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Preparing for Data Migration: What You Need to Know

Posted by  admin  Jan 4, 2018


What To Consider When Planning An EHR Transition

Conversions-2-27-28.jpgElectronic health record (EHR) systems are an essential part of how practices manage patient information and transition to value-based healthcare for improved outcomes. EHR systems as with any technology have a life cycle that ultimately ends. When that happens, healthcare organizations need to transition to a new EHR system.

There are many reasons why practices switch EHR systems such as acquisition, practice consolidation or practitioner dissatisfaction. Regardless of their reasoning, practices want their data to be successfully extracted, transferred, and integrated when the time comes to transition to a new EHR. A poorly executed EHR data migration will have long-lasting consequences not only for your practice’s operation and reputation but for your patients’ welfare as well. 

Because EHR conversions are challenging, a successful conversion requires technical expertise, a strong relationship with the EHR/PM vendor, and a deep understanding of data. EHR Integration Services has performed many conversions so the process has become second nature to us. We have a defined and proven process in place that makes data migration a pretty standard routine. Here, we will go through that process, as well as some other aspects of an EHR conversion that are vital to a successful data migration.


Careful Planning is Essential

Your healthcare organization needs to develop a comprehensive data migration project plan. Set a series of goals you want to achieve and make sure that they are actionable and feasible.

The first step in an EHR conversion plan is determining what to do with your existing patient data. Evaluate all of your data, including demographic data, structured discrete data, and continuity of care documents (CCD) and consolidated clinical document architecture. Determine what needs to be extracted out of your existing EHR system and integrated into your new one.

Although it may seem best to migrate all of your EMR data, you should be selective about what to migrate. This is especially true if you are transitioning from an older EHR system that relies on legacy software and unstructured data. Switching to a new EHR system is a good opportunity to retool and strengthen your protocols and practices for managing patient data. Avoid unnecessary or unstructured data, there are alternatives to integrating this data, such as archiving it into historical charts that can be shared with providers.


Work With an Experienced Vendor

Once your healthcare organization determines which data to integrate, it is time to put your data migration plan into action. First, select an experienced conversion vendor with knowledge of the systems you have selected. Qualifications include a deep understanding of EHR systems, a strong relationship with your EHR/PM vendor, and a proven track record of successful migration projects. You also want to determine how quickly and accurately your specialist can extract, analyze, and verify data from your old system, and then integrate into your new system.

Coordinating your data migration strategy with the go-live of your new EHR is key to minimizing downtime and disruption of provider access to patient records. Make sure that your clinical staff has been properly trained on your new EHR system to ensure smooth operations after launch. Other important considerations when selecting a conversion specialist are price and internal resources, your internal team will be required to work with your vendor throughout the process to provide access to IT systems and provide guidance on expectations and specifications.

Our team has the experience and expertise required for completing EHR conversions accurately and efficiently, minimizing data loss, inaccurate mapping, and risk to your practice. Our extensive EHR Conversions Library likely has the processes needed to successfully extract data from your old EHR and import it into the new system, reducing the time and resources required.


Provide Access to Archived Data

Your conversion specialist should be able to address any legacy clinical data from older EHRs or other data systems. Typically, vendors only extract/transform/load your P.A.M.I. data into the new EHR, leaving large portions of patient data disconnected from the EHR system.  This prevents providers from easily accessing valuable historical data, and may result in additional expenses in order to maintain access to that data, such as results, social history, patient documents, lab reports, and more. Lack of access to historical data exacerbates workflow inefficiencies within your practice. Our EHR Clinical Archive solution provides access to archived patient data for clinical users through a user-friendly dashboard interface presenting patient records in PDF format.

EHR conversions are an important part of modern healthcare. Developing a comprehensive plan with actionable goals, as well as selecting a capable conversion specialist is absolutely vital. This is the best way to guarantee that your conversion is accurate and successful while mitigating the risk of data loss or HIPPA/HITECH violations, and storing archived clinical data that providers can easily access. If your practice is about to undertake a data migration process, please contact us for a consultation and before you know it, your new EHR will be up and running, setting your organization up for success in the era of value-based care.