Kowa Optimed to Participate in 2012 Vision Source National Meeting

This year has already been a busy one for Kowa Optimed who has participated in a number of events including Heart of America, Vision Expo East, and SECO International.  Next on this month’s agenda is the 2012 Vision Source National Meeting to be held April 26th – 28th in the beautiful city of Orlando. Florida.

Vision Source was founded in 1991 with the belief that eye health care is best provided by an independent family eye doctor, free to make his or her own decisions about what is best for the continued good vision of the patient. As a member of Vision Source, a private practice optometrist has access to the shared knowledge and resources of a network with more than 2,000 offices.

Eye care is forever evolving and we are excited to be apart of yet another event allowing us the opportunity to share our knowledge as well as gain insight into what others are doing to help everyone posses the best vision possible.

For over 50 years Kowa has been a leader in providing the most advanced instrumentation to ophthalmic practices. Some of our products to be presented at the event include a line of the largest selection of precision instruments including digital fundus imaging, perimeters, tonometers, slit lamps, and binolcular loupes. The DigiVersal image management system and our comprehensive activeEHR practice management solutions is designed specifically for eye care professionals and supported by a network of dedicated service specialists.

For more information on Kowa Optimed products and services visit our booth, #34,  in the Bonnet Creek Ballroom or visit our website at http://www.kowa-usa.com/Eyecare/index.html .


EHR Adoption and The Connection to Internet Access

Since EHR’s came out there has been a divide between the consumers and the health care providers.  There is a movement to bring health management tools to the consumer through such devices as apps for the iPhone and iPad, games to play on Wii, or kiosks at your local pharmacy.  The question is what happens to those of us who do not have a smart phone, computer or Internet access?  Meaningful Use incentives are mainly targeted at those who have government sponsored healthcare, but they are also the one’s who are the least likely to have access to such items as smartphone and reliable Internet.

It is only those patients who have reliable Internet and smart phones that will be able to see how well digital health care can work.  This is because they will be the ones receiving e-mails from their doctors, connecting with them via social media, and be able to receive updates regarding EHR’s.

The question is how can we solve this divide of Internet access?  How can we make sure that all those who want to take full advantage of the EHR system can?  The government recently unveiled a new initiative – the Connect to Compete initiative – in which broadband Internet will be offered at a cheaper price for low-income families.  This is a great step in the right direction to bringing healthcare to all of America.  We are in a digital age, and so everyone should have access to the digital world.  EHR’s are an amazing system that we hope everyone can use to it’s full potential.

 


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.


Optometry Goes Digital

As the rest of the world becomes totally digitized, so does the optometry world.  One of the first steps to bringing optometry into the technological world is the installation of the electronic medical records (EMR).  Almost every practice has hundreds of images of patients that pass through many hands and go into many files.  The digital image management system with a single database is a way of simplifying this process while easily granting practitioners access to patient’s files. The process of tracking the testing of a patient’s eyes from an initial visit through to the point of prescription is known as image workflow management.

Automating the image workflow management has many benefits.  There is a challenge to effectively and efficiently organize, store, and retrieve image files; this would be eliminated with the automated system.  A digital image management system also eliminates having to annually review and document images, as well as having to access many databases through an EMR system.

An effective image management system has to flow in a similar fashion as clinical environment.  It also must be compatible with the offices current electronic health record (EHR) system.  When evaluating the best system for your company there are few standards that one should look for.  Do you have on-click imaging opening, are the images automatically flagged and noted, and is it possible to merge the EHR system with the image management system?

Kowa DigiVersal offers a Digital Image Management SystemThe DigiVersal system offers practitioners the chance to display and review images on a single screen.  It also offers Draw-It for the best integrations of your drawings.  Its time to get rid of those bulky paper charts and switch to a digital system.