January 2023 update: Hi everyone, I am writing with more information about EyeMD. The good news is that they finally took my concerns seriously and fixed my EHR. It now works just fine. It functions just as well as any other EHR that my friends use (I do not believe it is either inferior nor superior to other companies). And the leadership of EHR has apologized multiple times for the way they treated me, as detailed in my post below from June 2020. I believe they are sincere.
The EHR landscape has changed since I wrote the post in June 2020. I hear complaints from my email group about multiple other EHRs that my friends use, about functionality and lag times. Some other companies have nickeled and dimed their clients with rate increases. Unlike my friends, I have none of these complaints. Perhaps it’s partly because I get my employees to scribe for much of my notes. I’m glad I didn’t switch EHRs when this happened, because it’s a huge pain to switch, which multiple friends using other companies have went through due to being more upset than me. EyeMD well enough that I am now satisfied have no desire to switch EHRs.
It has come to my attention both from EyeMD and some of my friends that competing EHR companies are using this post to steer potential customers away from EyeMD. While I maintain that everything written in my post is truthful and accurate, it is not fair to consider this post in a vacuum.
Some incidents that friends have mentioned to me: one major EHR company had a huge data breach and a class action lawsuit; many of my friends who were its users left. Another company had a $19 million class action settlement for defrauding investors with rosy profit projections. And another company recently settled in 2022 with the Department of Justice for $45 million over fraud with stating their company met criteria for EHR federal incentives for their users, as well as kickbacks for steering customers to a pathology lab. Line seven of the government court complaint says “The flaws in the EHR not only rendered the system unreliable and unable to meet meaningful use standards, but the flaws also created risks to patient health and safety. Rather than spend the time and resources necessary to correct the flaws in its EHR software, (they) continuously de-prioritized high priority defects in favor of development of new products and new sources of revenue.” Another company settled for $145 million in 2020 with the Department of Justice for kickbacks regarding opioid prescriptions.
Would you trust any company that has been a subject of such a lawsuit? The lawsuit costs will probably be passed onto their customers. As far as I know, EyeMD has not had such lawsuits against them.
The purpose of the post below was to get them realize how unhappy I was and fix my EHR. That has been accomplished. EyeMD also has noted to me they are so confident that their products will work well and their customers will be happy with their service that unlike other EHR companies they don’t have a non- disparagement clause. The told me that if they have any customers as unhappy as me, they can add negative comments about them to my blog post. So far I haven’t heard anything.
I don’t get the warm fuzzies when I have to interact with their company (thankfully interactions have been minimal in the 1.5 years or so because it’s worked fine). They definitely aren’t on my Christmas card list; I still don’t really like them after they treated me the way they did. But I also don’t think it’s fair that other companies are using my post to disparage them when these very companies themselves also have skeletons in their closet. And no EyeMD didn’t pay me to write this, they simply appealed to my sense of fairness.
When you choose your EHR, you should read and consider my post and ask EyeMD how they have improved their customer service and software since the post was written in 2020, but you should look on google to see if there are complaints or lawsuits against other EHR companies you are considering, and whether their contracts have a non- disparagement policy, and take this into equal consideration. My hope is that this information will help you choose the EHR that best fits your needs, whether it be EyeMD or another company.
And here’s my original post: I have used EyeMD EHR since I opened my practice in 2014 and was extremely happy with it. In fact, I’ve recommended it to multiple people in our solo google group who were also very happy with it also. But unfortunately, things have changed. I have recently read multiple articles in magazines such as Ophthalmology Management touting its features and ease of use.
The purpose of this blog post is to present an alternative viewpoint. I would rather be doing something I enjoy than writing a negative review, and I don’t like to speak poorly of anyone, but I feel that any potential users of EyeMD, or even current users of EyeMD still on the 1.0 version that haven’t upgraded to the 2.0 version, should hear my story.
The troubles all began in September 2019. I am part of a ACO, so I could elect for them to do my MIPS reporting, which I thought would be easier and get me a higher score than reporting it myself through the AAO IRIS registry. ACOs are also eligible for gain share, and I felt there was a good chance that my ACO would achieve gain share making me eligible for $10,000.
The issue was that my ACO required the 2015 certified edition (EyeMD 2.0 version) rather than the 2014 certified version (EyeMD 1.0 version). Since the company had provided awesome customer service to me with an easy to use EHR for almost five years, I thought the upgrade would be no big deal, and the 2.0 version would be just as easy to use as the 1.0 version. I should’ve been suspicious when the product manager asked my ACO to push back the deadline, but naively I still trusted the company.
Before I upgraded, I spoke extensively with the VP of sales. He noted that my account was marked that I should be the LAST to upgrade because I have expressed in the past that I am intolerant of any bugs or delays. He told me that only a dozen or so clients had upgraded for me and based on his experience there could be a few minor glitches but didn’t expect anything that would interrupt my clinic or any major glitches. I reminded him again that I absolutely expected a EHR that would work properly, and he reiterated to me that it would (edited to add) likely be the case.
