A Few of My Favorite Ophthalmology EMR Features

by Noah England | May 9, 2018 | , , ,

Highlights from using our ophthalmology software

Deciding to switch to a new ophthalmology electronic medical record (EMR) system can be a daunting task. With a multitude of ophthalmology EMR options how do you know which is the right one? I can tell you that at The Eye and Laser Center we evaluated a handful of different ophthalmology software products, and when it came down to it the final decision was unanimous. We decided Modernizing Medicine’s ophthalmology EMR system, EMA™, and the suite of solutions would benefit our practice in more ways than one. I want to share with you why we selected Modernizing Medicine as our EMR vendor of choice, highlight some of the key features and explain how their ophthalmology software and skilled team have benefited our practice.

Three Key Reasons We Selected Modernizing Medicine for our Ophthalmology Software

1. An all-in-one ophthalmology system. We knew the ophthalmology software we selected needed to be an all-in-one system. Since Modernizing Medicine’s ophthalmology EMR, EMA, integrates with their ophthalmology Practice Management, it eliminated many other EMR systems that didn’t offer an all-in-one solution. Plus we use their Analytics platform more on that later.

2. Built for Ophthalmologists. We needed an intuitive and easy to use EMR from a physician’s perspective. One of the primary reasons that the physicians and the leadership team alike selected EMA was because it’s an ophthalmology-specific system.

3. Built by Ophthalmologists. Modernizing Medicine’s ophthalmology EMR was designed not only by programmers, but also designed by ophthalmologists that actually work in the field. As you use the system, it becomes evident that the platform was built by individuals who actually practice medicine.

As we started really utilizing Modernizing Medicine’s ophthalmology EMR and suite of solutions, I’ve selected some of my favorite product features and perks of working with Modernizing Medicine that have helped revolutionize our practice.

Orders Log in Our Ophthalmology EMR

Using the orders log within EMA has drastically increased the practice’s efficiency by mostly eliminating paper surgical slips. Previously, surgical slips would start in the back by the clinical staff and be given to the front office so that their data could be added. Then the papers were placed in a basket and eventually someone came downstairs from the insurance department to collect them. Finally, the paper chart eventually had to make its way into the electronic medical record. This process included a lot of manual steps that we wanted to eliminate.

Now with our ophthalmology EMR we’ve eliminated the need for paper. With EMA our clinical staff in the back initiates the orders log which then automatically cues somebody upstairs that a pre-approval for surgery is needed. Once that’s done the data is faxed to the ambulatory surgery center (ASC), so there’s no paper to lose or mishandle.

Another benefit includes showing who does what and how much work they actually complete. For instance, if you have all your orders pre-approved or they wind up being handled by a single person, you know there may be potential issues as the work isn’t being distributed among the staff adequately. I can track the process from the beginning to the end. Previously, I could not track a piece of paper that could have been in five or six places.

Additionally, I can see the status of our pre-approval at any time. One of the perks includes the ability to fax that directly to the surgical centers. This has made a big difference by removing the need for someone to fax and scan the documentation. The orders log has been a great asset for us. 

Automatic Coding and Billing

With EMA we no longer have a superbill. There’s no real reason to mark any of the diagnosis codes or CPT codes because they’re already built into the system. We don’t need to use a superbill to route people since EMA helps takes care of that.

When I first came to the Eye and Laser Center, the techs in the back would mark the diagnosis codes and CPT codes. These had to be coded in the front to ensure the proper diagnosis code and the proper modifiers were documented. It took a long time to train the front desk staff to enter all of that information, and we had quite a few errors. We now know when the patient comes to the front that all the billing coding has been completed. Since a majority of the proper modifiers have already been inputted, it has drastically reduced the number of errors. We used to have four people at the front desk and now we’re down to two on most days. This has enabled us to allocate those resources elsewhere to improve the overall patient experience.

The automated coding built into EMA helps us save time because it makes sure we have the coding elements needed. This is especially important when our team does a complex eye code or level four.

The Cloud: Backing Up Your Data

Knowing that our data gets backed-up across multiple data centers, across multiple networks helps me sleep at night. I know that I don’t have to depend on somebody at a local site to make sure that they took the tape home, changed the tape in the back or wonder if the carbonite took off. As the practice manager, it gives me the warm and fuzzies because I don’t have to worry about our data burning up in a fire or ruined in a flood.

Additionally, since EMA was built as a native iPad application we have the option to use a web browser or the native iPhone application known as PocketEMA™. This gives us the ability to access information from almost anywhere at any time, via virtually any compatible device, if the user has login credentials and a secure connection.

It’s important to understand that not all cloud-based ophthalmology EMR systems are created equally. There’s a huge difference when you start to learn the details. Ask pertinent questions of your vendors and of client references too.

