EHR Data Conversions: It’s just the beginning…
This may be old news to some, but certainly pertinent to the current EHR market changes being witnessed. We are seeing more and more of a demand for conversion services, as has been documented recently with client success stories. Back in August, American Medical News ran a story – “Half of medical practice EHR shoppers not first-time buyers” Below are some pertinent excerpts from the article:
A report published in July by EHR market research firm KLAS found that about half of the 300 surveyed practices in the market for an ambulatory EHR system were not first-time buyers. The number of practices shopping for a replacement EHR jumped from 30% in 2011 to 50% in 2012.
“Some providers are changing vendors simply because their whole organization is moving onto one platform,” said report author Mark Wagner, senior director of clinical and ambulatory research for KLAS. “But the real sad story is the providers who are changing vendors because they can’t get the support they need or the functionality they expected.”
The health care system traditionally has supported a fragmented IT environment, Wagner said. Emerging models of care that focus on the exchange of data have led many to rethink IT strategies. Many practices that consolidated, or were acquired, are now looking to streamline disparate systems into one integrated network, he added.
In addition, an article was recently published in HITECHAnswers regarding data conversions and maintaining patient care. As Brad Benson, CEO at Health eFormatics astutely points out, there could be several reasons driving EHR Data Conversion, and an equal number, if not more, implications as a result:
A few of the reasons physicians are changing EHRs include:
- The practice is being acquired
- Current EHR system is not certified to meet the 2011 Stage 1 Meaningful Use requirements
- Current EHR is certified for 2011 but may not meet 2014 certification (Stage 2)
- Overall dissatisfaction with current EHR system
To get the most out of your EHR replacement, conversion of legacy data is usually required. A common misconception is that EHR data conversions can be done with the flip of a switch. However, if not done correctly, data conversion projects can lead to unintended consequences. Namely, healthcare providers could be left without the needed information to make the best clinical decisions. The legacy patient data must be presented in the new EHR in a way that is meaningful to the physicians and clinical staff. To deliver a truly successful EHR data conversion it is critical to conduct up-front analysis in order to determine how your legacy patient data will be presented in the new EHR.
With that in mind, here are a few critical success factors to consider
- Will drug interaction checking continue to occur with the legacy data?
- Will allergy reminders continue for legacy EHR patient allergies?
- Will it take more clicks to get to the legacy data?
- Will the doctors be able to easily access their legacy EHR data quickly and easily to find the data needed to make a clinical decision?
- Have physicians been involved in testing of the legacy data conversion?
There are certainly additional considerations to evaluation when evaluating a replacement EHR – among them:
- Could current issues be resolved through remediation?
- Is your current EHR product/vendor stable enough to be in business for the long-term?
- What penalties apply if you terminate the contract?
Look for upcoming blog posts regarding the different options Galen Healthcare provides its clients seeking data conversion.
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