|Optician Awards - Software Practice of the Year|
A first class computer system – which provides all patient information with one click of the mouse – won the Kings Cross Eye Clinic its second Optician Award for the year. Setting up a practice from scratch, finances allowing, gives the chance to install the latest in computer and practice technology. This is very much the case with the ‘paperless’ King’s Cross Eye Clinic (KCEC), which won the Optician Award for Software Practice of the Year, sponsored by OcucoRelcon. KCEC, which opened in July 2006, incorporates the latest high-tech digital imaging equipment and from the outset its aim was to contain all patient information on one database that could be accessed from any computer inside the practice or via the internet. Optometrist Jonathan Cohen explains that considerable time was spent researching the systems on offer, with the conclusion that a paperless system was only worth having if every item of computer-dependent hardware linked with it effectively, thus decreasing the workload. Ocuco Acuitas Retail was chosen because it offered a comprehensive solution and feedback from other optometrists and software professionals was positive.
‘I thought if I was spending a fortune to set up from scratch it had to be as modern as possible with a software system to handle everything, linking up with every bit of hardware for data transfer.’
The system is used at every stage of a shortened patient journey, with patient details taken in the appointment diary, which includes automatic postcode look-up software. Using a digital lensmeter, the data from the patient’s spectacles is sent to the refraction page, and images taken with the Topcon fundus and anterior imaging camera are stored against the patient record.
‘Clinically, it’s nice to be able to flick from one screen to another and view images of the front and rear of the eye. I can check the information on a patient anywhere in the practice and don’t have to waste time digging out notes and finding the right place. Once you learn how to use it you have every piece of information at your fingertips,’ adds Cohen.
The prescription Ks and PD are added to the patient record from the autorefractor-keratometer, while clinical data including retinoscopy and subjective refraction is entered manually. Speeding up the patient journey, relevant paper work is scanned on to the patient record and all information is time and date stamped, giving evidence in the event of any conflict. All stock is barcoded and lenses and contact lenses validated against catalogue entries. The frame scanner uses the same barcodes as the till system so that the lens edger can cut the lens shape after the dispense by scanning the same barcode. The system thus saves time for the average patient journey, with access to all information on any patient or supplier. All sales are validated as part of the patient journey so that discrepancies with the till at the end of the day are minimised and staff errors or theft can be detected.
Another advantage is that trading figures and retail analysis can be accessed over any time period and printouts of takings and VAT breakdown can be given to the bookkeeper at the end of every month. Other benefits are that stock taking is quick and targeted marketing can be conducted based on personal and spending data.
There is access to the system off site and at the end of the day a full sales report is emailed to a home address. Cohen adds that he quite often checks the till from home if he hasn’t had time to do it at work.
‘If something on an invoice doesn’t sound familiar I can log on to a patient name and see an order from home,’ he explains.
In addition, there is potential to upgrade to a multiple site system as well as linking more equipment and a diabetic module. As Cohen recently took over a second London practice, the multi-site system means both practices can be run centrally. Cost-wise the support fees for the system are similar to buying the patient record cards in use at the second practice.
Patients have also remarked on how impressive the system is, with queries dealt with quickly from anywhere in the practice and stock searches performed easily. Patient information is easily recalled and monitored from one visit to the next and reminders and recalls are sent automatically.
‘From a commercial side, patients love it when they phone up and I can tell them anything within 10 seconds, for example the availability of frames.’
As the judges commented in their choice: ‘This practice won because it was clearly able to demonstrate that it used its software for the benefit of the business commercially, technically and for the patient.’
Article in "Optician" Magazine 30th November 2007
Link: article in pdf