Data migration is an essential aspect of a successful EHR system conversion. New EHR systems are constantly being released to provide more accurate data capture, decision support, efficient communication and provision of regulatory reports.
These new systems must preserve the integrity of patient data. That’s why many healthcare organizations prefer automated data migration, which provides accurate patient data and requires less human effort.
Here’s what you need for an efficient and cost-effective data migration process.
Define Your Requirements
State the reasons why you must move your patients’ records to a new EHR system. This will help you and your vendor to know the most important goals to pursue during the process. Some of the main reasons why you may need data migration include:
- Compliance with state regulations: Some states want patient records to be retained for 10 years. Check your state regulations for the requirements for your type of healthcare organization.
- Efficient patient care: When patients come in for their appointment or treatment, you need to have instant access to their medical history, past diagnosis, medications, allergies, and other vital information.
- Quick transition to a new system: If you purchased a new EHR system, you need to transfer patient records from the legacy system to test it.
- Adoption of new coding systems: To start using more efficient data codes and identifiers for medication, insurance providers and patient data, you’ll need to convert old patient records.
Agree on Standards
Unfortunately, most of the records in many EHR systems are not standardized. Many vendors and developers use disparate data formats and codes to store patient data. Apart from the CPT codes, standard ICD-10 codes, and billing information that follows HIPAA standards, a lot of data is stored in vendor-specified codes.
This is the time to set your standards for the input and retrieval of data on medical exams, history, treatment plans, and complaints. Take time to find out how your current EHR system stores data and decide how to improve on this for more efficient retrieval in the new system.
Use Optimized Data Extraction Methods
Ask your current vendor to let you know how you can access and extract data stored in your EHR. This includes data stored in the database as well as in the form of audio, images and text files. Some EHR systems offer you mass export options in the form of clinical document architecture (CDA) while others provide CSV files.
You can also export data in the form of PDF files from some EHR databases. Note that if you need to keep historical records for 10 years, you have to ensure that data from your legacy systems is migrated into your new EHR system.
Evaluate the Costs
If your new EHR system allows you to export data successfully from your old system, your in-house IT staff can explore this low-cost option. On the other hand, you may need to handle conflicts with data coding, incompatible identifiers, and empty fields. This means you need to pay vendors who have the expertise and experience to help you handle all conflicts, data errors, and data duplication that may occur during migration.
Ensure that you’re fully aware of the total cost of the complete migration process which should include cleaning the data and resolving any errors that occur after conversion. To reduce the cost of data migration, you can negotiate with your EHR vendor and ask your in-house IT team to handle the migration in stages.
Do You Want Seamless Data Migration?
If your healthcare organization needs a smooth data migration process, call HEF Solutions now. We’ll schedule an appointment immediately and offer you a free consultation on how to conduct a successful EHR data migration. You can also send an email to us now on our contact page and we’ll give you a prompt response.