Author: Jay Simonds – Project Delivery Leader

Many healthcare providers move to a new EMR system, but continue to pay annual support to the old vendor because they need access to the old medical records (patient health records). They are led to the false belief that they will still need the old system once they move to the new EMR because many states require a minimum of five years of historical patient health record data retention. We are here to tell you that you CAN turn off your old EMR and stop paying to maintain two EMR systems.
Depending on the EMR system, the process of extracting historical data can range from routine to complex – but at HEF Solutions we thrive on providing creative solutions to get the job done. We’ve been serving the healthcare industry for 10 years and our core business is focused around the migration & conversion of legacy EMR data.
Some legacy EMR vendors make it challenging to extract data – possibly to keep their customers on the “hook” by making it hard to extract data from their propriety system or perhaps just due to archaic programming. Let me give you an example of a project we just completed…
Recently a mid-sized physicians group needed assistance with extracting patient Office Visit Notes from their legacy EMR because they did not plan to renew the system’s license. They needed Office Visit Notes (created using Full Note Composer) converted to HEF’s PatientArchive® data repository, which provided a more cost-effective means to archive and access legacy data.
When we started working on the project, HEF’s data conversion team could not easily find these Office Visit Note records within the legacy EMR’s database. After a sample note record was provided, it was determined these records were generated “on-the-fly” as they were opened. Basically, the EMR vendor was maintaining the historical patient Office Visit Note records in various sections of their proprietary system and when a request for a patient record was made, the system would extract the various components of the record and generate an “on-the-fly” record for viewing. The documents were not stored in the database as RTF or PDF files like they are typically stored in many other EMR systems. This made it difficult to extract historical data for providers planning to move to a different EMR system.
As a result of being created “on-the-fly” in the legacy EMR system, the 35,000+ Office Visit Note records needed to be created and then moved into PatientArchive. Before discussing alternative options, we asked the physicians group to contact their legacy EMR vendor to see if they were able to export all the Office visit Note records. They were not willing to offer assistance without charging a significant fee. The timing for assistance was also something of concern since the license was expiring soon and the vendor could not provide timely assistance.
HEF used a customized approach to quickly extract and move the Office Visit Notes to PatientArchive where they are safely archived and easily accessible to the physicians group. The cost of the data extraction and PatientArchive repository was significantly less than the fee quoted by the legacy EMR vendor. In the end, all the Office Visit Notes were moved out of the old EMR before the license renewal deadline and the physicians group was able to turn off their old EMR system and stop paying annual licensing fees – saving significant money over the long-term.
Even in the most difficult situations, HEF prides itself on providing creative solutions to help our clients find ways to extract and maintain access to their legacy patient data. If your organization is currently paying for two EMRs because you’re afraid to turn off your old one – please give us a call. We can evaluate your situation and help you find a much better solution to free your legacy data.