OcuHub, an integrated eye network, unites ODs, MDs and patients to improve care and drive growth.
Can you remember a time when you paid money from your pocket for medical care? For many people, that’s a foreign concept because insurance companies and government programs pay for the majority of healthcare in this country today, including eyecare and eyewear. One company, OcuHub, feels that future financial success is based on understanding and managing the third-party payment system and is helping eyecare professionals (ECPs) benefit from this emerging trend.
Barry Barresi, OD, PhD, OcuHub’s founder and chief medical informatics officer, sees this vision clearly. His company, exclusively in the eyecare space, has introduced analytical tools that help affiliated optometrists and ophthalmologists translate their experiences in order to help them contract with third-party payers.
Like other companies, OcuHub was created as a response to the Federal Government’s mandate to create digital tools and platforms in healthcare. Additionally, OcuHub saw a lack of a platform for healthcare coordination to move data between optometrists, ophthalmologists and primary care physicians. OcuHub also saw the emerging trend of how the Federal Government would pay providers.
“Medical providers will have to demonstrate and document they are providing value every time they see a patient; every time they do a procedure,” Barresi pointed out. “We’re moving towards value-based payment,” he added. “To do this, practitioners, including medical eyecare providers, will have to show outcomes and that people are getting better due to their care. This will require optometrists, ophthalmologists and primary care doctors to work together, and they’ll need technology to do this.”
OcuHub is a user-friendly, cloud-based, scalable platform that Barresi also describes as economical. All you need is a browser and an Internet connection to access it. This location becomes your space, where you hook up your EHR. “OcuHub creates ‘middle-ware’ between you and the payer and it helps groups of doctors share information,” explained Barresi. One example of this is when an optometrist and an ophthalmologist co-manage a cataract or glaucoma patient. Another example is when a diabetic patient is seen by both an optometrist and a primary care doctor, who then needs surgery from an ophthalmologist. OcuHub provides the tools and environment for this. You can even insert patients for appointments in another doctor’s schedule.
Because OcuHub works for networks of doctors, an individual optometrist would have to join one in order to benefit from this platform. ODs have gotten together to form networks, and some have formed when ophthalmologists and optometrists work in collaboration. “Networks in the rest of medical care are dominated by hospitals, but they are not including eyecare,” said Barresi. “OcuHub was created to fill this need for eyecare providers, who coordinate and collaborate with other medical professionals. We’ve filled this vacuum, enabling eyecare to pursue its own future.”
It’s Barresi’s contention that the predictor of where the healthcare system will go is the payment system. In the eyecare space, the predominant economic mover has been vision plans. The changes in Medicare, Medicaid and commercial insurance companies will predict what will happen in medical eyecare in the years ahead. The future payment system will reward those doctors that band together and provide cost-efficient care for patients. This kind of payment system favors optometry, and it will encourage growth in the medical eyecare role and scope of practice of optometrists. Barresi sees greater medical eyecare consolidations and improved efficiencies also, all driven by the payment system.
Barresi’s one concern for the future is the potential for technology to disrupt the eyecare space in areas such as online or kiosk refraction, routine eyecare and the optical supply chain.
According to Barresi, OcuHub is a unique business that provides the environment, tools and services medical eyecare providers need now, and it’s positioned to help them prepare and succeed in a future that he clearly sees as driven by the payment system.
Ed De Gennaro MEd, ABOM, is director, professional content of First Vision Media Group.
WHERE TO FIND IT: OCUHUB 844.605.8242 • ocuhub.com