Why is a Project Manager Important to Your Clinical Data Conversion?

Clinical data conversions are common in today’s evolving EHR landscape, and are something we see a lot at Galen Healthcare Solutions. Having managed many EHR clinical data conversions, I often see patterns in what contributes to the success of these projects. One common key to success is having an experienced project manager leading the conversion. In my opinion, when it comes to clinical data conversions, a project manager is worth investing in because they will be able to guide an organization through the nuanced hurdles of a conversion and ultimately save them time and money.

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Many times, organizations are not acquainted with what a conversion entails and what data types can be successfully converted. The practice may also have multiple requirements that need to be met when converting the data. They may need the data converted to help end users transition to a new EHR, to meet reporting requirements, or because they need to retire their legacy EHR and archive the historical data for legal purposes.  Because of this, organizations may only have a general idea of what needs to be converted at the start of the project.  Having an experienced project manager who knows the common data elements essential to a successful conversion and the details surrounding them can save time during the scoping process by sharing and building upon previous conversions. They’ll be able to efficiently guide an organization through scoping based on their specific needs and what’s worked well in the past.

Clinical data conversions are becoming a popular necessity in today’s healthcare IT world. Because of this, we have developed a formal conversion process with multiple tools specifically designed to make the conversion as efficient as possible. Having a project manager who is familiar with these tools and the conversion process is an integral key to the success of the project.  An experienced project manager can lead an organization through the ins and outs of a conversion and be able to spend more time dealing with an organization’s specific needs than learning the process. Anticipating the next steps and preparing the practice for what’s to come will move the project forward smoothly and create stakeholder confidence in the success of the conversion.

Overall, the conversion process is pretty similar between different EHRs, but as we all know, each EHR has its own quirks which can cause delays and disruptions to a project. Having a project manager who’s familiar with multiple EHRs can help by addressing any of these known issues up front. They will know what to expect and can offer reliable solutions to the issues. Being able to avoid these surprise pitfalls will save an organization a lot of frustration and time.

Having defined roles on a project is important, but sometimes having too many people on a project creates confusion and makes communication difficult. For most of our conversions, the project manager will also staff as a clinical analyst. Having one person perform dual roles creates a seamless transition between the work of leading the project and the work of the analyst. Overall, Galen project managers are there to serve in whatever capacity is needed – from guiding an organization through the process, to serving as an adviser, to note taker or clinical data mapper.

Here at Galen, we have been fortunate enough to work on many conversions with many different types of EHRs. I’m hoping this information will help organizations see the benefits of having a project manager on their next conversion.  We have worked hard to develop an efficient conversion process and managing standards that we think will benefit organizations.  For more information around clinical data conversions, please check out my free webcast on May 8th, “What to Expect When Converting: A Walk Through a Clinical Data Conversion”. My colleagues and I will be walking you through the different phases of clinical data conversion while reviewing any considerations you’ll need to think about along the way. You can register here: http://www.galenhealthcare.com/event/what-to-expect-when-converting-a-walk-through-a-clinical-data-conversion/

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