Avoid These Mistakes While Weighing Eye Care Software

Avoid These Mistakes While Weighing Eye Care Software

For managing operations, storing records, and communicating with patients, many eye care practices use ophthalmology EHR (electronic health records) software.

As useful as these platforms are, practices may find it difficult to choose the right eye care software.

If they’re transitioning from paper records to electronic ones, ophthalmology practices might not know which products to buy and how to best make this transition. Or, if they’re already using EHRs, they could be wondering if they should invest in new systems, asking whether different platforms are compatible, and harboring other concerns.

Are you in the market for EHR software? You might want to learn from others’ mistakes and try to avoid the common pitfalls listed here.

Failing to research

Research is a crucial step of the EHR software buying process.

Failing-to-research

Learning about EHRs beforehand can help you understand EHRs, determine each system’s features, and discover the features it might lack. It can also help you find a rough estimate of a system’s total cost so you’re not facing sticker shock when talking with a salesperson.

Neglecting to talk with colleagues

A good way to research different EHR systems is to ask your eye care colleagues which ones they’re using for their own practices.

Since they’ve used these systems in the real world, they know their benefits and drawbacks. They can also discuss what they wish they’ve done differently or suggest particular questions to ask your salesperson.

Not defining what you need and want upfront

Once you’ve done some research, you should have a better idea of what kind of medical EHR software you want–and what you don’t want–for your eye care practice.

Having more specific ideas could help you choose or rule out specific systems. It could also prevent you from being swayed by persuasive salespeople who may be urging you to purchase more expensive options or opt for solutions that might not suit your needs.

Accepting spoken answers to your questions instead of written ones

Speaking of salespeople, there’s a good chance that even after you research and talk with colleagues, you’ll still have some questions for vendors.

That’s normal but consider asking for answers and other information in writing. It might be difficult to understand new technical information in a sales-type setting, so asking for specifications and answers in written form could give you opportunities to conduct further research and weigh your possibilities.

Skipping price quotes

It’s also a good idea to ask for price quotes in writing.

Doing so could help you further evaluate systems and compare them with each other. Written price quotes could also serve as proof and a paper trail if you need to discuss financial matters in the future.

Disregarding the compatibility of your current EHR system

It’s also good to consider compatibility when evaluating different EHR software systems.

Disregarding-the-compatibility-of-your-current-EHR-system

Are you using an EHR already? If so, determine how compatible it is with the new systems you’re using. You might be able to transfer information from one system to another, or if you’re entirely dissatisfied, you might not mind adopting an entirely new platform.

Overlooking how many platforms you’ll be using

Platforms might be an important consideration in your software choice.

Will you be using separate platforms for functions such as scheduling, billing, and patient communication? Are you looking to consolidate your practice’s operations on one platform? Asking these questions could help you find and implement the options that will work for you and your practice.

Ignoring your staff’s preferences and comfort levels

When considering platforms and other options, you’ll also need to determine your staff’s preferences and comfort levels.

Have your staff members used cloud-based EHR software before? If so, which features of the systems do they like? Have they asked for specific EHR features? It’s useful to gather the input of the people who will be actually using the programs on a daily basis.

Waiving access to use a “sandbox”

To determine whether your staff members will like a specific form of EHR software, consider asking for access to a sandbox.

Working in a sandbox” means running a program on your hard drive in ways that don’t affect apps and other parts of your system. By testing EHRs in sandboxes, you can practice using them in real-time to decide what you like and don’t like about the systems.

Not asking for demos

In addition to sandboxing your potential office management systems, you should consider asking your EHR software vendor for demonstrations (demos) and training.

Even the most experienced techie is constantly learning new things about hardware, software, and their uses. One EHR may do things slightly different from another, so it’s good to see how they operate instead of just reading about them.

Skipping training offers

After you purchase and install an EHR, you and your staff may still need assistance

So, if your software vendor or manufacturer offers additional training, take them up on their offer. This training could help familiarize you with an EHR quickly, saving time, frustration, and even money.

Locking into long-term contracts

While you might be tempted to purchase a long-term contract for your EHR, think carefully before doing so.

You might be dissatisfied with your EHR and want to change it. Or you could realize that other systems or features might work better for your practice. If you have a short-term contract, it could be easier to switch EHRs, which could save hassle and money.

Sticking with a system that isn’t working

In fact, for financial reasons or other considerations, you might feel that you’re stuck with a particular electronic health records system.

But these efforts to save money could be costing you. If your EHR is making it difficult to track patients, you might not be able to schedule them. If it’s delaying or losing email messages, patients might become frustrated and leave your practice. A bad or mismanaged EHR can make your life more difficult in many ways.

Although choosing and switching EHR systems takes time, a little investigation can help you find the right software to manage your practice. If you need help finding such systems, you can contact Eye Care Leaders.

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