How to Choose the Best Ophthalmology EMR Software for Your Practice

How to Choose the Best Ophthalmology EMR Software for Your Practice

Choosing the right ophthalmology EMR software for your practice can be an unnerving and exasperating challenge.  There are literally hundreds of software choices on the market. The trick is to select the best software system that is designed specifically for ophthalmology practices and best suited to your particular practice as well as the best software vendor who will be there for you during the development, training, implementation, deployment and follow-up phases. The best software system may not be the best choice if the software vendor is nowhere to be found after the purchase is completed. What criteria should you use?  What features should your software have?

Following are some of the more important considerations:

  1. Be sure the software has been designed specifically for ophthalmologists: it should be customized to integrate with highly sophisticated ophthalmic device instrumentation.
  2. Consider reporting capabilities:  because ophthalmology necessitates detailed reporting, the practice will need EMR software that will be able to facilitate accurate reporting for core, menu and CQMs in order to meet Meaningful Use requirements. If you are a retailer of eyeglasses and contact lenses, be sure your software includes point of sale (POS) systems.
  3. Make sure your software is appropriate to the size of your practice: some software is better suited to large practices, others to smaller practices.
  4. Consider systems architecture:  you need to consider client-server based software versus cloud-based software. Both have advantages and some disadvantages. Before you make any choices, you need to determine what would be the most efficient and cost-effective way for you to proceed.
  5. Make sure your software is certified:  your chosen software should be certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the agency which is responsible for EMR certification standards.  This ensures your EMR meets required Meaningful Use measures, which is prerequisite to receiving Medicare and Medicaid incentives.
  6. Look for software which can be easily customized to your practice:  you should be able to customize your software to your specific practice needs. Choose an EMR software system that offers pre-designed templates for patient histories and the various subspecialties within ophthalmology.
  7. Vet the vendors: expert clinical, technical and tactical resources are a must when choosing your software vendor. Ensure that you have correctly budgeted for adequate training and implementation support. Verify that the software vendor will be available onsite during deployment. Consider the insertion of penalty clauses if a vendor does not deliver according to promised timelines. Check references and verify that  your vendor has great references and a solid track record for superior customer service and support.
  8. Hire a third-party expert to be your EMR project manager: strategic EPM/EMR planning is imperative to prevent disruption in patient flow during the implementation phase. Having an expert project manager onsite with your staff during all phases of EMR implementation through deployment can result in a smooth transition to EMR with minimal impact on patient care.

Familiarizing yourself with these basic selection criteria is an important first step in selecting the best EMR for your practice.  For best results, work with a trusted ophthalmology consulting firm that has experience with EMR implementation.

Want to learn more? For more information on the selection and successful implementation of EMR software for your practice, contact us today.