As all medical practitioners now know, the deadline has long passed to make the conversion to certified electronic medical records.
Medical practitioners are now legally required to utilize electronic medical records in an effort to maintain transparency and organization among the medical practice, patients and insurance providers (source). This recent switch can result in more tedious record keeping and repetitive transcriptions for ophthalmic professionals who still use manual refractors or phoropters. However, digital refractors integrate with EMR software, eliminating redundancy and legal penalties.
EMR: Its Necessity and Functionality in the Ophthalmic Industry
The EMR system was put into place to allow providers to track data and monitor patient information. These EMR software programs notify ophthalmic doctors of patients who are due for their regular visit, which is critically important for more than just prescription updates; regular eye exams can catch eye disease and issues early—and even detect chronic systemic diseases before other medical professionals. Additionally, legislation requires all medical data to be available online to patients and authorized third parties.
To provide a historical record of all patient encounters, EMR software programs automate paper records, track inventory and coordinate scheduling and billing. Additionally, EMR software can integrate with other digital systems, which can make ophthalmic offices more organized and efficient. However, ophthalmic professionals who still use manual refractors face tedious data entry and a complete lack of efficiency.
Digital Refractors and EMR Integration
Digital refractors make using EMR software easy and functional, maximizing the intended benefits. Digital refractors connect to EMR systems, removing the risk of transcription errors that are present with manual systems. Additionally, the integration of digital refractors and EMR software allows for automatic data import from devices such as the autolensometer, lensometer and all patient data. This communicative connection allows ophthalmic professionals to both import and export refraction data quickly and easily.
Digital Refractors and EMR Integration: What It Looks Like in Practice
Digital refractors are operated with a portable control panel. So, instead of manually turning the dials on a refractor, the prescription is adjusted with the digital panel—controlled completely by the doctor. In turn, the ophthalmic professional is able to spend more time speaking directly to the patient.
During the refraction exam, the updated prescription is uploaded instantly with the press of a button, as opposed to multiple manual entries. This is possible with complete connectivity between devices. The autolensometer, for example, communicates with the refractor, which saves all information directly to the electronic medical record system. Rather than hand writing or typing patient results on a paper chart, patient data is synched and automatically sent to his or her medical records.
This connection to electronic medical records also makes it so ophthalmic doctors can quickly and easily retrieve patient history and prescriptions on the same monitor for a reference.
Benefits of EMR Integration
There are multiple benefits of electronic medical records’ digital integration, including:
- Elimination of transcription errors
- Complete connectivity
- Reduction of human error
Beyond this, digital refractors’ integration capabilities allow for more streamlined exams, office efficiency and even patient satisfaction, due to an increased length of doctor-patient time.
Reduce Repetitive Data Entry. Increase Efficiency. It's Time to Go Digital
With the shift to electronic formatting, it’s not surprising the ophthalmic industry is making its own shift toward completely digital systems. While updating exam equipment may seem overwhelming, modern ophthalmic offices are quickly making the switch to digital, leaving outdated offices behind.
Make sure to keep up with the medical advances in the ophthalmic industry. With the conversion to EMR, digital systems make these updates simple and beneficial to your practice. In fact, updating to a digital refractor will benefit you many ways, as explained in this article.
Not sure what the difference is between manual and digital refractors? Click here to learn the difference