EHR Conversion is About to Get A Lot More Difficult

Posted on October 21, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

I’ve been talking to a lot of companies that are getting involved in the EHR conversion space. It makes sense that so many are interested in EHR conversion. It’s an extremely important task and a lot of organizations are going to need this service. While it’s great to think that you can limp along legacy EHR and health IT systems, it just doesn’t become practical when you look at what it means long term to your organization from both a cost and quality of care perspective.

In one of my recent conversations, an EHR conversion expert commented that EHR conversions are about to get a lot more difficult. His argument was that most past EHR conversions were from client server EHR systems that were hosted on a server in the doctor’s office. While those aren’t easy by any means, at least the person doing the conversion had access to the EHR data since it was on a server that you were hosting. It’s not going to be as easy to get to the data with these cloud hosted EHR platforms (or so he argues).

He’s right that a cloud hosted EHR is generally harder to get access to the data in an EHR conversion. In fact, this is why it’s so extremely important that when you select a cloud based EHR you include the right language in your contract when it comes to ownership and access to your data. If you don’t, you could be in real trouble.

It will be interesting to see how this evolves. As more healthcare organizations move to the cloud, will some wise cloud EHR vendors make it easy for healthcare organizations to export all their EHR data from the cloud? Will healthcare organizations demand this service? Will we see vendor neutral archives of EHR data become popular (especially with cloud hosted EHR)?

My fear is that most organizations aren’t that forward thinking. They just can’t imagine ever leaving their current EHR. Given the number of mergers and acquisitions that have happened and will happen in both the EHR world and between healthcare organizations, it would be wise to start thinking about these things earlier rather than later when you won’t have as many options available.

If you want more data on the EHR conversion and legacy EHR system world, be sure to check out the excellent Tackling EHR and EMR Transition series. It’s a great series of posts, infographics, and whitepapers on this important topic. A topic that is only going to become more important over time. Is your organization ready?