Posts Tagged: EHR

Switching EHRs? Get the Data Conversion Right

switching ehrs

Switching EHRs often occurs in the healthcare world. Sunsets, dissatisfaction, M&As, and other factors influence these changes. While it can be a heavy lift, especially for large healthcare systems, one thing you want to focus on from the start is the data conversion. 

What Is an EHR Data Conversion?

An EHR data conversion describes the activities and processes of moving patient data, documents, and images from one software to another. It’s much more complex than moving a simple database for several reasons.

First, the information is PHI, so it must follow HIPAA guidelines. Second, although EHRs are similar, they treat fields and data differently. Because of this, field matching and the associated programming are necessary. Third, there is often structured and unstructured data in EHRs, causing other challenges. 

 While many organizations conduct data extraction and migration, you can’t trust just any team to deliver a high level of accuracy. Before you make a decision on data conversions, consider these critical things.

What to Consider When Switching EHRs and Converting Data

Choosing your new EHR vendor is only the beginning of the journey. Now you have to move the data to your new system. So, what should you consider in this process?

  • How should you qualify a data conversion provider? Seek out a company that is healthcare-centric and has extensive experience with EHR platforms. Choosing to either go it alone or use a generic company could spell disaster, meaning you won’t hit your deadlines. 
  • Do you want to move all the data? If your current EHR has years and years of data, some of which may no longer be active, you shouldn’t migrate it all. Instead, you can retain patient records that are most relevant then archive the rest to a secure repository
  • Will there be potential matching issues? Your new software provider can offer insight into how they treat fields and components. Plan for this before the conversion, so there aren’t any surprises. 
  • What’s the validation and testing process? In any healthcare data conversion, you’ll need to work with your new EHR vendor to validate and test the transfer of data before you do the final pull. This is time to check all areas for issues and address them. 

Switching EHRs Doesn’t Have to Be Painful

Healthcare organizations depend on EHRs to support their workflows and improve patient care. Having one that works as you need it to is vital, so if you decide to move on to a new one that works better, don’t overlook the importance of the conversion. If you’d like to learn more about EHR data conversion, check out our eBook, The Definitive Guide to Healthcare Data Conversions.

New Study on Real-Time EHR Data and Telemedicine: Can Care Continuity Improve?

ehr data

Access to real-time data in any field supports better decision-making and outcomes. Healthcare is certainly a beneficiary here. However, data sharing and interoperability aren’t standard or consistent. What can happen when clinicians have real-time EHR data available?

new study published in the American Journal of Managed Care provides interesting insights and connections between real-time data, telemedicine, and care continuity.

Telemedicine Is Surging 

Telemedicine usage is experiencing an acceleration during the pandemic. CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) waived certain restrictions in response to COVID-19. A new report from HHS (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) found that adoption increased for primary care visits by 50% during the first six months of 2020. With this option, can physicians better accommodate those with chronic diseases? That’s the crux of the study. 

About the Study: EHR Data Exchange Can Improve Discharge Transitions

Researchers studied 241,510 hospital discharges in patients with diabetes. They examined the rate of outpatient follow-ups, telemedicine, lab tests, and return emergency department visits or readmissions. 

They then compared the data available for the clinician—inpatient-outpatient or outpatient-only. In the former, physicians scheduled telemedicine follow-ups and ordered outpatient lab tests 27.5% of the time. If the latter, it was only 22.9% of the time. 

The Study’s Commentary on EHR Data Exchange and Care Continuity for Chronic Diseases

Researchers concluded that real-time data availability during transitions coupled with telemedicine access, can shift the care delivery without any adverse effect on patient outcomes with chronic diseases. Further, the expansion of interoperability and EHR data exchange can significantly improve follow-up care efficiency. 

Healthcare Data Exchange Still a Challenge

Many challenges around healthcare data sharing still exist, as there’s no standard across the industry. A concerted effort to improve interoperability has been ongoing by HHS and CMS with the new interoperability rule published this year. However, it’s seen delay due to the pandemic. 

