Learn more about these reporting capabilities.

Why did you decide to choose RevolutionEHR?

They have been a leader in the space for a long time, especially when it comes to cloud-based options. This alone solved some of our frustrations. It took away the burden to keep servers up-to-date, maintained secure VPN connections so that we could access our offices remotely, and made access more reliable.

I had been following the company and their product for quite some time, and I got the impression that they frequently updated and improved their core product. They have a broader use base compared to our old system, so the equipment integration covers many more vendors and equipment that we use.

Biggest Influencer When Choosing An Optometry EHR
Figure 3: A General EHR Survey of Optometrists and Optometry Students by NewGradOptometry. {Click to enlarge}

One of the biggest reasons we liked it was how much easier it makes running the back end of the business because of how they handle reporting and data tracking.

When it comes to choosing a new EHR, we wanted to find out what was most important to practice owners. We asked participants what the biggest influencer was when it came to choosing an EHR. We found ease of implementation, user support, and having an all in one system were the top most important factors for practice owners.

What were the most important practice management / business solutions to you when you decided to make the switch?

Since I had been through one EHR implementation I had seen some of the pitfalls that made it more difficult than it should have been. Due to this we wanted to be sure that whatever company we chose would have a great plan and support in place to make this change as seamless as possible.

Most Attractive Capability of An Optometry EHR
Figure 4: A General EHR Survey of Optometrists and Optometry Students by NewGradOptometry. {Click to enlarge}

We like the amount of additional services that Rev360 offers, such as RevAspire, which has been phenomenal for us to navigate the implementation of MIPS. We will most likely not only avoid any penalty but thanks to them we expect to get an increase in reimbursement.

In our survey, we asked users to weigh in on the most attractive capabilities of an optometry EHR (Figure 4). A majority of users at 59.1% reported an all in one system was the most coveted feature.

Here are all of the great business and practice management solutions offered by Rev360. As well as an in-depth article and video that highlights RevConnect, a patient engagement and recall system developed by Rev360.

What was the process like when it came time to switch? Did you lose any data?

Rev360 supplies new RevolutionEHR users with a specialist that guides your office through the whole process from training to going live and beyond. Of course I can’t speak for everybody, but the person we got to work with was phenomenal. She spoke with myself and our office manager at length to find out how our practice operated, what our employees were like, our concerns about the process, etc. After that she supplied us with a specific training plan for the clinic and another plan for each type of employee— technician, optician, insurance team, etc.

Early on we committed to following their plan as closely as possible. We knew that Rev360 had helped countless practices through this transition and they are the experts so we let them do their job. Our entire team would follow up with her weekly and the management team was in constant contact with her. Once it was time to go live, we started with a reduced schedule but had a strategy in place to quickly ramp back up to our regular pace. The planning, preparation, and support made it possible to do this and minimize the time we had to use the reduced schedule.

There was very minimal data loss, and it was in non-critical areas. We do refer back to our old system to access old documents that we knew would not be transferred, but Rev360 was able to bring over more information from our old system than almost any other EHR company said they would have been able to.

Since making the switch to RevolutionEHR – how has this helped your practice’s efficiency and general patient flow?

The bookkeeping and monthly reporting is exponentially faster than it used to be. The services offered by Rev360 for governmental compliance with MIPS has already saved me many hours. One of the nicest features that we use all the time is the built in ability to send secure messages and assign tasks to other team members. I no longer have sticky notes all over my desk asking me to do things or have to make time to talk to a specific optician about something. I simply get assigned a task to update a contact lens Rx, and I can do it at any time, click complete, and then the optician takes care of the rest, all without me having to track them down!

General patient flow, remarkably enough, is about the same or better than it was with our old system. I say remarkably because we had been with the old system for seven years and we have not even arrived at nine months of using RevolutionEHR. Once we start seeing patients back again and already have them updated in the system we will get even more efficient. I think most people will agree that the first twelve to eighteen months using a new system are the most difficult, so we feel quite optimistic for what the future holds using RevolutionEHR for our practice.

About Antonio Chirumbolo

Antonio Chirumbolo
Antonio Chirumbolo, OD, is Associate Director of Marketing at CovalentCareers. Antonio's focus is in the world of digital publications and healthcare marketing, with special attention on content creation, management, and development.

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