OfficeMate Upgrade from 6.4 to 7.1

on January 5th, 2007 | Filed under Optoblog

I have Officemate, for better or worse. I have never been completely happy with it, but when I was doing research a year ago, the cost/benefit ratio for Officemate seemed like the best.

7.0 had been out for a while, and I was dismayed that no one had contacted me about upgrading. I guess because they have thousands of practices using it, they were doing a slow roll-out. I contacted them and asked for the new release, so they gave it to me (because I’m still paid up), and luckily the newer version 7.1 had just been released which fixed some of the bugs in 7.0.

There is no striking new look in 7.1 versus 6.x. It looks identical except they made a new icon that looks cooler. In other software products, usually there is a whole new look/feel to the application when changing version whole numbers. Oh well.

The coolest new feature in my mind is the new Reports tab called Business Analysis. It includes an Insurance Profitability report. In my practice and at this point in time, EyeMed has 58% reimbursement ratio and VSP has 43%. When I installed it, the numbers were 52 and 49 respectively. Your numbers may vary, but I like the tool.

The scheduler also got some new worthwhile features like the Today View and Confirmation, but I still hate it. It’s like they are thinking about what would be easier for the programmer to design and implement rather than what the user would like their experience to be. I don’t think it should be that hard to block off an afternoon or a day. Also, if you schedule someone without first making them a patient in your database, they won’t show up on your Quick List as having an appointment.

The Exam Writer also got some new features. Any e-docs appear at the bottom of the chart. If there is an glasses Rx already entered, the coding will automatically pull up myopia, hyperopia, etc. The spectacle and contact lens data entry are in separate windows. Unfortunately they forgot that sometimes contact lenses do have an add. I also hate, hate, hate the new design of the printed prescriptions for glasses, contacts, and meds. When it was smaller it was better because I had a pre-printed sheet with a “vision report” for the glasses and a pre-printed sheet with contact lens care and wear schedule for the contact lens prescriptions. Now they made the officemate printed prescriptions take up so much room on a sheet (3/4 of a page) that my old pre-printed forms are useless. But that won’t effect everyone.

Was does effect everyone is the confusion the officemate prescriptions cause. They have boxes for “Lens Information” that include Product name, category, material, and tint. I’m sorry, but that is for the optical order printout, not the Rx that I give to the patient in the exam room. The fields don’t even populate because I print it out before they are even sent to the optical.

Does anyone know how to change the template back to the old one for prescriptions?

Anyway, my upgrade process was smooth. I backed up everything before attempting it, and then Officemate backed it up again while converting it. The database back end is still a Microsoft product, but it needed to update the different tables and fields and junk I guess. I keep my database in a MS Server 2003 box with Raid 5. Officemate just requires a mapped network folder to store all the files. If I could do it over again, I would probably go cheaper by having just a file server that could make backups. On the other hand it is nice to have RAID 5 for back-up reasons, but paid a lot of money for that MS Server 2003 and client licenses. (edited to add: I didn’t mean backups, I meant in case of drive failure. I make encrypted backups everyday that I take off site in case of fire.)

I had heard all about 7.1’s ability to interface with VSP/Eyefinity, but I was dismayed that you must pay even more for this feature. I’ve already shelled out too much money for an equipment interface, so I don’t have anything left for VSP integration. I’ll just keep using for free.

I’ve never used Report Writer. I don’t get it because if I had that much time to go through and enter in the options for the report, I might as well type it up from scratch. Why doesn’t it go through the exam and pick out the information instead of me having to select Established Patient, Reason for Visit, etc. You know, all I really want is something that can tell what diagnosis codes I billed, and ask me if I want to print out a patient information sheet for those diagnoses. That would be useful.

Anyway, the new reports are the only thing in my mind writing home about with Officemate 7.1. What did you think?

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