No doubt about it, technology has really changed how we communicate. Look at this progression: speaking, shouting, two cans and a string, pony express, snail mail, telegraph, landline telephones, cellular telephones, e-mail, text messaging, and now social media. Wow! And what about the change from mainframe computers to personal computers to laptop computers to tablets?
Of course, technology is exploding not only in communication but in virtually every aspect of our lives and our practices. Needless to say, we doctors must embrace technology if we are to remain relevant into the future. This statement is true not only in the area of meeting patient expectations but also in the area of practice efficiency. In fact, the horse is already out of the barn.
VSP conducts an annual provider survey which includes a section on practice technology. Take a look at a few statistics that depict how our colleagues are utilizing technology in their practices from the most recent survey:
- 42% of VSP providers utilize an in-office finishing lab. VSP In-Office Finishing is a great way to better serve patients and to impact profitability.
- 9 out of 10 VSP providers are using some sort of practice management software, and more than 7 out of 10 use some sort of EMR. Roughly half of those who use an EMR solution have applied for federal stimulus funds, and most have qualified.
- Half of VSP providers utilize online frame catalogs.
- By the end of 2013, 56% of VSP providers expect to be using a tablet in their practices. The Apple iPad was introduced in 2010, and tablet sales are on track to overtake PC sales this year.
- More than half of VSP practices now say they have a Facebook page—a technology which has been available less than 7 years.
- 3 out of 4 practices prefer to receive communication by e-mail.
As I See It, the technology bus is already at full speed. It is imperative that we be on the bus. Not only is the utilization of current technology an expectation of our patients but it can also provide us with many practice efficiencies. There is no substitute for face-to-face doctor/patient interaction but I encourage you to take the cue from your colleagues and upgrade your practices and not be left behind.
Here are two ways to get started:
- Stay in the know about a new EHR solution from Eyefinity.
- VSP is transitioning from fax to e-mail newsletters. Make sure that your practice has a current e-mail address for each office location on file with VSP and enter to win a $25 Starbucks Card for your trouble.