EHR: Your Transition Tool to ICD-10

By Robert L. Bass, OD, FAAO; and Robert Day, Jr., OD

Robert Bass

Robert L. Bass, OD, FAAO


Robert Day, Jr, OD

The transition to ICD-10 represents a steep challenge for many practices.

Robert L. Bass, OD, FAAO, owner of Optometric Associates, PC, in Manassas, Va., and Robert Day, Jr., OD, owner of Broadway Eye Center in Garland, Texas, recently shared with ROB how they are using their electronic health record solutions to ease the transition to ICD-10 coding by the mandated October 1, 2015, deadline.

Dr. Robert Bass uses Eyefinity EHR, a cloud-based solution. Dr. Day uses ExamWRITER a server-based solution.

Read the rest of this article here: EHR: Your Transition Tool to ICD-10

Reprinted with permission from Review of Optometric Business.


Is Your Software Up-To-Date?

software updateMaintaining your car, home, appliances, and personal health is important to ensure optimal performance. Your software is no different! Are you protected from computer security risks? Is your technology allowing you to run a profitable business while delivering a great customer experience?

If you are using Eyefinity Practice Management or Eyefinity EHR, you don’t have to worry about software updates. Being “in the cloud” means Eyefinity maintains your software, ensuring that you are always using the most up-to-date version of your cloud-based software.

If you are using one of our on-premises solutions, like OfficeMate/ExamWRITER, then you need to download and install the newest software update, OfficeMate/ExamWRITER 12.0. This version will prepare you for ICD-10. It’s a great idea to download and install this version by July 2015, so that you are prepared for the government’s ICD-10 cut over well before the October 1, 2015, deadline.

Keeping up to date with software partner patches is also important. For Example, if you are using the ExamWRITER ePrescribing Interface, there is an update that needs to be installed by June 30, 2015. Partners like DrFirst, make changes to upgrade their functionality which can impact the eprescribing integration with ExamWRITER. Small patch updates only take a few minutes to download and run and are important in preventing interruptions in services you depend on.

We all agree that there are benefits to be gained from the 30K, 60K, and 100K mile car tune ups. Annual physical and optometric exams are something you recommend to your own patients. Don’t forget about the importance of maintaining your software, too!

Technology That Lets You Be a Doctor – In Time for ICD-10

By: Dr. James Winnickwinnick, Stockton, CA

Early adopters are on the “leading edge” of change, but there are also those on the “bleeding edge” of change. We all know colleagues who moved into early electronic medical records years ago and are now on their second or third system. As a large practice, we didn’t want to fall into this scenario because it means having to deal with multiple episodes of pain associated with major system changes. Our goal was to do it once and do it right.

So, we have waited, watching for technology that will meet our practice needs, and looking for a solution that can fully integrate a PMS and an EHR. Until recently, the only reliable choice for PMS/EHR solutions were on-premises server-based systems, built around Windows-based programming. The cost of the hardware, combined with the dependency of the doctor to use a keyboard in the exam room, were major obstacles.  Thankfully, with the industry moving into cloud-based and iPad-compatible systems, these barriers have been dramatically reduced.

With just under six months left to make changes before the ICD-10 cutover, we’ve chosen the Eyefinity cloud platform.  The iPad application allows us the flexibility that we need to manage our large practice. The auto-coding capabilities of the system will make us ICD-10 compliant. And, we’ll be able to increase our efficiencies and bottom line. We’re confident that Eyefinity’s solutions will provide best-in-class technology and allow us to meet our ICD-10 deadline.


Industry Behavior Insight Into the Challenge of ICD-10

By: Dr. James Winnickwinnick, Stockton, CA

My practice, like many others, has taken a “wait and see” approach to preparing for the ICD-10 transition. Optometrists, in general, are often slow to make major changes in their practices unless significant impacts to our income are recognized. This goes in both directions: dollars out and dollars in.

Most doctors carry a number in their heads that’s in the tens of thousands of dollars to upgrade or convert to a practice management system (PMS) and electronic health record (EHR) that will make their practice ICD-10 compliant. That’s a hard pill to swallow. So, we avoid this major expense for as long as possible. We continue with “business as usual” for as long as we can.

Unfortunately, because the ICD-10 changes will affect every aspect of our office flow, we can’t procrastinate any longer. Come October 1, 2015, if we don’t have a solution in place and we are not billing ICD-10 codes, we will not be able to collect reimbursements from third party payers. Everyone needs a plan and needs to put it into place now! Our practice chose to work with Eyefinity as our ICD-10 compliant solution because their cloud-based system dramatically reduces our costs of implementation. And, the auto-coding capabilities of the system will not only make it easy for us to use ICD-10 codes, but also increase our efficiencies and bottom line.


