Patient Portals: How to Train Your Patients to Use Them

Robert BassAn EHR patient portal offers patients a secure way to view records, schedule appointments, and interact with your office. Along with elevating patient care, EHR patient portals enables you meet meaningful use requirements.

Check out how Robert Bass, OD, increased patient portal usage with his patients. Read the entire article: Patient Portals: How to Train Your Patients to Use Them

Copied with permission from Review of Optometric Business.

Eyefinity Introduces ‘Meaningful Strategies to Meaningful Use: We’ll Show You How’

The government wants you to use Electronic Medical Records (EMR) in a meaningful way. Meaningful Use is the foundation for the entire government stimulus payment initiative under the HITECH Act, yet this concept seems vague and confusing. But, Meaningful Use is quite simple once you understand its basic concepts, and Eyefinity® is here to help you every step of the way.

Get an overview of Meaningful Use and what it means to you and the eyecare industry with our first Meaningful Strategies to Meaningful Use Webinar series, featuring Eyefinity’s Chief Professional Officer,  James Kirchner, OD, and his guest, Jeffrey Willig, MD.

Four Times for You to Choose From:

November 16—8:00 a.m. or 5:00 p.m. (PST)

November 18—5:00 p.m. (PST)

November 19—8:00 a.m. (PST)

Register early—there are a limited number of seats for each Webinar.

To register for your desired date and time:

1. Go to

2. Click the Daily tab.

3. Use the calendar within the Daily tab to select your desired course date (November 16, 18, or 19).

4. Click the Register link on the right side of the Meaningful Strategies to Meaningful Use Webinar for which

you want to enroll.

5. Type your registration information.

6. Click Register.

You’ll receive an e-mail confirmation of your registration with the course’s password, registration ID, and the link you’ll need to join the course. Please join the Webinar 5 minutes prior to the start time; you’ll be unable to join a course 10 minutes after it begins. You must have a high-speed Internet DSL, cable, or T1 connection to successfully participate in the Webinar.

If you have questions or need more information, contact the Eyefinity Training Department at: or 800.942.5353, option 3.

Q and A with Dr. James Kirchner, Eyefinity’s New Chief Professional Officer

Dr. Kirchner was recently named Eyefinity’s Chief Professional Officer.

Eyefinity recently announced James Kirchner, O.D. as Chief Professional Officer. Read our Q and A with Dr. Kirchner below to get to know more about him:

Can you tell us a little bit about your career as an optometrist?

I’ve been in private practice since graduating from the Illinois College of Optometry in 1977.  I founded a multi-doctor, multi-site practice in Lincoln, NE, called EyeCare Specialties.  It has grown to 5 locations, with 11 optometrists.  I was primarily involved in family practice with an emphasis in disease treatment and contact lenses.  I’ve been involved in optometry association work, having served as President of the Nebraska Optometric Association, the North Central States Optometric Council and active in the AOA volunteer structure, serving the last five years as Chair of the AOA Communications Center.

What attracted you to Eyefinity?

I saw this as an opportunity to make a difference for my profession by helping to bring innovative and efficient tools and solutions to my colleagues, including outstanding practice management and EMR software like OfficeMate and ExamWRITER. As the Chief Professional Officer, I can be a strong advocate for private practice optometry inside and outside of the company.

What will you be doing in your new role as Chief Professional Officer?

I’ll be overseeing the continued development of the business and software solutions that Eyefinity offers from the viewpoint of a private practice optometrist, including the next generation of OfficeMate and ExamWRITER. Additionally, I’ll be acting as Eyefinity’s professional liaison to the optometric community.

You have long been a pioneer in the field of electronic medical records. How do you view optometry benefiting from the adoption of EMR technology?

There is no question in my mind that the future success of optometry will depend largely on EMR technology. As a part of the healthcare continuum, optometry is being affected by rapid growth in technologies like EMRs. As eye doctors, we must be willing and ready to advance technologically, so that we can run our practices at peak efficiency.

New clinical technology allows us to examine a patient’s vision like never before; therefore, we must have the right EMR technology in place to effectively manage the vast amount of data that we gather. There is no better time to start using EMRs than right now. This is especially true given the federal stimulus money that is available through the HITECH Act and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for eyecare providers who use EMRs.

What are you doing when you’re not working?

I love to be with my wife and spend time with the family, including our two-year-old granddaughter.  I have a passion for riding motorcycles, owning two Harleys, and of course golf is always an additional favorite pastime.  I’m highly involved with my church, and I’m President of an International Christian ministry called Kingdom’s Harvest International.

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.