Practice Management

10 Technologies that Greatly Improved My Practice’s Operations

By Keshav Bhat, MS, OD

Feb. 9, 2022

Do you seek to improve the efficiency of your practice, eliminate the potential for errors at different points in your workflow and offer your patients better care overall? Technology has helped to make all of this easier in my office.

There are many ways you can integrate and utilize new technology in your practice. Here are the technologies making the greatest difference to the efficiency of our staff and our ability to provide a friction-free patient experience.

These technologies help us to create a highly satisfied workforce that consistently delivers a superior patient experience. We have over 600 Google Reviews, and it’s unusual for us to receive one that is not positive.

Go Paperless
If your office hasn’t gone paperless yet, now is a great time to do it. Physical charts and printed papers take up space, are cumbersome, and can lead to disorganization. Digital records (be it server- or cloud-based), on the other hand, can save time and eliminate the hassle of paper charting. We have been using  RevolutionEHR for the last 15 years.

Additional ways we eliminate paper are through a fillable PDF and a fillable form using FormDr ($29/month). Both options allow for staff to copy/paste data into patient charts in our EHR.

All insurance and ID cards in our office are scanned into the chart using a duplex scanner ($425). A simple piece of software called Textsniper ($11.99) allows for quick capture of text on images scanned. My front desk staff use webcams ($35) to capture patient images – as it is far easier for me to remember faces than names. We get our patients’ permission before doing this, and they rarely object.

Make Patient-Office Communication Easier & More Effective
We use Weave (annual cost of $4,000 that includes phone services) to send reminders to patients, and we use Weave’s chat feature, Web Assistant, on our website to enable two-way communication. This gives us the flexibility to respond right away or reply when we find a few free minutes. The Voice-Over-IP features allows for us to check messages anywhere and respond.

The two-way texting feature within Weave is great to follow-up on contact lens comfort following dispensing of diagnostic lenses, send birthday messages, requests to pay overdue balances and review requests (these are “add-on” services). Whether we are out of the office, closed or just tied up on the phone, Weave will send an immediate automatic text message asking how our office can help.

Enhance Patient Education
Our use of Apple computers in our exam lanes, and the wide usage of iPhones, has made it easier than ever to share webpages with patients that educate them about their eye health, including eye conditions I have diagnosed that require treatment. For example, if I am discussing the benefit of scleral lenses, I bring up this webpage on a new tab and hit the share button to send via ‘Air-drop’ (free with iOS). Other pages I have shared frequently this way are the Myopia Progression Calculator, All About Vision and the page for EyePromise, the nutraceuticals we prescribe and sell. Many times we have surprised patients as this is the first time they are using this feature! Windows users have access to a similar feature called Near-Share.’

All exam-lane computers have a text expansion utility like atext ($4.99). This accelerates typing in any application by replacing abbreviations with frequently used terms or phrases. For example, “AMD” will automatically be replaced Age-Related Macular Degeneration. This took time initially to set up, but has provided enormous value in the long run as there are terms and phrases that we repeatedly use.

We have a fair number of Asian and Hispanic patients.  Google Translate is a game changer. I can type text in English into my computer and have the computer speak the question in the patient’s native tongue, and vice versa. I have given an iPad to patients to type in their complaints and questions, thereby giving me a clearer insight into their concern. My recommendations are also shared easily in this format. I love it!

As the patient is leaving the office, we give them access to their prescription via a patient portal called RevPHR.

Make Your Staff’s Use of Technology & Communication with Other Offices Easier
Communication with other providers and labs that used to require use of an old-fashioned fax machine is accomplished now in our office via SRFax ($20/month), an e-fax service.

All our staff computers have LastPass – this is a huge time saver, considering how many dozens of passwords are required to the multiple sites we have to log into. For example, if my checkout person logs into EyeMed, and gets a notification about an expired password, she changes it on the Lastpass portal. The Lastpass extension asks if it needs to be updated; she says “yes,” and voila, it’s taken care of in ALL devices where that site is accessed. There is a premium version of this service, but the free option works well for us.

Be Selective & Methodical  in Your Use of Technology
As tech-savvy as I am, it’s important to integrate one new technology at a time, and ensure your staff members are trained in how to use it before adding the next. Choose technologies that fit your practice and are designed to make everyone’s job in your office–including your own–easier.

Keshav Bhat, MS, OD, is the owner of Union Family Eye Associates in Charlotte, N.C. To contact him:

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