Today’s entry comes from Ryan Wineinger, OD.
Many optometrists don’t want to look at or think about meaningful use (MU) because they doubt that they will be included in the HITECH Act or eligible for stimulus money. Well, I can now say that, as an optometrist, I have successfully attested to using a certified electronic health record in a meaningful manner. I am now eligible for the funds allotted in Year 1, Stage 1 of the HITECH Act.
My practice started using OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 the day after returning from the New Year’s holiday. In fact, I registered for the EHR incentive program on the first day that we were allowed to apply.
Our practice has used OfficeMate/ExamWRITER for the last seven years. Since we’ve been using the programs for so long, I thought that I’d be able to breeze through meaningful use. I can now honestly say it takes some time to study and understand the requirements for meeting all of the necessary measures. Once I spent a few hours studying all of the incentive program information on the CMS Web site and Eyefinity’s Meaningful Use Starter Kit, I was confident that I would know how to meet each measure.
ExamWRITER is designed in such a way that I didn’t need to document my eye examinations much differently than I did before the incentive program. There are areas of the software where I had to document items in a different place, because fields were added or moved, but I didn’t necessarily need to change what I was doing.
A critical feature in OfficeMate/ExamWRITER v10 is the MU Report Card, which helps you gauge your meaningful use. Initially, I looked at the report several times a day to ensure that I was getting credit for each measure. After the second week, I looked at the report card report only weekly to ensure that I was on pace to meet MU requirements at the end of my 90-day reporting period.
Finally, on April 18th, CMS allowed us to attest to the fact that we had indeed met the meaningful use requirements. I plugged in my numbers from my report card into the Meaningful Use Attestation Calculator to ensure I was eligible to qualify. After verifying our numbers, I logged into the attestation site, entered my information, and after roughly 30 minutes, I successfully completed the attestation process!
Now I have reached the hardest part of the process—waiting for my incentive money! Based on the calculations used for the HITECH Act, we will meet the maximum billable amount sometime this summer, and once we do that, we will receive our incentive money.
I encourage every optometrist out there to start using an EMR. I feel that it gives me more information at my fingertips and allows me to provide more thorough care for my patients. The government believes this, too, and that is why they allowed optometrists to participate in the HITECH Act. I’m happy to say that OfficeMate/ExamWRITER gave me the appropriate tools to participate in the meaningful use incentive program.
Dr. Ryan Wineinger received his undergraduate degree from Kansas University. He then graduated from The Southern College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee. After graduation, he went into practice with his father at Wineinger Eyecare. Dr. Wineinger thoroughly enjoys the technological side of optometry and has made concentrated efforts to bring in the latest equipment to ensure that his patients are receiving the highest level of comprehensive care possible in regards to their eyesight. He is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Greater Kansas City Optometric Society.