When an EHR has to be changed, the data migration process becomes a necessity. While we won’t be discussing all the reasons why many physicians desire to switch EHR systems, the truth is that many EHR users need systems that are more flexible, user-friendly, and intuitive. Deloitte’s survey revealed that about 58 percent of physicians want better EHRs with more straightforward and less cumbersome documentation.

However, changing an EHR creates new data access problems. Replacing an existing EHR may be more complicated than installing your initial EHR.

All patient medical records in the old system must be kept accessible for 7 to 25 years to comply with legal, state, and federal requirements. For this reason, you must convert and migrate your data so that you can reduce the cost of accessing your patient’s medical history and safeguard their information in an active data archive.

Follow these steps to create a successful data migration process.
 

1. Plan the Entire Migration Process

 
After you have chosen your new EHR and vendor, you need a detailed plan for data migration. At the planning stage, you must decide on the type and volume of data to migrate.

Demographic data must be moved into the new system. But you must also decide where you want to migrate data for inactive and dead patients.

If you decide to do a partial migration, you also have to choose the criteria for filtering the patients to include in your new system. For example, if you need to include active patients, you can select filters such as the last charge date or appointment date. This should be complemented by data validation at the beginning of your migration process.

Before you conclude your migration plan, be sure to set timelines for each stage of the project. Schedule the bulk of the data movement for times when the network and users will be less busy. Communicating the details about the migration to all staff and stakeholders will also help secure their cooperation and understanding if any minor disruptions occur during the process.
 

2. Work With Both EHR Providers

 
For a smooth transition, maintain a cordial relationship with your old and new EHR providers. Your previous EHR provider can provide details about database structures, coding systems, and data field properties to make it easier to extract, transform, and load data from the old EHR to the new one. Your new EHR vendor must also be very supportive and patient enough to guide you and your EHR migration consultant through the process.
 

3. Create a Detailed Contract

 
A detailed contract sets the stage for hitch-free data migration. Let it contain as many details as possible. The contract should include the following vital information:

  • The volume of patient data to be moved
  • The type of data to moved (e.g., patient demographics, financial data, insurance details)
  • The time frame for the migration project
  • The type of post-project support to be provided

Putting many details down in the contract will help you to avoid any hidden or surprise costs that may come up after migration is complete.
 

4. Build a Reliable In-house Team

 
Put together a team of IT professionals and power users. Then, appoint a competent team leader to coordinate the project. Let the team members work together to implement data migration and communicate with your migration consultant. Your team members should be active in testing and verifying the new system’s data, ensuring that all historical data can be accessed quickly and accurately.
 

5. Update Patient Information

 
A data migration project allows you to verify existing patient information. There’s no point in spending money to move data that’s outdated or inaccurate.

You can inform your patients about the need to verify and update their insurance details, addresses, and other demographics while moving on with the project.
 

5. Test and Validate Data

 
Design a testing method that suits your new system. If you migrate data to a system presently in use, you need to establish a unique patient identifier and perform patient matching on the new database.

After cleaning out duplicate patient records, you can use three name fields, birth date, and social security number to check if you have matching fields. If patients don’t have a matching master identifier in the new system, you need to decide whether to create a new one for such patients.

Successful data migration requires expert planning and implementation. To learn more about migrating data from one EHR to another, contact the data migration specialists at MediQuant today.

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