Electronic medical records (EMR) are among the most popular software features used in optical practices today.

Practice management programs offer extensive capabilities, some used constantly and others hardly at all.

Deciding what practice management software will make your office more efficient can be a difficult decision. I asked several software manufacturers what the most popular modules are, and their answers may help guide your search.

Williams Group has provided optometric practice management services for over two decades. This experience is finding its way into the company’s optometric software, Practice Director, which is fully integrated from appointment scheduling to pretesting through the doctor exam and dispensing.

Its optical dispensary functions are popular features. The doctor enters the final spectacle or contact lens prescription while in the exam room, and any recommendations (such as photochromics or progressives) are noted by the doctor in the electronic medical record (EMR). In the dispensary, the optician opens the patient’s record and sees the Rx along with the doctor’s recommendations. With the flexibility to change the order, the optician can quote the job, send it to billing, and generate a lab order.

CCHIT-Certified®, VersaSuite offers integrated solutions for any size eye practice, with products that include EMR, practice management, document management, optical sales and inventory management, a PACS/DICOM-compliant imaging system, and marketing analysis.

VersaSuite can digitize existing paper forms for use on the computer, easing the transition to EMR. It can even enhance paper forms with dynamic effects, by outputting documents in multiple languages, and more.

The VersaSuite-eHR module offers an advanced drawing system. Some practices like the

VersaSuite allows physicians to free-draw or drag-and-drop findings in the electronic drawing system.

flexibility of free-drawing on the patient record, while others like the convenience of dragging and dropping images into the record. Both options are available, and a combination of free-drawing and drag-and-drop can be used. Arrows and notes can also be added to the drawings. Forget about memorizing ICD-9 codes; they will be automatically generated from either freehand or drag-and-drop drawings.

VersaSuite supports e-prescribing, letter writing, and voice recognition, and works on tablet devices. The software also strives to adapt to the workflow already in place rather than forcing the practice to change its procedures.

EMR is the most requested Eyecom®3 module. Because this software from HealthLine Systems, Inc. is browser-based, authorized access to its EMR module is available from any Internet-accessible computer. All authorized users can access records from anywhere—the office, the next room, the dispensary down the hall, the other side of town, or anywhere throughout the world.

This access is invaluable for offices that want multiple users to manage data from many locations. Eyecom3 delivers this capability using high-capacity and high-speed servers run with encryption and data backup for security. The program also interfaces with Microsoft Office for document and spreadsheet creation.

WHY THE EXTRA FOCUS ON EMR THESE DAYS? Not only do electronic medical records (EMR) benefit patient care and office staff efficiency, but they also provide practices with a monetary benefit. The HITECH Act (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Care Act) allocates $17.2 billion in Medicare and Medicaid incentives to doctors who adopt certified EMR programs. Beginning in 2011, doctors will be eligible to receive up to $44,000 paid out over a five-year period in the form of incentive payments through Medicare reimbursements. To help clarify what the HITECH Act means for eyecare professionals, Eyefinity/OfficeMate offers answers to frequently asked questions online at

Additional features include preloaded letters and reports and Web-based comprehensive training. Its EMR module has an unlimited amount of exams available per patient and includes the most recent refraction, spectacle, and contact lens prescriptions. Scanned images such as fundus photography, topography, and visual fields can also be added.

Eyefinity®/OfficeMate®’s Exam-WRITER® EMR is a comprehensive paperless eyecare medical record software which completely integrates with OfficeMate practice management software, used by one out of every three computerized eyecare businesses. With it, doctors and staff can document each patient encounter with speed and accuracy thanks to the intuitive exam templates, integrated e-prescribing and PQRI functions, prewritten text menus, and thousands of prewritten text files.

An attractive feature of Exam-WRITER is its ability to interface with computerized diagnostic equipment. Several third-party diagnostic instruments communicate directly with ExamWRITER to help automate pretesting, pachymetry, anterior segment imaging, posterior segment imaging, and visual field documentation. This interfacing allows the doctor to see results in the exam room for discussion with the patient. Some diagnostic instruments that interface with ExamWRITER are available from Marco; Topcon Medical Systems, Inc.; Humphrey; Kowa Optimed Inc.; Reichert, Inc.; and Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc.

While Compulink Business Systems, Inc. makes several programs and add-ons, Eyecare Advantage is its most requested. What makes the Eyecare Advantage program so popular? According to the company, it streamlines every task within the practice, from scheduling to EHR through optical sales and inventory. The Smart Functions feature automates repetitive tasks such as data entry and sending e-mails to allow staff members to do what they do best—take care of patients.

Eyecare Advantage’s popularity is also based on the fact that it is fully customizable. Every screen, workflow, database, report, and document can be specifically tailored to meet each practice’s unique needs. It is this flexibility, coupled with its EHR Success Guarantee and designation as a premarket conditionally CCHIT-Certified product that explains why over 3,000 practices and 12 universities use it. When you factor in touch screen, voice command, and electronic prescribing, it truly is an all encompassing program for any office, from single providers to multi-specialty groups.

There are many helpful practice management programs and modules available. Choose wisely and you’ll be rewarded with improved effectiveness and efficiency.

Kim Pickett is a certified ophthalmic medical technologist and ophthalmic writer in Minneapolis, MN.

Compulink Business Systems, Inc.
800-456-4522 •

800-269-3666 •

HealthLine Systems, Inc.
800-788-3356 •


Williams Group
800-676-9076 •


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