Frustration is widespread among numerous EMR buyers. With the selection of a new EMR comes the need for a systematically performed, rigorously tested data conversion. When done correctly, a data conversion preserves the structure of patient records, including all the information necessary to track drug interactions, perform allergy checks, and otherwise ensure the delivery of safe and efficient care. Data conversion, which requires a significant time allocation, should account for a substantial part of any EHR switch. Start the process early and make sure it’s completed well before the go-live date.
The journey to a successful EMR conversion will require your practice to convert existing patient information to an electronic format. This task can be arduous, and you will need to determine which data sets need converting and how far you will backdate your EMR conversion. The increased efficiency of an EMR system will likely lead to improved cost savings over paper charting in the long term, but the process of converting the files into digital format can be costly and time consuming. A successful strategy would need various key elements to be implemented. Here are the top 5 success strategies for EMR data conversion implementation that might help:
1. Outline the scope of the conversion in detail.
Engage appropriate clinical/revenue cycle leadership for definition of scope at the start of implementation.
Obtain appropriate “buy-in” from the key identified stakeholders on what legacy data will be converted and what will not.
Define the boundaries between data conversion vs. data archiving and their distinct purpose.
2. Substantiate the quality of the data in the legacy systems
Have open and candid conversations about the quality of the data in the Legacy system.
Determine if it is reasonable to exclude any “free-text” data from the scoping.
Avoid conversion of data that may create patient care/safety risk.
Perform patient duplicate analysis and clean-up prior to the conversion process.
3. Employ a meticulous testing and validation plan
Defining the validation strategy and scope of different phases of validation:
Validation Phase I: Testing and Validation done by IT conversion team.
Validation Phase II: Testing and Validation done by SME team.
Validation Phase III: Typically, this phase is more for statistic gathering and planning for the timing of the conversion process prior to the Go-Live.
A layered validation approach of the data is an absolute necessity. This allows a comprehensive approach to validation of data from multiple points of view: Listed below are some sample groups of how validation could be layered:
IT team, both integration and application validation.
Departmental SME’s validation.
Physician and nurse champions validation.
4. Involve vendors early in the process for extracts
Technical specifications are key to a successful data conversion. These tasks often either gets missed or are completed verbally. Proper documentation during this stage is imperative.
Getting the extracts from legacy systems can be a challenge and working in advance with the vendor is required. Trying to line up the vendor dates and the project implementation can be a monumental task. Sometimes these extracts can be written internally with the organization, however that can be another resource constraint on the implementation project.
5. Resource allocation planning and identifying any gaps
Identifying resource needs at the beginning of the project is a requirement that cannot be ignored or taken frivolously.
Setting the appropriate expectations with the executive leadership team and key stakeholders during the “preparation” phase is crucial. The design build and validation effort for conversion and resources needs to be clearly communicated.
Conversion is not only an IT task with integration resources, but for it to be a success, engagement from several teams is needed at different phases of implementation.
Our EMR extraction and conversion expertise allows us to be flexible when it comes to satisfying clients with different data extraction and plumbing needs. Whether migrating data into a new or existing electronic health record, or exporting data for downstream systems or reporting purposes, Santeware can assist. With our deep experience in data migration and data extraction, we can assure that data integrity is not compromised. Here’s a quick look at the steps and some quick thought points while getting the strategy implemented.
Santeware’s data extraction and conversion services include:
- Needs Analysis & In-Depth Background
- Clearly understanding the levels of expectations from both sides
- A ‘Worry-Free’ Approach To Acquiring Your Data
- Our EMR data engineers are proficient with largely all popular EMRs in the market
- Collaborative effort with your new EMR vendor to plan the data loading