Over 96 percent of hospitals have EHRs, according to the U.S. government report on EHR adoption. But we don’t yet have EHRs that solve significant health information challenges and ease the data processing and decision-making burden on physicians. That’s one of the major reasons why hospitals may decide to switch to another EHR. Replacing an old EHR or legacy information system is a sensitive and challenging task. You and your team must consider regulatory requirements, data migration, costs, and impact on clinicians’ productivity. However, you can scale through these hurdles if you have a detailed strategy in place. The following tips will help you prepare effectively for your legacy system replacement.
1. Document the Flaws of the Old System
Naturally, you will be aware of the drawbacks of your old EHR or billing system after using it for several years. But you shouldn’t assume you know all its flaws.
Take time to write down everything you and other users do not like about it. That way, you will have a list of features and benefits that your new system must offer.
Some of the areas you need to consider include:
- The user interface
- Interoperability with other systems like billing
- Workflow adaption
- Alerts and notification
- Decision support
- Processing speed
- Data entry requirements
- Clinician productivity
You should use your analysis of the old system to set goals for the new system.
2. Create a Detailed Migration Plan
Moving data from your old system to a new one is not a stroll in the park. It’s not even a simple transfer of records from one database to another.
Unless you are installing an existing system upgrade, there will be many differences in the data formats of the two systems. Here are some tips to have a hitch-free migration:
- Find out how much migration assistance your new EHR vendor will offer
- Decide on the data elements to move to the new system and those to keep in an archive
- Ask your current vendor if you need to pay for support to extract data from the legacy system
- Get specific guidelines on how to handle security during the data migration
3. Get Physician Buy-in
Physician buy-in is essential because it helps them understand the product’s benefits and use it correctly. If physicians don’t like the new EHR or believe that it can improve their work, they may not use it correctly.
To get physician buy-in:
- Let a charismatic, tech-savvy clinician be on the planning and implementation team
- Emphasize the new benefits and improved workflow the new system will bring
- Show how the system will reduce physician burnout
- Provide adequate training for clinicians
- Provide a well-designed knowledge base to answer common questions
4. Reduce the Impact on Productivity
Information system replacement must be done with minimal effect on worker productivity. If the transition period is too long and tortuous, the users will be weary before the system becomes stable.
So, before you begin implementation, be sure about:
- The duration of the data transfer
- When you will retire the old system
- How user training will go on without serious disruption of normal work schedules
- The best time to perform bulk data transfer
- How the implementation will affect access to patient records and the quality of patient care
5. Choose a Reliable Migration Partner
Regardless of how we look at it, replacing an old EHR, EMR, or billing system is a complex task. In most cases, in-house IT teams will be tackling this project for the first time.
For this reason, it is imperative to work with a data migration expert who has successfully implemented similar projects in the past.
Your migration consultant will work with you to map data from the old system to the new one, helping you move the most critical data first to minimize disruption of patient care.
Plan Your Legacy System Replacement With an Expert
To make your EHR, billing system, or legacy system replacement an outstanding success, contact us at MediQuant at 844.286.8683. You may also reach us through our contact page and request a free demo of our data migration solutions.