Meaningful Use Incentives and Penalties Made Simple

oct1It’s October 1, and meaningful use is a hot topic. Here are the scenarios that you can expect:

First time Medicare providers who did not attest on October 1, 2014 will be assessed a 1% penalty in Medicare reimbursements beginning January 1, 2015. That penalty will increase by 1% every year, up to a maximum of 5% reimbursement adjustment.

What are your options?

  • Providers can stop the penalty by using a meaningful use CEHRT.
  • Providers who exercised the hardship exemption, which was available earlier this year, will NOT be assessed the penalty in 2015.
    • Those providers can start their attestation in 2015 and still receive an incentive.
      • Up to $8,000 in 2015
      • Maximum of $12,000 for their last two years of meaningful use participation

 

For more information, visit www.eyefinity.com/mu2

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Get out of the fog Stay safe in the cloud – Part 1

Andrew H. Lee, Senior Product Manager fogblog_security_150px

How much risk of a security breach is there in maintaining personal health records?
“A data breach on par with last year’s retail sector calamity is a possibility for the health care industry…” according to a recent article on data security by The American Optometric Association.  Unfortunately these prophecies are coming to fruition. CNNMoney has just reported a major hospital network security breach, in which 4.5 million patients’ records were stolen, leaving patients at risk for fraud and identity theft.

Clearly the risk of a security breach is real.  Paper, laptops, and thumb drives can be stolen from your practice.  Network connections can be hacked into if you do not secure your Wi-Fi Hotspot.  However can you trust your cloud vendor? You need to know what to look for in a cloud-based solution to further mitigate your risk.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Security in the Cloud.  We’ll tell you five key factors to consider when selecting a solution to fit your needs and stay safe in the cloud.

Shape the future of practice management!
See what’s up and coming, and let us hear from you about your vision for your practice. Learn more.

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Cloud Technology in a Flash

blog_stopwatchThe second installment in our series of posts about cloud technology. Now let’s look at speed and bandwidth.

by Eyefinity Senior Product Manager Andrew Lee

Better Use of Time
A cloud-based system can save you time, by removing hardware issues from your practice and providing readily accessible records, but what’s required?

The Need for Speed
Internet speed can be a significant factor. Before taking the leap to the cloud, ask providers about bandwidth requirements for their solutions. This is important when evaluating the cost of a practice management solution. If you’re required to subscribe to a very high-speed internet service, that’s a red flag. This could add hundreds of dollars every month, and suddenly what seemed like a low monthly cost for the practice management system, is drastically inflated.

We recommend a minimum of 3 Mbps (Megabits per second) download and 1.5 Mbps upload speeds. For optimal performance, you’ll want 3 – 6 Mbps, depending on the number of doctors and staff in your office.   Check your current speeds at www.speedtest.net.

Ask the Right Questions
Some practice management solutions require speeds up to 20 mbps, and have response times up to 30 seconds, so be sure to ask what’s required, and how fast the system will respond. A web-based system should respond within a couple of seconds, and an optimized system should average less than one second.

Up next, unlocking the secret to security in the cloud.

We want to hear from YOU.
With your input, the next level of practice management solutions will be everything you want and need it to be. Learn more.

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Engage your Patients

scheduler

Your most important marketing tool just got better. See how eWebExtra™, your Eyefinity® website solution, integrates seamlessly with OfficeMate® v10+ to make you more available to your customers.

Patients want the ability to view appointment times and schedule appointments directly from your website. And the best part is that you can now accept these appointments with just a click. OfficeMate automatically captures and pre-populates all of your patient’s data without any additional work for you.

Simplify your workflow and eliminate:

• Manual entry

• Appointment scheduling conflicts

• Additional appointment scheduling negotiations

• Missed appointment opportunities

Once your patient schedules an appointment through your website, all you have to do is approve the time and the appointment information will automatically be added to OfficeMate. You still have the power to approve or deny all appointments scheduled online.

To take advantage of this new feature, you will need to upgrade your eWebExtra OfficeMate driver. Log on to http://www.eyefinity.com, click on the eWeb tab. Click on the “manage OfficeMate Integration” button. Once there, you will be able to update your “Schedule Sync” and “Patient Info Inbox” with the new installers.

We are committed to being your business partner and keeping your online presence cutting edge. We have many more great updates coming soon. Make sure to keep an eye out for future updates!

