Medical data conversions are complex. Nonetheless, migration from legacy EHRs to more integrated and interoperable EHRs is on the rise. In 2018, about 30 percent of physicians wanted to replace their EHRs within three years.
If you want your organization to meet the requirements for the new Interoperability Rule, it’s essential to provide instant answers to requests for patient data stored in legacy applications.
Successful medical data conversions will provide access to legacy data and make it possible for clinicians to see all clinical notes, lab test results, allergies, and medications in a new EHR. For this to happen, you need a clearly defined healthcare data conversion strategy.
Here are five steps to successful medical data conversions:
1. Define the Scope of Your Data Conversion Project
Start by setting the boundaries for the migration project. This keeps you focused and allows you to secure the commitment of executive leadership and all clinical stakeholders.
Some of the issues to address during this phase include:
- The type of data to convert and the data to store in an archive
- How to handle legacy applications that contain decades of healthcare data
- What kind of data archive should you build – an active one or a dormant repository?
- What are the regulatory requirements that we must comply with?
2. Verify the Quality of Your Legacy Data
Some legacy applications were installed over two decades ago. Such systems existed before regulatory requirements like HIPAA and other rules by CMS and ONC were created. Some of the databases were developed on old UNIX-based servers. And all the personnel who understood their inner workings have left the organization.
To ensure that you only convert data that will enhance patient care,
- Extract data samples and run quality tests on them
- Decide whether to include or exclude free text data
- Carry out de-duplication on patient data before any bulk data conversion
3. Define Your Data Validation Process
Create a plan for thorough multi-phase testing of your migrated data. All your clinicians depend heavily on the data in your EHR, so you must maintain the integrity of your database.
You may arrange your data validation in three phases:
- Validation by the conversion team
- Validation by senior clinicians
- Validation by a group of users before the migrated data goes live
It’s essential to allow for rigorous testing from different points of view.
4. Connect With Vendors for Hitch-free Data Extraction
Data conversion is always more straightforward when you have documentation and support from the original system developers. Arrange for a meeting with vendors who can support you through the extraction process.
Remember that the vendors have limited time and staff to provide the information you need. You may need vendors to explain database schema, constraints, database procedures, triggers, and other properties in the legacy system. So schedule vendor meetings early in the project to avoid delays caused by insufficient information.
5. Identify Resource Needs
Invest time to identify and allocate resources for your extraction project during the planning phase. Communicate with executive leadership about the help you need to design the process, extract the data, and validate it. Engage with all the teams involved, including clinicians, nurses, and your practice management team.
Let’s Help You Complete Your Medical Data ConversionProject
Contact MediQuant now at 844.286.8683 to discuss your migration project. You can also book a free consultation via our contact page.