Running an optometric practice involves many tasks beyond patient exams. There are business considerations, including attracting and retaining patients, staffing, billing, and tracking patient eye health over time. Most practices integrate a blend of software packages to streamline both operational and medical-related tasks.
What Are Your Choices?
Before determining the best software options, practices need a basic understanding of what types of software are available. There are two primary categories of optometric software: Practice Management and Electronic Health Record (EHR) software.
- Practice Management software includes tools to manage your business with such functions as billing, scheduling, claims submission, lens and frame orders, and more. Additional, robust features that save staff time and increase patient retention include automatic patient text recalls, reminders, and an online scheduler.
- Electronic Health Record (EHR) software offers a way to digitally manage patients’ medical records and functions, and include simplified exam data, streamlined reporting, easy referrals, and a tool to interact and engage with patients.
Consider software that allows you to easily participate in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), as well as ensures that the software is set up for HIPAA compliance.
Server-based or Cloud-based?
Practices can determine the location of their data, which influences flexibility, security, and cost.
- Server-based software requires purchasing software, and servers to host the software, and may include annual support or software update fees. OfficeMate® and ExamWRITER® are Eyefinity’s server-based practice solutions. Learn more about our server-based solutions here.
Along with the initial cost of the software, there may also be ongoing support fees. Make sure to factor in the cost of an IT professional for setup and management of servers and software.
Regular backups and security systems will be needed—your IT professional would be a good resource to provide insight into the best software and hardware required for these functions.
Servers typically become obsolete over time as technology changes, so it is vital to add server upgrades to your overall budget.
- Cloud-based software typically has practices pay a monthly subscription for software usage, which is often determined by number of users and usage of features. Eyefinity’s cloud-based solutions include Eyefinity® Practice Management and Eyefinity® EHR. Learn more about them here.
In a cloud-based subscription model, the hosting company is responsible for all security, backup, disaster recovery, performance, and other IT responsibilities. Software and data is hosted by the company providing the service, so there’s no need to purchase servers or hire an IT professional.
Materials catalog data, insurance eligibility data, and lab status data all flow into the system in real time, however, to access these benefits it is critical to have robust internet connectivity.
The primary cost is your monthly software-as-a-service (SaaS) fee. As this is a subscription model, costs due to hardware setup, maintenance, and managing security are eliminated.
Cloud-based software has the added advantage of being compatible with a wide range of hardware, so you lower the cost of purchasing complex technologies. Additionally, you often have more flexibility to access the program across more platforms— including desktop, laptop and mobile.
Time to Buy?
Once you determine the types of software you require—Practice Management and/or EHR—and the format of preferred access—server-based or cloud-based—it is time to research companies.
Keep in mind with any software implementation, there may be a significant investment of time and money. Productivity may dip while staff is learning new workflows. You may also have the complexity of taking on training responsibilities while balancing existing practice duties to ensure a successful implementation.
However, once this initial stage passes, practices often see an increase in practice efficiency and patient engagement. One example is from Jaya Pathapati, OD of EyeCare Plus in Amarillo, Texas. After using Eyefinity software for over 12 years, she said, “We cannot imagine practicing in this modern day using anything else besides Eyefinity EHR and Eyefinity Practice Management.”
Want to know more about how Eyefinity’s award-winning solutions can meet your software needs, now and in the future? Visit eyefinity.com or call our Account Executives at 800.269.3666, option 2 to determine the best solution for your practice.