Nextech Named 2024 Best in KLAS: Ambulatory Specialty EHR

«  View All Posts


Clear Vision: What Ophthalmologists Need to Know When Selecting an EMR to Fit Their Practice Needs

By: Nextech | May 1st, 2014

Blog Feature

One of several factors inhibiting ophthalmologists from adopting electronic medical record (EMR) systems has been the way Meaningful Use mandates were originally developed. In an article from Ophthalmology Times, titled “Eye-care professionals still slow to adopt electronic health records,” Dr. Chiang, chairman of the AAO Medical Information Technology Committee, offered the following comment: "The government's meaningful use programs are geared toward all health-care providers, for that reason, they inherently have somewhat of a one-size-fits-all approach, where the requirements that an ophthalmologist needs to meet are the same as what an internist or general surgeon would need to meet."

However, the number of ophthalmology practices implementing EMR and practice management systems is growing due to the emergence of specialty vendors offering fully customized solutions using more advanced and flexible technology.

The following are some best practices, tips and practical advice for ophthalmology practices that are trying to find EMR solutions to best fit their needs.

Tips and best practices for vendor evaluation 

While this may seem obvious, seek out vendors who specialize in combined ophthalmology EMRs and practice management systems that use a single database. By combining these two systems, practices can reduce the number of steps required to perform a given process, as all clinical and financial information resides in one place. Ideal vendors should offer software modules specific to ophthalmology, such as photo, inventory and lab management modules, as well as an automated ordering and online marketing system. Additionally, strong EMRs will feature customizable templates that can be modified based on the needs and preferred workflows of physicians and other practice staff. This will allow the system to work the way staff members do, rather than forcing them to work in a way that is set up by the system. And before making a final decision, be sure to view demo of the EMR, and ensure everyone who will use the system has the opportunity to ask questions.

How to avoid implementation horror stories

Every ophthalmologist has undoubtedly heard tales of woe and frustration when practices began what was often promised to be a “smooth” implementation of their EMR and practice management system. However, with the right preparation, training, support and an ophthalmology specialty provider, the implementation process can be efficient and completed in a timely manner.

An experienced organization will have worked with, trained, supported and customized EMR and practice management systems for many different ophthalmology practices, and that highly specialized experience is perhaps the single most important factor in ensuring a successful implementation. 

Since training is one of the keys to a successful EMR adoption, allow your vendor the time to gather and thoroughly understand the professional requirements of every staff member who will use the new system. Experienced companies will provide training specialists who utilize deep clinical expertise to create custom templates for specifically for every user in the practice. These individuals can provide further training that shows the staff how to create their own templates so they can update them based on their individual preference, workflow and needs. Lastly, a specialty solutions provider should send training and support experts to work at your facility during the roll out, as well as offering live training via the web, webinars and regional training on an ongoing basis.

Want to learn more about the benefits of implementing a combined EMR and practice management system designed for ophthalmologists? Request a live demo of the Nextech EMR here.