Data migration is an essential part of EMR conversion. Migration occurs during the replacement of legacy systems with new ones or due to mergers and acquisitions among healthcare providers. When the data of a single patient exists in the new or go-forward EMR, many decisions must be made about how to reconcile lists of medications and allergies.
Another scenario that needs careful consideration is when medications are referenced with generic names in one system and brand names in another. Without the knowledge and expertise of EMR conversion experts, the migration process can be very grueling and time-consuming. That’s why we’re highlighting the following strategies to make the task of health data migration easier, faster and more accurate.
1. Create Filters for Patient Records
After you’ve decided the type of patients to migrate and those to send to the archive, you’ll need to create relevant record filters. For instance, you can choose to archive records of patients who are inactive or deceased. Here are some of the questions to ask:
- Can we find a data field that’s used to identify all the deceased patients?
- If the field exists, is the data accurate?
- If we choose to migrate just those patients that are recent and active, how do we identify them?
- Will data fields like last charge date or appointment date be sufficient?
As you can see, you must take pains to ascertain the integrity of your data while planning your migration.
2. Know When to Start Afresh
Some identifiers like gender, birth dates, and other demographics are easy to migrate. But others like health insurance identifiers aren’t very easy to convert during database migration.
This makes it necessary to decide whether to spend money trying to clean up the records or to start with a clean slate. It’s often more cost-effective to start afresh. Many healthcare providers ask their patients to provide their insurance information and re-enter it manually into the EHR.
3. Create Matching Criteria
While migrating data to an existing system, you need to avoid creating duplicate patient records. One of the ways to do this is by using patient-matching events. Using the first and last names won’t be sufficient since many people will have the same names.
After you’ve cleaned up all the duplicate records in the existing system, you’ll need to choose fields you will use to match. The fields that you can use include first name, middle name, last name, social security number, street address and date of birth.
When you set up these matching criteria, you also need to decide how many fields will make a true match. You can choose 6/6 or 5/6 as a true match, while you subject 4/6 to a manual review.
4. Harmonize Data Codes
Before you begin the data migration, consider how you’ll handle the use of coding systems like RXNorm, SNOMED, and LOINC. Find out if either of the systems (current or go-forward) use them and how they can be harmonized.
If only one system uses these codes, how will you match them with the identifiers used in the other one? You also need to think about how to handle the coding of insurance plans and providers, fee schedules, facility and pay codes.
5. Get Adequate Data Migration Resources
Your IT team will most likely be fully occupied during the migration process. They’ll be busy planning, training and monitoring the development of the new system. While it may be desirable to make use of in-house staff for all the project requirements, this may be difficult to achieve.
You may need additional help for data validation, manual patient record matching, and harmonization of data codes. Seek help early from a reputable EMR conversion specialist or data migration vendor.
Get Professional Help from an EMR Conversion Specialist
Are you planning for a new EMR or EHR system conversion that calls for data migration, archiving, extraction and retention planning? Call HEF Solutions today. We’ll set up an appointment and help you plan your data migration without delay.