Counting Down to ICD-10 – Do You Have a Plan?

By: Dr. James Winnickwinnick, Stockton, CA

As a private practicing optometrist, it seems like there are more and more pressures being applied on how we run our practices. One of the biggest looming pressures has been the implementation of ICD-10 codes. We’ve heard about this massive change in how we will have to bill and code our patient visits for several years. We’ve also heard all of the horror stories of how much more complex this system will be, as compared to the ICD-9 coding system that we’ve become accustomed to.

Our practices received a little breathing room last year, when the mandatory implementation of ICD-10 codes was delayed. But, despite the continued turbulence in Washington D.C. around health care administration, the senate passed H.R.2 April 14 without an amendment to postpone the ICD-10 cutover date. So, it looks like October 1, 2015, is a hard deadline for providers to start using ICD-10 codes. That gives us just under six months left to implement a solution for billing ICD-10 codes in our practice. Do you have a plan?

All Eyefinity products either are or will soon be ready for the ICD-10 transition. Go to the Eyefinity ICD-10 Resource Center to determine if you need to upgrade your on-premises software, or, if you’re already using an Eyefinity cloud product, when your software will automatically update with ICD-10 changes. Not on the cloud, but want to be? Eyefinity has a plan for that, too!

Getting Ready for ICD-10 with OfficeMate/ExamWRITER

checkmarkThe entire medical industry is aflutter with ICD-10 news, tips, dates, codes, documents, and even a funny comment or two about some of the new codes (W56.22xA – Struck by orca, initial encounter?!). But really, the information that you need most is answers to these two questions:

  • What are the exact things that I need to do to prepare for the October 1, 2015, cutover date?
  • What are the exact things that I need to do in order to bill using the new ICD-10 codes?

If you are using OfficeMate/ExamWRITER and plan to upgrade to version 12.0 so that you can bill ICD-10 codes, we have created a short checklist that will help guide you through the ICD-10 transition. It boils down to this:

Before you upgrade to version 12.0:

  1. Finalize all of your open exams in ExamWRITER.

After you upgrade to version 12.0:

  1. Ensure that you have set up your personal ExamWRITER preferences.
  2. Update any custom templates and clinical decision support templates that you created in ExamWRITER that contain ICD-9 codes.
  3. Ensure that your office location address is complete (i.e., mailing address and nine-digit ZIP code) in OfficeMate Administration.
  4. Determine when you want to begin submitting ICD-10 codes, if it’s not going to be on October 1, 2015.

Before the October 1, 2015, Cutover Deadline:

  1. Record all of your fee slips that are on hold in OfficeMate.
  2. Process all of your open insurance claims in OfficeMate.

After the October 1, 2015, Cutover Deadline:

  1. Document exams in ExamWRITER as you have always done, selecting eye lateralities and then diagnoses. Yes – it’s that easy!
  2. There is no step 2! ExamWRITER will automatically code your exams, based on your exam selections, and transfer the codes to OfficeMate fee slips.

Transitioning to using ICD-10 codes may sound daunting, but if you’re using OfficeMate/ExamWRITER 12.0, you are ready!

End of Support for Windows Server 2003 Raises HIPAA Concerns

Remember when Microsoft finally said “farewell” to Windows XP last year, officially ending support for the venerable operating system and forcing many practices and companies to upgrade to Windows 7 or 8? Well, Microsoft is cleaning house again. This time they’re sending their oldest server operating system, Windows Server 2003, to the retirement home.

Every time a software company, particularly Microsoft, ends support for a product, it sends a wave of panic across small and large businesses using that product. By ending support for Windows Server 2003, Microsoft is essentially saying that it will no longer issue updates or security patches. Over time (but not much time), hackers, spyware, and malware expose and exploit vulnerabilities in the software. Without updates from Microsoft to stave off these exploits, your systems and data are at risk. Protecting PHI is huge HIPAA concern.

Any HIPAA-covered entity—that means providers like you—currently running Windows Server 2003 must upgrade on or before July 14, 2015, to a supported Windows Server operating system, to remain HIPAA compliant.

Check Your Servers

If your practice maintains an in-house server for (OfficeMate/ExamWRITER or AcuityLogic), you should consult your local IT professional to determine if you need to upgrade and, if so, make plans to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 or Server 2012 as soon as possible.

If your practice contracts a firm to host your server in the cloud, check their website or contact them to determine which server operating system your practice is using.

Determining Your Operating System

  1. Log onto the server.
  2. Click the Windows Start menu.
  3. Right-click Computer and select Properties.
    The General tab, System section lists your server operating system. If it says, Windows Server 2003, it’s time to upgrade.windows_pane

For information about software and hardware requirements, refer to our requirements pages:


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