I was completely shocked when I was upgraded in early October. The EHR basically didn’t work. It froze when I was navigating from one tab to another such as exam findings to plan. I would have to shut down the EHR and restart it. At that time, the compatibility between my EHR and practice management system was lost for referring docs, and I had to manually go back and enter things for billing. The EHR would previously suggest codes such as 92134 for OCT or 92136 for IOL master, but now I had to manually enter them, all creating extra work. Very annoyingly, when I tried to free text the HPI by changing words or inserting sentences from a previous note, the cursor would jump around and I’d have to go back, delete it and retype it. Random error messages would pop up, I would have to exit the program, and wait for it to reload.
On top of this, when I tried to create notes to send to referring docs the 1.0 version was fast with one click. The 2.0 version generates notes intermittently, meaning I’d often have to go back and do extra clicks to make sure the note was generated. It was more awkward to find diagnoses to do fast plans as they are now located under different tabs, which requires more clicking.
When I first upgraded, resolving a cataract diagnosis didn’t automatically bring up a pseudophakia diagnosis, meaning more clicks. If I tried to add the modifier -79 to 66984, random modifiers were added and it got rid of laterality, meaning I would have to re-enter it in my PM system or the claim would get denied.
Also, I could no longer consistently scan in documents and new patient paperwork. Not having documents such as op reports, correspondence from referring doctors, and insurance company addresses not only makes billing and running your office more difficult, it could pose medicolegal risk to you if you forgot to scan it in later. They told me this was an IT issue.
I had more trouble entering the vision, refraction, wear and even APD/ CVF/IOP/ dilate patient. I found the extra clicks and counter-intuitively moving across the screen in the wrong order taking time to get used to. In my opinion, the 1.0 version flowed better.
I should’ve been doubly suspicious because MIPS required EHR users to use the 2015 certified edition for at least 90 days in 2019. Any potential clients of EyeMD should ask them why they didn’t upgrade ALL their clients before October 1, 2019 to get the 90 days with the 2015 cert vision to maximize their MIPS score. Based on my experiences with them, I personally am concerned the next time the government makes some requirement for the 2023 certified edition, that EyeMD will not be able to comply.
Any potential user should ask them how many software updates to the 2.0 version they’ve created to date. My suspicion is that it wasn’t a finished product when they deployed it to me. Whether or not they knew this at the time I was upgraded was debatable, my belief was they knew there were problems, but they continue to adamantly deny this. Any potential user of EyeMD should ask: “why was Dr. Chen told in October 2019 that the 2.0 version was ready when his ACO required it, but he was really a guinea pig beta tester against his will?”
Although they did make it very clear to me that i was in phase one deployment of 2.0 (added) I do know for a fact that they implied (edited from promised) to me that I would be given a working EHR. Instead, I have spent countless hours exchanging emails, phone calls and video conferences with them to iron out their bugs- all of this time at my expense of being at home or doing something I enjoy.
I was upgraded right before AAO, and they offered to train me at AAO. But the problem wasn’t just with the training- it was with the bugs in the system. I wrote to our google group that at that time, I was so stressed with the EHR because I was in the office until 8 PM every night futilely trying to enter my notes into their EHR, that I needed a mental health break from their product or I’d jump off the Golden Gate Bridge (AAO was in San Francisco that year). If you want your EHR to make you feel suicidal and depressed, then EyeMD would be a good fit for you.
Shortly after AAO, I had a video conference with the CEO of the company and VP of sales. The CEO told me “YOU were the one that wanted to upgrade.” Umm, I was upgrading to meet my ACO and government requirements. This is akin to blaming the passengers of the Titanic for choosing a ship that sank, or the passengers of Malaysia Air 370 for choosing a flight that disappeared.
Potential users of EyeMD should ask the company if they create working products to meet ACO and government mandates in a timely fashion, and if they blame their customers when in fact they were at fault being unprepared for the 2015 certified version and for releasing a product with the errors described above.
I also told him that I would write a blog post about the troubles with the EHR and link the videos of the bugs to it. He told me that he would sue me as the license to me is copyright protected. Give me a break- do you think that any other EHR company wants to copy their bugs and lags?
Hint to my readers: if someone wants to hide something, it’s usually worse than what it really is. If the CEO of the company didn’t say this to me, then I’ll delete this paragraph and insert all of my videos of the bugs.
In late October, I emailed my google group that the 2.0 version was still full of bugs but finally somewhat usable, so since they had given me such good customer service before, I believed that they would make everything good real soon. How wrong I was. Ho Sun formerly used EyeMD, but he felt it was getting outdated with too many clicks so he switched. Like an idiot, I didn’t follow his lead.
