That thing the kids are talking about these days… It could help bring your practice patients and additional revenue.

You’ve probably heard about one of these social networking websites in the media: Twitter, Facebook, MySpace. Those are just three of dozens of social networking and information sharing websites on the Internet today.  So, should you and your practice “plug in” to these social networks?

This is a great time for optometric practices to ride the wave of social networking.  Joining most social networks is free, and provides you exposure to thousands of people in your local community and beyond.  In essence, you can begin to market your practice and its services online – via social networking – for no cost.  Beyond marketing, it’s important to communicate the value you and your practice provide through your services and in the community.  So, how do you communicate value using this type of technology?

Practices can use social networking to announce new frame lines or the importance of lens technologies. Have you added Emilio Pucci or Fendi to your frame collection?  This would be a great opportunity to post a “tweet” on Twitter.  Or, educate your patients and potential new customers on the importance of UV protection and children’s eyewear via Facebook.  These are just a few examples to help promote your practice on social networking.

Social networking will bring you patients and referrals with little to moderate effort.  If you’re looking to get started with social networking, I highly recommend this guide I found from Transitions that shows you how to get your practice on Facebook.

Is your practice already immersed in the social networking world? Leave us a comment and share advice or tips for those looking to dip their toe into the water.

Good luck and happy Social Networking!

I am ready to use EMR, but my staff is not onboard

EMR-resistant staff can be a major hurdle in successful implementation. Let’s discuss some of the reasons staff can be less than happy about your decision to use electronic medical records, and how you can help them see the value of using them.

1. “Our current paper system works fine; why do we have to change?”

People will always question the need for change, especially when it is perceived that the there is no personal benefit derived from the change.  The staff must understand how transitioning to electronic charting enables them to do their job more efficiently.  You will not receive the same excitement about EMRs by telling the staff the financial benefits as you will the practical benefits.

Every staff member will recognize the personal benefits of immediate chart retrieval as they have all had the experience of “hunting” for a lost chart.  Another point of frustration in paper charting is interpreting various handwriting styles; charting electronically solves this issue.  A third key point is the ability to auto-populate the fields in the Rx Lab Order and the transfer of diagnosis and procedure codes from the exam room to the fee slip at checkout.

Rebecca Johnson is the Director of Education for Eyefinity/OfficeMate

2.  “I am not computer-savvy.”

It is common to find a generational challenge with new technology.  While a portion of staff members have grown up emailing, texting and using the internet as their first choice for information, you could have staff members who are very uncomfortable using computers.  It is crucial to use baby-steps with these individuals and patiently provide the extra support they need to become confident in charting electronically.

3.  “Paper chart documentation is much faster.”

When beginning to use an EMR system it will take more time to document until you get past the learning curve.  That is a fact that must be accepted and planned for.  Not only is the whole clinical staff learning a new way of documentation, every patient that comes in the door, both established and new, must have all of their patient history entered into the EMR system.  The great news is that after the first visit, the patient’s history automatically pulls forward for quick review and update.

A suggestion is to use ExamWRITER only on new patients for 2-3 weeks before going 100% live with ExamWRITER.  Using this method the staff feels “out of their element” only with new patients and can go back into their paper chart comfort zone for established patients.  After using ExamWRITER on new patients for 2-3 weeks the transition to electronically charting all patient encounters will be easier as the program will be more familiar.

Top 5 Eyefinity FAQs

Guest blogger: Eyefinity/OfficeMate Director of Customer Care Brian McPherson

Do you have questions about using the Eyefinity Web site? Your questions have probably already been asked by other users. Read our top five Eyefinity FAQs below!

1. Why am I receiving the “date of service cannot be in the future for this claim” error message?

Check the date on your computer.  This error occurs when your computer has the incorrect time and date.  Most frequently, you have the wrong A.M .or P.M. time, causing the date to be incorrect.

2. How do I correct a rejected claim that indicates “DX CODE INVALID”?

This message from the insurance company indicates that one or more of your diagnosis codes on the claim is invalid. Check the codes for accuracy and refer to your provider manual for the insurance plan in question, or contact the insurance company to verify the codes. After you have corrected the claim, simply resubmit it to the payer at no additional charge.

Brian McPherson
Brian McPherson - Eyefinity/OfficeMate's Director of Customer Care

3. I’d like to submit claims to a specific insurance company.  Can I submit claims to that insurance on your Web site?

Contact the insurance company (or check the patient’s insurance card) to confirm the insurance company’s “payer ID.”  Then, call Eyefinity at 877.448.0707. We will be able to check for the insurance company by ID and request to have it added to our Web site if it is not already on our list.

4. I received a statement from Eyefinity, but I don’t know what the charges are for. Where I can I see the details of these charges?

