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Bowden Eye Associates Case Study


Bowden Eye Associates


In 2011, Bowden Eye & Associates had significant reasons to implement the practice’s first electronic medical record. With a staff of six who visited patients at all four of its Jacksonville, Fla., locations, using a paper-based system was costly, time-consuming and not conducive to providing quality care.   

“Trying to have the chart keep up with the patient was just a nightmare,” said Patti Barkey, chief operating officer of Bowden Eye. “ We had charts and file systems in each location, but we just never seemed to have the chart where the patients were.”


  • Maintained paper medical records for all its clients
  • Growing ophthalmic and optometry practice often found it didn’t have the patient record in the right place, which hindered the doctors’ ability to provide the best treatment.      
  • Significant costs for a courier service used to transport medical records from location to location.  
  • Needed access to records whenever, wherever


  • Implement an electronic medical record that would allow doctors to see a patient’s complete record, no matter their physical location, at the touch of a mouse  
  • Needed a seamless, end to end system with anytime, anywhere access


  • Increased quality of care by having medical records at doctors’ fingertips 100 percent of the time
  • Qualified for Meaningful Use Stage 1 incentives despite a short implementation window
  • Eliminated cost of courier service for transporting paper-based records  
  • Improved staff efficiency

The Fix

With these two burning priorities, the search began for a vendor that could effectively serve the needs of the specialty practice. With its doctors practicing a variety of ophthalmological specialties, each would need to record vastly different information in the EMR, so any platform Bowden Eye implemented would need to be highly – and easily – customizable.  After getting a product demonstration from Nextech at an ophthalmology conference, Barkey saw the EMR provider could meet the customization requirement, and it also provided other functions needed by Bowden Eye including inventory tracking, marketing and tracking components that allowed for detailed analysis of how well its specialty services are contributing to the bottom line. Soon after, Bowden selected Nextech for their EMR implementation.


The Go-Live

When the implementation began, Bowden had an aggressive time frame – about six to eight months – to get the system up and running and the staff trained in order to meet the Meaningful Use Stage 1 deadline. The practice benefited significantly from Nextech’s experience in helping other clients with their Meaningful Use programs.  

“I was so pleasantly surprised with Nextech and with their assistance with Meaningful Use – they just simplified it so much,” Barkey said. “They had a person who helped and guided us through the attestation process. Sure, we needed to set up the EMR in the practice, but they knew the requirements, knew what was expected and knew the standards we had to meet.   

Staff training was equally efficient. Bowden first selected a handful of “super users” to receive the initial, hands-on training, while others in the practice were able to learn using training modules supplied by Nextech. This quickly made each “super user” an expert, and they were able to help train their colleagues moving forward. Another way that Bowden Eye helped speed the training process was by using the Nextech EMR for all new patients in advance of the official go-live date. This was especially useful in helping Bowden get up to speed on the new technology, as the practice sees an average of 30 to 40 new patients a day.


The Success

The benefits gained as a result of implementing the EMR have made a significant impact as well. Bowden Eye is now much more efficient with its insurance verification and pre-certification, meaning it gets paid quicker for the services it provides. Likewise, the ease of use has also improved the workflow of front office staff, and, of course, the practice no longer spends money for the daily courier services to fetch and deliver medical records.  

“For the money we spent, the service, the value, the support, being able to have continuity in relationships with trainers, being able to get somebody on the phone when you call, it has all been awesome,” Barkey concluded. “It is exactly the opposite of what you hear when others complain about their vendors.”