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Using OpenEMR.. Without the EMR?

Can certain functions of OpenEMR be used without actually creating a medical record? We’re a small optical/optician shop and are interested in utilizing the patient database, recall labels, and calendar/scheduling. We don’t “see” patients, only the optometrists do but we schedule for them. They use paper charts and not sure they’re interested in moving to an eRecord at this time.

Any thoughts or limitations on this? Would we need to “arrive” the patients in the calendar to create a blank encounter, so the recall system knows the patient was seen? Would there be issues if these are never signed off?

Bonus question: May also be interested in using this for Billing and Insurance submission, but we almost fall under the retail category in terms of various brands of frames, lens types, repair fees, etc. I don’t think we would want to keep inventory, and have a more flexible system where we can easily change/override prices. Thinking we should continue to keep this separate in Quickbooks?

Welcome James!

I do not see any reason this workflow would not work - the encounters would just never have any content associated with them.

As for the inventory, as I understand it, the inventory is mostly medication-based. Not sure if it would fit your business needs.

Thanks for the reply. Do I need to create an encounter? Or will the other functions work without doing that?

@amory Hi James-
Sure, you can run OpenEMR side by side with a paper system. You’d just have to create a rudimentary patient record on their first visit- only 3 required items: Names, sex and DOB. That’s to give the database the basic info it needs to operate the schedule and reminders/ recalls etc.

Re: reminders/ recalls needing encounters, it’s been a while since I looked into this but surveying the Reminders and the Recall modules I don’t see anything that depends on having an actual encounter, much less one that has been e-signed. It appears that you simply create the reminder and recall, set the date it shows up and who it’s about.

Re: the inventory, OpenEMR’s Inventory is indeed oriented to drugs (the original name of the the module was, ‘Pharmacy Dispensary Module’), but also accommodates DMEs such as crutches, wheelchairs etc. Here are the setup instructions from the wiki:
https://www.open-emr.org/wiki/index.php/Pharmacy_Dispensary_Module
It shows an older interface but I don’t think the internals have changed.

The possible drawbacks to using the inventory system that I can feature are that it is a bit tricky to set up and maintain and it might not have as many parameters for each object as you might need- lens types, styles etc.
But it does maintain current stock levels and you can generate reports on inventory usage etc. And it does participate in the billing system, though you’ll need to have encounters to record when a particular item was sold, and to generate your invoices or electronic claim files.

As far as easily over-riding prices, that might be as simple as changing the amount due in the billing screen when the patient checks out, or at some other time going into the billing module and making an adjustment-- you would have to look at how your office workflows would be adapted to those tasks.

Good luck!

  • Harley