Practice Management Features
Eye Care-Specific Features
Held hostage by OfficeMate
I initially purchased this EHR because I had some previous experience working with an older version and had been relatively pleased with it. The initial set up was much more challenging than had initially been presented to me, particularly since I was opening an office cold and did not have any data conversion to undertake. Fortunately for me, I was opening an office cold and had sufficient free time after opening the office to spend working on fixing some of the many issues that arose. Some of them still have not been fixed after several years of using the software and we have just created workarounds.
Over the next couple of years, a number of other issues arose. Some of these were actual faults in the EHR, some of them developed because of changes in how I practice optometry. See the "what needs work?" section if you are interested in some of the specific issues I had with the software. The net result was that I decided it was time to pursue a different option for my EHR. I have been in the process of doing much more thorough evaluation of the options over the last 2-3 months. I was approaching a final decision and intended to be switched with the next 3-4 months.
Unfortunately for me, my annual software maintenance agreement (ASMA) expired two days ago. For those not familiar with OM, this is the annual subscription fee to continue to use the software. According to their website, the AMSA "includes an annual renewal of your OfficeMate/ReportWRITER/ExamWRITER license, all software upgrades, 24×7×365 access to online recorded video tutorials, and toll-free help desk services for OfficeMate Suite products." (http://www.officemate.net/implementation_faqs.aspx#025) If you feel you would rather not pay this fee, they do at least warn you that "(K)ey features in your software will be disabled if you do not renew your ASMA every year." My interpretation of this was that I would be unable to access upgrades and support, those things the ASMA is designed to support. What is not readily clear is that they convert your software to read-only mode. My software was now effectively a doorstop, as I could no longer create new exams, create invoices, input new orders, or any of the other things I had already paid many thousand dollars to be able to do.
When I contacted OM about the issues, I recieved no flexibility whatsoever. It was also made abundantly clear that the software could not be renewed for any period less than a year. In addition, the cost of the ASMA had gone up by almost 20% over what I was charged the previous year! At this point, I feel roughly like I have been held at gunpoint and told that I could no longer feasibly practice without paying them. To top it all off, the program is owned by the same company that is already forcing me to write off tens of thousands of dollars a year but claims to have private practice interests at heart.
I have now had the opportunity to work with several other EHRs. I am firmly of the opinion that this particular EHR is the least useful of all of them. The company has also made it plainly apparent they are more interested in the bottom line rather than customer satisfaction. Please save yourself a significant amount of emotional and financial distress and AVOID THIS EHR AT ALL COSTS!
This EHR overall is extremely inflexible. The sales reps would have you believe the software is customizable. This apparently consists of being able to list your practice name on reports and change the view within ExamWriter. I wanted to add my logo to reports/recall notices, and the software lacks the capability to even resize an image. This led to the logo taking up the entire sheet of paper.
Integration with other equipment is lackluster at best. To link our topographies to the chart, the image has to be exported as a .jpeg then linked from within OM. I quickly gave up on this task and just maintain a separate database for my topographies.
The embedded scanning software is arduous and creates a filename based upon the patient number. If you want to electronically transmit a report to another doctor, you have to either save a second copy in an easily accessible location or cross-reference the patient record number to view the file in the original location. In addition, anything scanned in to the software is stored in legal format rather than letter format; no one on my IT staff has been able to correct this problem.
ReportWriter is a joke. If you wish to send anything beyond the bare minimum of information from the exam, plan on performing extensive editing. For the last year, I have been creating the "Auto-letters", deleting everything but the addressee and closing, and free-typing my reports. This hardly qualifies as a time saver and actually dramatically increases the amount of time it takes to correspond with other professionals.
Customer service is of little actual service. I was initially running V8.0 and began to have problems with the stability of EW and OM. The fix presented by customer service was to upgrade to 10.5. What they failed to mention was that they had removed support for Windows Small Business Server. The upgrade crashed my server, caused two RAID drives to fail, conflicted with my Exchange server and shut down my e-mail client, and created countless other problems. The end result was having to spend $3000 on a new, additional server and $5000 on IT support to get the system somewhat stable. In the process, all of my previous ExamDraw pictures were lost somewhere in the ether.
Many, many other things about this software are overly cumbersome, inefficient, or impractical. If you are considering purchasing this EHR, don't walk, run in a different direction.
Why do so many ODs use the worst-rated EHR?!?
Their company representatives may tell you that the next version will fix the bugs. But don't believe it. I've seen the same typographical errors and bugs persist for literally years. Take heed and don't bother with Officemate, unless you like dealing with headaches, no support, and a software built on an outdated platform. What is surprising is that so many optometrists use Officemate. But as you can see from the other ratings here, it is the worst-rated EHR for optometry. VSP (which owns Officemate) has fooled so many of us. Don't believe their promoters. They've simply been bought out to say those things. I changed to a new EHR and yes, it was difficult, but it was definitely worthwhile in hindsight. Don't settle for a below-average product -- please do your research on EHRs!
I have been an omate cheerleader for years. Unfortunately with the certified version they missed the mark in my opinion. They have been around for a long time however, and they do make updates frequently. Its just a big hassle to update your computers each time.
Too much clicking with newest certified version
Customer service is decreasing
Vsp interface is spotty. Whennit works its great. Unfortunately it doesnt always work
Reports worse in this newest upgrade
Works, but extremely hard to learn and use
Originally purchased due to the reputation of VSP as being a solid company. In the 3 years of use, I had to help my staff, almost daily, with accounting problems and transmissions of VSP claims. Most days, I had to stay after closing or work on weekends to clean up problems. Even after 3 years, the staff had multiple problems with electronic transmissions of VSP claims and had to enter the claims manually on Eyefinity which caused double the amount of work. Due to the complexity of their financial system, we were constantly overlooking charges that should have been turned in to insurance companies or charged back to patients.
Their customer service has improved over the time using the software. Originally, I would have to wait for days for customer service to call back after leaving a message of our problems. I did find that by staying on hold for up to an hour, I was finally able to talk with a customer service person which I did almost daily for some time. After the first 1-2 years (don't remember how long it took), the customer service staff was increased which made it very easy to connect with. It usually only took 1-2 minutes for a representative to answer the call. Even with the faster service, the software was becoming more difficult and restrictive to use with each successive upgrade.
I was finally forced to cut my loses and change to a different software package.
Very poor statements for patients. Patient don't seem to understand the statements, easily.
Company continues to add new features, but doesn't seem fix present features that may have problems.
Too complicated having "Home Office", "Officemate", and "ExamWriter" modules.
Good for start up, have about 9k pts now getting harder to control bad data or staff errors. Security needs some improvement. New certified version took two products an smashed them together. Made it hard to navigate and program office functions. Too expensive for equipment integration. Scanned files get dumbed into one directory, recipe for slow search and futur disaster.