Electronic health records (EHRs) are now used in most physician offices in the U.S. Recent statistics show that about 95 percent of critical access hospitals have implemented an EHR system. However, many doctors want to change their EHR for a better one. Unfortunately, some EHRs were not designed for physicians from the ground up, and they became widely used because the vendors already had a foothold in the healthcare industry. Transitioning from one EHR is not a trivial task. But by applying the following tips for electronic medical records conversion, your institution should be able to overcome many of the challenges connected with this process.
1. Invest in a Detailed Plan
Prudent planning is essential for any successful EHR conversion. You need to create a comprehensive project plan for the whole data conversion process from conception to completion.
During the project plan, you should outline all the stages of the project, which include:
- Defining source data
- Building a data map
- Extracting source data with the help of the system vendor
- Transforming and loading source data
- Extensive testing by users
- Final deployment
For each stage, you need to assign time and cost estimates.
2. Standardize Operations
All legacy systems will have variations and peculiarities that can affect data usage after conversion. That’s why it’s essential to standardize operations before making a transition to the new system.
Do some organizational housekeeping to reduce the complexity of the transition process. Try to avoid increasing the risk of adverse effects on care delivery caused by excessive customization.
Examples of areas to look at include:
- Clinician workflow
- Electronic ordering of lab tests
- Routing of tasks to clinical assistants
3. Create an Interdisciplinary Team
Transiting from one EHR to another is a complex task. For this reason, it is customary to hire consultants and engage all in-house IT staff.
However, external IT consultants may not understand the culture of your institution. So you should also involve clinicians, clinical assistants, and all experts that will work with the EHR.
Involve them early in the project and obtain their input as often as possible.
4. Watch Out for Patient Safety
Restricted access to legacy data and variations in data standards can adversely affect patient safety. Another source of danger is mismatched data fields as a result of errors in data conversion.
For example, the same ailment may be classified with different names in the legacy and current system. It is essential to create reports that show all the terms used to identify conditions and work toward their unification to prevent this.
5. Work With a Specialty Consultant
There are presently no straightforward recipes that work out of the box for an EHR to EHR switch. While you may get a guide revealing the basic steps you need to take for successful data conversion, you still have to create a unique path for your institution’s success.
That’s why it is crucial to engage the services of an EHR data conversion expert. You will tap into their wealth of experience and avoid the pitfalls that many providers experience when they switch to a new EHR.
Connect to an Electronic Medical Records Conversion Expert
Contact MediQuant today at 844.286.8683 to get a free consultation for your EHR conversion and database migration project. Check our contact page now to leave a message. We’ll get back to you shortly.