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.