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Who really owns your patient data?

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Implementing a new electronic health record (EHR) system involves many steps, including choosing a new EHR vendor, training staff on the new system, and migrating data from the old system to the new. The process of data migration may bring with it some surprises for the independent physician as well. The costs and challenges of working with your current vendor to transition to your new EHR can be significant for an independent practice.

The costs of migrating data can total tens of thousands of dollars. Many EHR vendors will charge independent practices for migrating their own data or will refuse to provide the data in an acceptable format for migrating to the new system. A recent article in Medical Economics explains that “Another frequently underestimated cost of switching EHRs is the price tag that comes with moving data out of the old application…. This process may involve fees to both the previous EHR vendor as well as the new one.”

The independent physician may also incur costs for managing the data, to ensure that it meets the requirements of standard structure and format. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC Health IT) explains that:

In the absence of a contractual obligation that specifies the EHR vendor’s data transfer requirements, your outgoing EHR vendor may take the position that it can satisfy its obligations by providing you with all historical records in a format that is inconvenient or impractical rather than working with you in good faith to deliver the records in a standardized structure and format that is then generally accepted in the health IT industry.

Additional fees incurred during data migration could include outside consultants necessary for converting data to the acceptable format and archiving certain data that must be kept for regulatory requirements. Independent physicians are advised to negotiate and understand data transfer fees and processes with the initial implementation of the EHR system.

Unlike other vendors, Elation Health can import all the data from your old EHR, no matter the brand, with exceptional results. We can integrate full patient charts, including old notes, into your new Elation experience. We have transitioned data from many other vendors and can work with whatever system you may have.