Preparing For Painless EHR Conversion: 4 Tips Every Doctor Should Know

You’ve seen the headlines: “Physicians dissatisfied with EMR systems.” “Physicians air EMR frustrations.” Doctors are saying loud and clear that they’re tired of systems that don’t meet their needs. A recent survey found that nearly 1 in 4 physicians are so fed up with their existing systems that they are open to switching vendors. However, despite this dissatisfaction, doctors are often hesitant to make a change because they’re concerned about the high cost of migrating their patient data to a new system. Many vendors claim it will cost tens of thousands of dollars to move data from one system to another—a price too high for most small-practice physicians to pay.

We’ve spent a lot of time with our customers learning where the pain points are in EHR conversion, and how we can alleviate them while keeping costs low for physicians. Based on those learnings, we’ve created a list of some practical tips we’ve discovered that can help guide doctors through a migration project.

1) Request a reduced rate for a read-only view of your patient charts.

Most vendors let you have a read-only view of your patient charts for a reduced rate. This approach gives you a copy of your patients’ medical history to reference while you are converting from one EHR to another, so you don’t have to wait until all your data is migrated to access critical information. You also won’t have to worry about losing data during the conversion process, because you’ll have it at your fingertips.

2) Retrieve historical lab results for your patients.

If your EHR vendor is making you pay for a lab interface, you should be entitled to your historical lab results. Most lab vendors keep at least 6 months’ worth of data on hand that they can give to you quickly, but they won’t hand over this information unless you ask for it. Elation Health can, with your consent, quickly and securely transfer your lab results out of your old EHR and into ours. We can also set up a lab interface free of charge for our customers.

3) Retrieve medication history for your patients.

Check with your ePrescribing vendor to see whether they offer the ability, with your patient’s permission, to retrieve your patient’s medication history from pharmacies the next time you see the patient. With Elation’s Clinical First EHR we will also help you reconcile the medications and make it easy to incorporate the meds other physicians have prescribed into your patient’s chart.

4) Ask for all your data

You’re entitled to all your data from your current EHR vendor when you’re making the switch to a new system and should make sure you ask for all of it. Your data includes not just all the information contained in your patient files, but also the titles of those files you’ve painstakingly entered by hand. There are times when you get a copy of the complete database, and the titles of those reports you scanned, uploaded and filed into your EHR are not included. Sometimes, they are stored in a different area of the EHR. Make sure to confirm that the EHR vendor gives you this information, otherwise you’ll be left with thousands of numbered PDFs, wondering which patient’s information is in file 1234567.

Switching to a new EHR from a system you’ve used for years can be daunting. But if you’re prepared, it can also be liberating. Have you successfully switched to a new EHR? What advice can you give for those considering an EHR conversion? Share your thoughts in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you.

If you’re interested in switching to Elation Health, check out our simple Getting Started guide to learn more.