Kowa Optimed and Walman Optical to Participate in the 2012 Heart of America Event

Kowa Optimed and ophthalmic marketing partner, Walman Optical, are proud to announce our participation in the 2012 Heart of America’s 51st Annual Contact Lens  Primary Care Congress February 17-19th. The Heart of America Contact Lens Society (HOACLS) was founded nearly fifty years ago and has made tremendous strides in changes to the profession over the years with its mission to continue education in primary care optometry and the contact lens specialty. Each Congress meeting strives to provide a wide variety of workshops, symposia, and courses providing the opportunity for optometrists and paraoptometrics to learn new tricks of the trade.

Not only does HOACLS continue to offer camaraderie, education, and innovation to its member doctors, but they take pride in giving back to the community as well. Each year the event funds numerous scholarships, grants, and prizes which sets this meeting apart from the rest.

Both Kowa Optimed and Walman Optical are honored to be a part of such a prestigious event. Be sure to stop by our booths in the Exhibit Hall. Look for booth #519 for Kowa displays and find Walman Optical at nearby booths #518 and #520. Walman Instruments booths will be labeled as #512 and #514.

For more information about the event check out the HOACLS website  http://www.hoacls.org/Exhibitors.cfm

To learn more about ophthalmic instruments and Walman Instruments homepage refer here  www.walmaninstruments.com 

For more on Kowa Optimed browse through the homepage at     www.kowa-usa.com   and to sign up for an activeEHR webinar click on the EMRlogic Webinar homepage link here   www.emrlogic.com 

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10 Questions to Figure Out if You Need an EHR system

As Electronic Health Record (EHR) systems become more talked about, and have more incentives, you may be wondering if you need one at your practice?  It is a costly endeavor, but there are many features that could help both you and your patients.  No matter if you are a practitioner, dentist, optometrists, or run a PCMH and EHR system could really benefit you.

Here are some questions to ask your self:

1. Is this the right time for my business to switch?

  • There are great financial incentives.  There are many tools that improve a practice greatly.  The flow of information is easier and there is filing of paper.

2. Is this an affordable endeavor?

  • With the new IRC section 179 tax laws if a practice spends up to $2 million of qualified equipment, a $500,000 deduction will qualify for that year.

3. What are your goals?

  • Chart a variety of aspects that EHR systems look at (workflow, refill time, time optimization, medical errors) and see where you are.  In doing this make a list of the goals to see if you are ready for an EHR system and then which system is best for you?

4. Is time optimization a concern of yours?

  • EHR systems optimize both patient and doctor time by having readily available patient information, easy to document records, and fast flow of information.

5. How will my workflow be affected?

  • Although it may take time to file all the papers into the system, ultimately it should increase your workflow.

6. Does it take a long time for refill orders to process?

  • Is this a complaint from your patients?  If so EHR greatly improves this system to be automatic and fast.

7. What is your medical error rate?

  • Before you get an EHR system you will want to chart this number.  In doing so think about this number – is it where you want to be?  EHR

8. Do I want to go to paperless?

  • What costs are cut?  What costs are gained?  How much time will this take?  These are all important questions and will have unique answers for each business

9. Talk to your patients and staff about where they feel your practice could improve.

  • In doing so this will also help you figure out your goals and if an EHR system will be helpful.

10. How do I choose an EHR system?

  • This will take time and effort is a whole different set of questions.

Meaningful Use Incentive Program Not Over Yet

There has been a recent buzz about Meaningful Use Funding being removed; this caused many meaningful users, and non-users to wonder about what to do next.  This rumor appears to be false, as President Obama’s Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction states that the incentives program will continue for those acquiring meaningful use.  In 2015 those who have become meaningful users will be penalized.  This money is going to go towards helping everyone, by going into a deficit reduction fund.  The money collected will go into an account beginning in 2020 that will be used starting in 2021 for deficit reduction.  The plan is that in 10 years we will save $500 million.  This will greatly reduce our deficit.

Meaningful use is a program that is meant to help not only the hospitals and doctor’s offices, but the patients as well.   There are three main components to meaningful use

1. The use of a certified EHR in a meaningful manner, such as e-prescribing

2. The use of certified EHR technology for electronic exchange of health information to improve quality of health care.

3. The use of certified EHR technology to submit clinical quality and other measures.

There are three stages of meaningful use: Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3.  Stage 1 started this year, 2011, and will go until 2012.  This is when companies will start to understand how to use the EHR system and information sharing.  Stage 2 will start in 2013, and stage 3 will begin in 2015.  Both of these stages will be further implementation of EHR and information sharing systems.  These rules will be created as the stages start.  To learn more about the Meaningful Use program go to https://www.cms.gov/ehrincentiveprograms/30_Meaningful_Use.asp


All About EHR

EHR stands for Electronic Health Records.  It is a new evolving system that digitally in-puts patients information such as medical history, medication and allergies, immunization status, laboratory test results, personal stats like age and weight, and billing information as well as prescriptions in order to better health care practices.  It makes it easier for doctors to share information within their own offices, as well as across health care systems.

Before EHR systems we all remember the paper charts and large files with all of our past visits.  When changing doctors you would have to ask for all of that information to be transferred so your new doctor would know your medical past.  Today, that is changing very rapidly.  More and more doctors are adopting the EHR practice and they are getting a positive result from their patients.

Most of the time people will use EMR and EHR interchangeably but there is a difference.  EMR is the legal patient record created in hospitals that gets combined into the EHR.  There are many benefits to EHR such a cost reduction, improved quality in health care, and an increase in record keeping and mobility.  The main disadvantages is the time it takes to switch the EHR.  Doctors needs training, records need to be put in, and this creates a few extra costs.  Overall it seems that most doctors are thinking the benefits will out way the costs in the end.  Also, as a doctor it is very important to stay update on technology, so everyone may be having to make the switch soon.


Personal Experience with the New Eye Technology

I went for my yearly eye check-up today and I was so impressed.  I did not know a lot about eye technology before I started to work with Kowa, but since then I have learned so much.  I was excited for this doctor visit because I wanted to see which technology they were using and I wanted to ask about the EMR technology.

I had a nurse check out my eyes in the beginning just the usual hold the tool over your eye read the screen and so on.  Then we did a peripheral vision test (mine is perfect).  THEN she asked if she could take a picture of the back of my eyes.  This was a first for me, I knew about the technology because I have been researching eye technology, but this was a new machine at this office.  She told me there would be additional co-pay for these pictures, but I figured I would try the machine out.  I held my face up and she made it look at this disk and then a large flash and I could see the picture on the screen next to me.

I was waiting to see how this would later be used, would the pictures be printed? Digitally shown to me? Can they be transferred around the office?  I was soon to find out.  The doctor came in to finish my eye check-up and give me my new prescription.  He then did a glaucoma test, which was easy and not disturbing to the eyes.  THEN he asked how I’d like my retinas tested – camera, or the old way?  Normally they do this horrible exam where they dilate my pupils and I can’t see for a few hours.  I realized that this would not be okay, since I had to work right after.  So I said yes, please take a picture!  After he turned on his computer and showed me pictures of both the back of my eyes and retina’s so I could understand what they were showing.

I was so impressed by all this new technology.  The visit took 30 minutes and another 20 for me to choose my classes.  This visit used to take 45 minutes to an hour and another 20 minutes for me to choose glasses.  It has cut the visit time down making it easier and faster for the patient and doctor.  My doctor’s office does not yet have any of the workflow technology but it’s planning on investing in some.  The new eye technology is very helpful and has improved doctor visits vastly.