You can review your detailed charges on the Eyefinity Web site if your office has designated that level of security in your Eyefinity user ID profile. On the Eyefinity home page, navigate to the top right corner of the page under the “Message Center” section.  Click on the “Account Statement” link and then click on each of the listed monthly bills to open the details of the charges.

5. How do I add a doctor to our practice on the Eyefinity Web site?

  • If you are adding an additional VSP provider, you need to contact VSP.  The doctor needs to be credentialed by VSP. After they are set up at VSP with your practice, they will automatically show up on Eyefinity as a provider in your office.
  • To add an additional provider who is not a VSP provider, you need to establish a separate Eyefinity account for that provider to use.  To set up the provider, complete the Eyefinity credentialing forms on the Eyefinity Web site under the “Contact Us” section.

We’re hiring!

The Eyefinity/OfficeMate team is looking to grow, and fast!  Between now and early 2010, we will be adding 23 talented and dynamic individuals to our team as product managers, software support representatives, training specialists, implementation specialists and other roles.

Find out more about the open positions at www.vsp.jobs.

Eyefinity/OfficeMate’s Director of Documentation, Carrie Damschroder, shares her experience as an Eyefinity/OfficeMate employee: In addition to the tangible advantages of working for Eyefinity/OfficeMate, you also receive the added benefit of working for a small company with a personal appeal, while still being part of a global enterprise. For nearly six years, I’ve enjoyed working with fascinating, fun, and friendly people. I appreciate the way we are valued as employees and the support that is always available to us. At Eyefinity/OfficeMate, we work hard, but also play hard.

San Jose Mercury News Editorial: “Obama promise could falter on eye, dental care”

Yesterday, the San Jose Mercury News ran an editorial on the potential impacts that healthcare reform could have on vision and dental benefits. Give it a read below. Got an opinion on this? Share it by leaving us a comment!

SJ Mercury News Editorial: Obama promise could falter on eye, dental care

A major health care reform promise by President Barack Obama is in danger of going down the drain without so much as a whimper from the White House.

Obama has said repeatedly that the government “is not going to make you change plans or your doctor under health reform.” But unless he or the Senate forces a change in legislation the House passed earlier this month, the parents of 40 million to 50 million children throughout the United States will see a disruption in the way their dental and vision benefits are administered — with little or no cost-benefit to the federal government.

A relatively obscure provision of the House bill would not impact adults, but it would force parents to buy children’s dental and vision insurance from medical insurers. That would mean the nearly 300,000 children in Santa Clara County who are insured through specialty carriers such as Delta Dental or VSP would have to switch to a medical carrier that may or may not permit their children to see their own dentist or eye doctor.

Continue reading “San Jose Mercury News Editorial: “Obama promise could falter on eye, dental care””

Healthcare Reform and Optometry

The debate over healthcare reform remains front and center.  Vision Monday recently ran an op-ed authored by the VSP board chair and incoming board chair about how healthcare reform could impact optometry.  Give it a read below and leave us a comment sharing your take on the issue.

Op-Ed: Is Your Practice at Risk?

Here’s What You Need to Know About How Healthcare Reform Will Impact Your Practice and the Optometric Profession

I’m sure we would all agree that access to eyecare should be an important consideration when working toward healthcare reform. The questions are, what is the best way to accomplish reform and how will it impact not only your practice but the overall optometric profession?

Amazingly, the current health reform legislation calls for major medical plans to deliver children’s eye exams. As a result, families with vision plans will face the choice of either maintaining two separate vision plans or moving all of their coverage to what will/could be an eye examination-only medical plan. This means all of your business from specialized eyecare plans could be at risk.

Continue reading “Healthcare Reform and Optometry”

Many Reasons for EMR Adoption

Why are doctors still not embracing adoption of EMR (electronic medical records)?

If you had asked me this question a few months ago, I would have stated the “C-word” (change) as the barrier.  While a small number of our population welcomes change, most people must realize personal benefits before traveling a different road.  And of course, there are those who will dig their heels into the dirt and move into change kicking and screaming.

Rebecca Johnson blog photo
Rebecca J. is the Director of Education for Eyefinity/OfficeMate

The following excerpt comes from a story in the October 5th edition of the AOA News:

“Doctors who begin using EHR’s by 2011 or 2012 can receive the maximum reward, up to $44,000 over five years through the Medicare program (75% of Medicare-allowed charges up to a capped amount each year).  But if you wait until 2015, there are no incentives.  Doctors should make plans to implement EHRs in practice before the end of 2010.”

The second group of individuals I spoke of can now realize the personal benefits of EMR adoption:  Improving patient care while enjoying the financial benefits offered by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).  This was evident in the exhibit hall booth at Vision Expo West when I repeatedly heard doctors state, “I am ready to go paperless; I just don’t know how to get started.”