As the healthcare ecosystem works toward consistency around healthcare data exchange and interoperability, the goal of real-time data to fuel decision-making will only grow more critical. When clinicians have more data about a patient’s history, they can enhance continuity of care. Follow-ups don’t have to be in-person to be useful. 

Telemedicine Is a Vital Tool in Care Continuity 

ehr data telemedicine

This study, like many others, highlights the criticality of healthcare data sharing and interoperability. It also reflects that telemedicine is an effective alternative to in-office visits. 

Telemedicine can be more convenient for patients with chronic illnesses. They may have limited mobility or be more susceptible to COVID-19. Those with diabetes and other chronic diseases are at increased risk of having more severe complications from COVID-19.

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) deemed telemedicine as an essential health service during COVID-19. They point to it as a way to reduce risk but also ensure that patients with chronic conditions continue to have regular visits to manage their illness and ensure medication adherence. 

How Could Real-Time EHR Data Access Improve Your Organization’s Care Continuity?

Data sharing between EHRs, even within the same health system, can be complex. Additionally, there may be other health information systems (HIS) you’d like to integrate to improve decision-making and the quality of care. 

Enabling interoperability or data sharing may not be a priority for your IT team, as they have a staggering amount of responsibilities. To bridge the gap and improve real-time data access, choose a data management partner like us to help! 

Learn more about our data sharing capabilities today.

What Is an EHR Data Conversion?

ehr data conversion

An EHR is an essential tool for any healthcare organization. The digitization of healthcare enables a data-driven approach to care. With this tool, you gain efficiency, reduce costs, and improve the quality and continuity of care. However, healthcare providers often change EHRs for many reasons, just as any type of business might change their software. In making a switch, patient data needs to migrate to the new system, and that’s an EHR data conversion.

EHRD Data Conversions Explained

To convert data from one EHR to another isn’t easy. Many factors complicate the process, and it’s not as simple as moving a database from here to there. Instead, it’s a multi-part endeavor that requires extracting data, transforming it to meet new requirements, and loading into the new platform. In the data world, it’s known as ETL (extract, transform, load).

With each of these steps comes many tasks to ensure the accuracy and security of the data.

Extracting Data

In a data conversion, the first thing to accomplish is extracting test data. With this test data, conversion providers are determining the structure of the data, mostly regarding fields. They then compare this, with the provider, to the new system’s fields.

Field mapping is critical in a conversion. While EHRs are similar, they don’t have exact fields, so it’s not a one to one match. Formatting of structured and unstructured data is also a challenge that’s discoverable during the extraction.

Post-extraction, data converters develop a plan to transform.

Transforming Data

In this step, data converters address the challenges with data formats or fields. The objective is to ensure that when you deploy your new EHR, the data is as accurate and reliable as possible. A tremendous amount of QA happens at this stage, with verification of the test data by you and your new software partner. You’ll have the opportunity to validate the data and define any issues for remediation by the conversion developers.

Loading Data

In the final stage, converters pull validated final live data. The data goes through another QA process to ensure all mapping looks correct. Then programmers deliver the data to the new system. This final conversion occurs in off-hours, and the next day, you should be ready to begin using your new EHR.

EHR Data Conversions: Best Practices

ehr data conversion best practices

If your organization is moving to a new system, then there are several best practices to consider before, during, and after the conversion.


  • Choose a well-qualified and experience data conversion partner.
  • Discuss any possible issues with matching.
  • Determine how much data to convert from your legacy system. You don’t have to convert everything! You can archive what you don’t convert to a platform that meets medical record retention requirements.

During the Conversion

  • Validate the test data with your new software vendor.
  • Ask any questions about the test data, especially if anything is missing.


  • Check the live data for any discrepancies.
  • Decommission your old system once you convert and archive data. It will save you time and money.

We Make EHR Data Conversions Pain-Free

We’ve been converting healthcare data for over two decades. Our team of healthcare data-centric developers knows the ins and outs of software. With tens of thousands of data projects in our history, we can provide you a pain-free EHR data conversion.

Learn more about EHR data conversions by downloading our eBook, The Definitive Guide to Healthcare Data Conversions.