Healthcare Analytics at Your Fingertips

Since I’m a numbers person, Analytics truly excites me and it’s one of the big ‘wow’ factors from Modernizing Medicine. I use the Analytics system multiple times a day, nearly every day. Even the providers and department leads use it. In our office we operate on a pay for performance system so we track individual metrics.

Using Analytics we can track the health of our practice when it comes to what we’re billing, how were billing, our time to payment, top payers, overall performance of our payers, overall performance of each location and even the overall performance of each physician. We can keep track of those metrics in real time, at any given point in time. 

The other crucial element that goes along with our pay per performance includes our staff productivity since we can look at a specific employee’s activity. It helps us monitor how staff performs because they can tell you, “I did a lot of charts today.” When I can pull up a graph that shows how many they actually did, the numbers don’t lie. All of this factors into their bonus.

Our staff and auditors look at eye codes and E/M codes closely. At our practice we compare ourselves to other providers who use EMA, and more importantly we need to see how we compare to data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Analytics: The Production Summary

The dynamic production summary report in Analytics allows us to look at locations and then see all the providers that we’re billing. When it comes to the CPT codes, we can get very granular and look at any of our physician’s CPT codes. It shows reimbursements, the total for the physicians as well as what they’re individually billing. I can even look at the payer next to the CPT codes, and it will show me the top payers for that particular CPT code for that particular physician. I have the ability to get as granular as I want with this information and can export all this data in an Excel spreadsheet to retain it and really decode it.

The Value of an Integrated Ophthalmology Practice Management System

With a lot of vendors you’ll have an EMR system that does just the clinical side and then a separate practice management system that handles your patient intake, coding, billing, demographics and financials.

When you have one vendor that handles the EMR system and another for the practice management system, an HL7 interface can help the two talk to each other at least one way. With this setup the practice management system will dump the demographics down to the EMR, and sometimes the EMR will push CPT codes up, but it’s not a real-time interface, so they don’t really talk to each other. They just have a translator in between. When you have two different non-integrated systems, if that link breaks and your demographics don’t translate chaos can easily ensue. If the coding or the billing did not get pushed up to the front, that can then create an issue for the billing system resulting in manual input.

With a fully integrated system like you have with Modernizing Medicine, the EMR and ophthalmology Practice Management systems talk directly to each other. When we add a patient to the system, it connects with the back office and includes all the patient’s demographics. When billing and coding is completed in the charts, the front office can view it too. It allows us to view the whole visit from the front office to the back office with one system, which is extremely important from a support standpoint.

For example at checkout our staff can schedule an appointment requested by the doctor or create a recall for that appointment with a couple of clicks. They can view the billing summaries from the visit, see any prescriptions that went out to the pharmacy and print those for the patient. Additionally, they can see any requested referrals. Since all that information can be viewed on one screen, it speeds up the checkout process.

Engaging Our Patients with modmed® Kiosk

When we first heard about modmed Kiosk, we had concerns as not all our patients are tech-savvy. However, it has proven very user-friendly for all technological skill levels. Now we can more quickly acquire data by simply handing the patient an iPad and allowing them to fill in their information and sign forms. It eliminates the need to sign and scan papers, and patients can almost bypass the front desk.

The Support Team, Implementation, Training and Knowledge Repository

One of the main reasons we elected to go with Modernizing Medicine included their support team. The support has been vastly superior to other EMR support teams I’ve worked with previously. Located in Florida, their team is available from 8 AM to 9 PM EST, Monday through Friday and you actually connect with a live person when you call. 

Both the initial and ongoing training we opted for has been outstanding. Modernizing Medicine hosts webinars, including for when there are upgrades or updates, which have proven to be a great learning tool and help keep our team up-to-date. We have various options to contact support including calling directly or opening a ticket. If we have a complex problem that’s challenging to get across in a ticketing system, we have the availability to call and talk to somebody. If something quick pops up, like resetting a firm admin ID, submitting a ticket is easy, and we don’t have to call anybody or wait on hold. The next thing we know it’s addressed, we receive an email back, and it’s taken care of.

We also utilize a knowledge repository called modmed® Central to access documents, videos, receive updates and converse with other users. It’s been an especially phenomenal resource when new employees join our team to help get them up to speed.

From my experience and our practice’s experience with Modernizing Medicine’s suite of ophthalmology solutions, I would strongly encourage you to schedule an online demo and meet their team at one of the upcoming conferences during the year. It’s important to do your research to find the right ophthalmology software for your practice. 

Interested in learning more about the products Noah discussed?

Noah England

Noah England

Practice Administrator at The Eye & Laser Center

Noah has over 20 years of experience working with EHR and practice management systems, and he helped start one of the first paperless medical practice in the nation.

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