Another EyeMD user switched during coronavirus. There is no doubt that it is very difficult and time consuming to switch EHR systems, for example you need to scan everything into the new system and enter all the referring docs into the new PM system, and create new fast plans. Two lessons to anyone starting up: don’t pick a cheap EHR and expect to switch to something better once you get busier, as you won’t have the time; and an excellent EHR today might give you problems in seven years.
One very frustrating things about EyeMD are they are on the east coast. They have been very difficult to reach at 4 PM Arizona time. It is at the point where I will now phone their “emergency” 24/7 line and insist someone talk with me at a time that is convenient for me.
Given all the trouble I’ve had, the least I feel they can do is hold video conferences at times that are convenient for me rather than during my clinic when I am seeing patients. For anyone on the west coast or Mountain time that is a potential customer of EyeMD, I would ask them “why is it so difficult for Dr. Chen to set up phone conferences at 4 PM Arizona time after he is done seeing patients?”
Another frustrating thing is their mobile app. Some of my friends have described it as “clunky” and you are required to keep a port open which could increase the risk of intrusion to your server. My IT actually closed the port.
So what made me finally decide to post on this blog about my experiences with EyeMD? At first I was going to give them a chance to iron out all my issues. Fast forward EIGHT months later and there are still issues! The program can intermittently still be slow moving from tab to tab and when I sign off on notes. The notes to referring doctors still intermittently can’t be generated. The last straw is that I STILL can’t consistently scan in information. They kept on telling me it was an IT issue. I finally got them on a phone call with my IT at the same time, and after a half hour they concluded it was their issue. There is no way they can blame me for not making them aware of the issue- I have been on their case about this since last October about not just this issue but also the slowness.
Their response was that I was the only client having this problem, and that most of their other clients were extremely happy with their 2.0 version. I asked them how much time they spent fixing my issues and they told me “we have many clients to serve.” I asked them to at least tell me how much time they spent fixing my issues and have received vague answers like “wait until the next update”. Given that it has been eight months, I wonder if they are working on, or prioritizing my issues.
Any prospective client of EyeMD should ask them, “Dr. Chen complained about issues and bugs in October 2019, yet some of them haven’t been fixed in June 2020. Is this because you blew him off and didn’t take his concerns seriously, or because your company lacks the resources to fix them? What is currently being done to help him?”
They also told me that they had visited other practices and mine was next before COVID hit. I hope that any prospective client of EyeMD asks “if there were problems unique to Dr. Chen’s practice, why did you visit other practices first rather than his? And if other practices didn’t experience any problems, then why did you need to visit them?”
If I am the ONLY client with these issues, and they are unwilling or unable to fix them in eight months, then really they should pay for me to switch to a different EHR company.
All of the above has been a serious stress to me, reduced my employees’ productivity, and given me grey hairs and wrinkles. This company has created so much stress for me that I actually have trouble sleeping at night.
Ironically, when you go to the company’s website, they tout how “three reputable and impartial user surveys corroborate unrivaled user satisfaction”. For me, this was true for the 1.0 version. EyeMD claims that it’s equally true for their 2.0 version. Based on my experiences, I find this claim difficult to believe.
Finally, let’s take a look at EyeMD’s core values:
Look at #1 the golden rule- treat others as you would want to be treated. I’ll let the readers of this blog decide if the way a EHR client should be treated is to not remove annoying inefficient bugs EIGHT MONTHS after upgrading. Or telling clients that problems are unique to their practice yet visiting other clients first.
How about rule #3- prioritize the ophthalmologist. Perhaps they could do this by arranging for conferences during normal work hours Arizona time without complaining, instead of forcing me to work around their schedule.
And rule #4- under promise and over deliver. Again I’ll let my readers judge whether it’s appropriate to tell me I’d have a working EHR to meet my ACO and government requirements, when they didn’t deliver one to me, and I was in the office until 8 PM doing notes every night, totally stressed out.
Their very own website states “anyone… including management… who is not in full agreement with the company’s core values simply does not belong here and should seek employment elsewhere.” I am wondering if this applies to the CEO of the company and the VP of sales.
This is NOT meant to be a personal attack, as I would rather stop by their booth at AAO and congratulate them on the great job they’re doing and tell them how I’m recommending them to everyone, which is exactly what I did from 2014- September 2019.
The biggest mistake I’ve made in seven years of solo practice was trusting EyeMD. Their actions since October 2019 have caused me to lose trust in them. Their company totally let me down.
If there are potential users of EyeMD, or current users of Eye MD on the 1.0 version, I hope you call this to their attention so it is fixed before you use the 2.0 version. If you are a happy user of 2.0 and wondering what this is all about, please ask EyeMD management for their permission for me to share my videos of all the bugs with you, and to ask their company to fix them.
Important note: please read the comments section below to see how the CEO of the company responded- by threatening to sue me, and blaming me for their problems. Get out your popcorn folks! 🍿🍿🍿
This shows what they really stand for and who they truly are. I could take down this blog post and just leave their comments, and it would tell you everything you need to know about EyeMD.