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Automated Systems Build Practice Efficiency

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Guest blog post by Richard C. Edlow, O.D. Chief Executive Officer, Katzen Eye Group.

Technology has contributed many behind-the-scenes, value-added benefits for our practice and for our patients.

The previously tedious act of refilling a prescription has gone from taking 15 to 20 minutes of staff time to approximately two minutes. In the past, a patient would call the office, the call would be triaged to the proper party and a request for the patient’s chart would be generated. Then we would eventually pull the chart from the files (hopefully), send it to the appropriate clinical staff and the call to the pharmacy to authorize the refill.

Nowadays, a patient can simply enter the prescription refill request via our patient web portal, and the tasked request immediately pops up with the patient’s EHR, A couple of mouse clicks later, and the authorization electronically heads off to the patient’s pharmacy. The patient receives a quicker response, and our staff’s time is used more efficiently.

Technological tools have also made it easier for our eye care practice to communicate with other medical specialists. Communication with primary care physicians (PCP), specialists, referring doctors and patients has become so automatic with EHR that increased productivity and enhanced patient management go hand in hand.

For example:

  • Every patient with a diagnosis of diabetes automatically generates a letter to the PCP.
  • Every patient appointment is confirmed via text or email message automatically.

Some of the more visible applications of technology include digital visual acuity systems, which are fabulous in situations such as the regular patient who can recite “TZVECL” with eyes closed and the taller doc who has repeatedly gashed his head with the protruding projector tubes (not to mention the frequent replacement of very expensive bulbs).

Even more important and valuable are the patient education software modules that allow us to explain clearly complex topics, such as cataracts, premium IOLs, narrow angles, wet macular degeneration and so on. We accomplish this in the waiting room, in the exam room and by email, with the suggested content links, to the patient, which greatly improves patient understanding.

So, fear not. Embrace new technology, and continue to provide patients a great experience.

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