I plan to use the Eyefinity/OfficeMate blog site as a vehicle to communicate Best Practices of EMR Implementation.  I would like to hear from doctors who have successfully implemented ExamWRITER electronic medical records in their practices.  What did you do right?  What would you have done differently?  In addition, I would like to hear from doctors who are still on the fence and those who have purchased ExamWRITER but can’t seem to get off the ground. What is holding you back from getting started?  What challenges have you experienced in your EMR implementation?  Leave a comment here or email me at rjohnson@officemate.net.   Let’s make this happen – 2010 is right around the corner!

Vision Care For Our Four-Legged Friends

I remember to visit my optometrist for my annual eye exam. I wear sunglasses to protect my eyes from UV rays. I am careful not to get makeup or other irritants in my eye. It can be easy to remember to take care of our own eyes, but sometimes we forget that our four-legged friends can be in need of vision care too!

Carrie in Purple
Carrie D. is the Director of Documentation for Eyefinity/OfficeMate.

Recently, my cousin, Shari, was hiking with her dog, Riley the Weimaraner, outside of Denver, CO, when some low-hanging brush scratched Riley’s eye. Or perhaps Riley scratched her own eye without the help of the brush (she can be troublesome like that!). By the time Shari and Riley returned home from the hike, poor Riley’s eye was already irritated and looked hurt. Something appeared to be stuck or lodged in her cornea. After consulting a home vet emergency book, Shari flushed Riley’s eye really well, and when the foreign object still appeared to be stuck in Riley’s eye, she dampened a Q-tip and used it to try to carefully dislodge the object. Still, though, the object wouldn’t fall out of Riley’s eye.

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Riley wearing the "cone of shame"

After rushing to the pet care emergency room, the vet used a fluorescein dye stain to determine that Riley’s cornea was actually torn (he used the word “ulcer”), not pierced with a piece of backcountry brush. If the tear had been more significant, perhaps Riley would have had to visit a vet ophthalmologist, but, luckily, the ER vet as able to apply Vetropolycin antibacterial ointment directly onto Riley’s eye and send Shari home with the instructions to continue to apply the ointment on Riley’s eye three times a day for ten days.

After ten days, the vet will conduct another stain test to be sure that Riley’s eye is healing. In the meantime, Riley is bumping into walls and doors around the house wearing what Shari calls the “Cone of Shame.” Maybe when Riley is able to hike again, she’ll have to wear some doggie designer shades to protect her eyes!

Top 5 OfficeMate Suite FAQs

Guest blogger: Eyefinity/OfficeMate Director of Customer Care Brian McPherson

Do you have questions about using the OfficeMate Suite? Your questions have probably already been asked by other users. Read our top five OfficeMate Suite FAQs below:

Brian M. is Director of Customer Care for Eyefinity/OfficeMate.

1. Where can I get the latest version of the OfficeMate Suite?

Click here to download and install the latest version of the OfficeMate Suite (currently, version 8.0.21).

2. How do I set up recalls?

Click here for instructions on setting up recalls in OfficeMate.

3. How do I apply insurance chargebacks?

Find the instructions for applying insurance chargebacks here.

4. Why am I receiving a 90-day evaluation message on one of my workstations?

Click here for information on the 90-day evaluation message.

5. What should I do if I see Error 2147467259 when attempting to open OfficeMate?

Check to see if another workstation in the office is receiving this error message.  If the error is occurring on all workstations and your server, run the Repair Utility that is loaded with the software.  For information on running the Repair Utility, click here.

If the error is not occurring on all workstations, double-click on My Computer and then double-click on the network drive where the OfficeMate data is stored (often C:/OMATE32/Data).  If you see files on the drive, close the window and try opening OfficeMate again. If after clicking on the network drive, you see a network disconnection error, reboot the workstation.  You are probably not “attached” to your office network properly.  If the error persists, contact your network support technician because you are experiencing issues with your computer network.  OfficeMate will not launch until it can attach to the server where the data is located.

Windows 7 Overview

roughandtumble
Michael O. is Sr. Technical Writer for Eyefinity/OfficeMate

As you may have heard from the barrage of news stories and primetime advertising, Microsoft recently released Windows 7. The release of Windows 7 seems to have quickly followed Windows Vista, which was released less than three years ago, and, arguably, for good reason. Windows Vista was neither well received by home users nor by companies. It’s estimated that only one out of three corporate computers runs Windows Vista, while most of the rest are still running Windows XP.

Windows

If you are planning to upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7, you may be disappointed by the short list of new features. Instead of bloating Windows 7 with a bunch of new features, Microsoft focused on streamlining code, creating a more stable operating system, and simplifying the maze of security options.

If you are planning to upgrade from Windows XP, you’ll be surprised by how much has changed. The first thing you’ll notice is all the eye candy. Microsoft overhauled the user interface in Vista, and, with some slight improvements, now appears in Windows 7.

Continue reading “Windows 7 Overview”