What Is an EHR Data Conversion?


October 17th, 2020

An EHR data conversion is a pivotal step in switching software programs. Get the facts on how EHR data conversions work through every step.

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.

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