EMR switching has become a really hot topic in healthcare IT and I predict that it’s only going to become more important. EHR vendors will continue to consolidate which will force healthcare organizations to switch EHR software. Health systems will continue to acquire healthcare organizations which will also drive EHR switching. Given these trends, it’s important to have a good answer to the question “Should we migrate our EHR data to the new EHR or not?”
Galen Healthcare Solutions has put out a detailed whitepaper on EHR data migration that does a great job highlighting best practices for EHR data migration based on their decade of clinical data migration experience. Together with the whitepaper, they offer these 10 reasons a healthcare organization should migrated their EHR data:
- Eliminate Legacy Systems
- Lower Costs
- One System for All
- Maximize Productivity
- Strengthen Compliance
- Prescribe Electronically
- Enhance Operational Efficiency
- Reduce Human Error
- A Greener Solution
- Meet Quality Measures
They obviously go into a lot more detail for each of these 10 points in their Free EHR switching whitepaper, but even just looking at the list it’s pretty compelling. At the end of the day for me, the overarching reason to migrate your EHR data is number 7 on the list: Enhancing Operational Efficiency. Is there anything less efficient than limping along an old EHR system that people quickly forget how to use? It’s inefficient for the IT people, but even less efficient for the end users that want access to the clinical data.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that EHR data migration is easy work. We’d like to think that you just export the data from your old EHR and import it into your new EHR. That’s now how it works. Check out the complex process that Galen uses to do an EHR data migration:
You can certainly take out some of the steps in this chart if you don’t care about the integrity of your data. Yep, that’s a reality that exists in no healthcare organization. The integrity of your health data really matters in healthcare. People’s lives are on the line.
The problem is that if the data is stuck in your old legacy EHR and not accessible, then it’s as good as gone. The ideal situation is to migrate your EHR data to your new system in a way that the integrity of the data is maintained. That’s something that takes real experience and expertise to do it right. However, when done right it you can gain all the benefits of accessible data along with the ability to sunset your old EHR application.
Have you switched EHR software? How did you approach EHR data migration? What would you have done the same or different?
Galen Healthcare Solutions is a sponsor of the Tackling EHR & EMR Transition Series of blog posts on Hospital EMR and EHR.