Update Now

The Core of the Matter

Core Measure 7 BadgePatient Electronic Access

How has your meaningful use experience been so far? Hopefully you’ve been breezing through it, but even so, you probably still have questions and would benefit from some interpretation along the way.

Recently, we tackled Core Measure 17 (CM17), voted the most challenging measure for eye care providers (ECPs)*, so let’s address Core Measure 7 (CM7), which relates closely to CM17.

Requirements of CM7
Core measure 7 consists of two measures, both of which must be achieved and are direct functions of the patient portal. The first requires that online access be provided to over 50% of all unique patients seen during the demonstration period. The second requires that over 5% of all unique patients during that same demonstration period view, download, or transmit their health information to another provider or any other 3rd party.

What it means to you
If you’re using a complete EHR solution, meeting the first requirement of CM7 shouldn’t be difficult. However, some providers may find it a little tougher to meet the second requirement. Like CM17, the challenge lies with the fact that it’s out of your hands – you are depending on the actions of others to fulfill this requirement. The challenge grows if you have patients who are less technologically inclined, or if you’re in a rural area where internet connectivity may be less common.

Conquering the Challenge
CM7 is achievable, even though it’s based on the actions of others. The easier it is for your patients, and the more benefit they receive, the more likely they are to appreciate and embrace the opportunity to access their health information. Here are some examples that might help you:

  • Make sure you have the correct email address for your patient. You can take care of this when the patient checks in for their appointment.
  • Remind your patients that they can view their health records and test results, as well as communicate directly with you electronically.
  • Print a reminder on the back of your appointment cards, with instructions on how to log in and create an account.
  • Set up a desktop or laptop computer in your waiting room, and designate one of your staff to assist patients with establishing their account and accessing their records.

Remember, by starting early – even before your demonstration period – you’ll have momentum on your side and be well on the way to fulfilling this core measure. Check your progress regularly to assure that you’re on track for success. Be sure you’re using not only a complete EHR solution, but one that provides a meaningful use calculator to help you gauge your progress. This core measure, more than any other, empowers patients to stay informed and be involved in their own healthcare. Next stop, success!

Check back here frequently for help with more of the MU2 core measures. And if you have any questions, contact us at MeaningfulUse@eyefinity.com or visit us online at eyefinity.com/mu2.

 

*Voted by us

3 Easy Ways to Improve Patient Reviews

When prospective patients see that you have a negative review, they don’t usually pay attention to why—even though it’s often unrelated to the care they received. Improve your patient’s experience with some quick fixes for patient satisfaction.

1. Acknowledge long wait times. When running behind, don’t ignore it. Starting with a long wait makes patients more critical about things that wouldn’t usually bother them. Apologize genuinely and keep them engaged. You can turn a bad situation into a positive experience by keeping your patients informed and offering them something to drink while they wait.

2. Eliminate chaos. Patients want to feel like your top priority, which means giving them attention without distraction. Provide tools for office efficiency, and always have one person dedicated to in-office patient engagement.

3. Make a good first impression. Office appeal packs a big punch. Decorate! Create ambiance with a style that represents your personality and speaks to your patients.

  • Transform dingy buildings by painting regularly, replacing carpet, and swapping out doorknobs and blinds.
  • Set out a tray with a pitcher of water, fresh flowers, and cookies.
  • Buy comfortable chairs and a nice television.
  • Create a space for children with toys and books. You may even want to mount an iPad® in the corner and allow your patients to access a host of websites.

When you do see negative patient reviews, respond positively. They’ll care more about your effort to make things right than they do about the bad rating itself.

Use Your Website to Increase and Retain Your Customer Base

SuccessHave you thought about which features of your website are the most attractive to your patients? Having a website provides your practice with the most effective way to be available to your clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Connect with a wider audience: Nearly 80% of Americans use the Internet. Every day, people turn online to search for solutions your business offers. Let your practice be one of the first sites they see when looking for eyecare. Don’t miss out on new customers.

Make it easy for customers to reach you. Customers can easily access information about your business such as services provided, location, and phone number.

Reach customers with cost-effective and versatile marketing. A website is a great tool to improve customer relations through communication, support, and brand awareness. Your own website allows you to control your own content, advertisements, and promotions and allows you versatility with your marketing tactics. Want to run a last minute promotion on frames? You can quickly update the content on your website to keep your customers up-to-date on special offers. Interested in more practice enhancing tips? Follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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