With over 85% of office-based physicians and more than 96% of hospitals using EMR today, it’s easy to believe that most healthcare providers have found the right EMR solution for their practice. But that’s simply not the case.
Practitioners continue to hit limitations with existing solutions, including in terms of usability, privacy and interoperability. Some software simply cannot keep pace with changing business models. Finally, with the ever-changing regulations and reporting requirements around healthcare, you may find your practice facing an EMR conversion.
An EMR conversion is, in the simplest terms, changing your EMR system from one software to another.
However, the true EMR conversion definition goes way beyond just migrating between software solutions. Find out what switching from one EMR solution to another successfully entails.
Factors to Consider for EMR Conversion
- What data from your current electronic medical records you are going to convert
- 3rd party vendors
- Data quality and data validation
- All other software applications
Strategic Planning and Execution
Have a well-thought-out plan that involves at least one key individual from every department of your practice. Start by understanding the scope of the project:
- Data – What data in your current EMR system do you want to move to the new system and what is the priority/must-haves for these items?
- Data quality – Moving to a new EMR is a great chance to “clean up” and ensure you have a fresh start.
- Archiving vs. integrating – Having a specific plan for making historical charts available to providers is vital.
- Wants and desires vs. Possibilities – Having a clear understanding of this from the beginning will ensure successful EMR implementation and conversion.
Selecting the Right EMR Solution
Finding the best EMR system is often the hardest part, but also the most critical for successfully transitioning EMR systems. Work with an EMR-experienced data conversion specialist to identify solutions that fit seamlessly with your practice.
Here’s how you can ensure successful EMR conversion:
- Data to be converted – Make sure the new EMR system can accept your structured data and unstructured data, format, and can capture new data after conversion.
- Staffing – Have physician champions, practice leaders, clinical staff champions, EMR technical staff from each EMR system, and representatives from third-party vendors.
- Project managers – Project managers will allow other vital team members to stay focused on their respective areas and allow for a smoother project.
- Training – Ensure adequate software training, new workflow training, equipment training, external software training, revenue cycle training for your staff.
- Data validation and verification – Make sure that users from different departments are able to verify the integrity of their data.
- Testing – Test every aspect, including creating and updating patient records, billing, third-party vendor interfaces, and administrative tasks.
- Go Live – Set clear timeframes for go-live.
Learn more about implementing the right EMR/EHR system for your practice
Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Find out what are some of the most common mistakes in an EMR conversion assignment and how you can avoid them:
- Failing to move legacy data – Have a plan for moving all legacy data that is possible
- Not utilizing an experienced data migration company – Ensure your data migration company has EMR data experience, ask for references
- Overlooking the inability to integrate with other vital systems – Planning ahead for all systems you currently integrate with or need to integrate with
- Failure to develop a plan for capturing new data after the conversion process has started – Make sure your conversion plan includes a process for capturing and migrating new data that occurs after the migration data capture date
- Inadequate training – Training should involve every member of your staff; you cannot train too much
- Inadequate data validation and verification – Data validation and verification should be performed by multiple members of your staff, multiple sets of eyes are better than one
- Neglecting to remain HIPAA compliant during migration – Have an EMR experienced conversion/migration company and make sure your IT department is fully involved in your project
Make Your EMR Conversion Seamless
Stop asking “what is EMR conversion?” and work with leading healthcare IT experts. With over 14 years of experience in Healthcare IT consulting, TrueNorth ITG can facilitate all of your EMR conversion projects. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.