It’s one thing to recognize your medical practice needs a new electronic health records system; it’s another to migrate patients’ information from the old system without disrupting workflow. This can be a legitimate concern and enough to stop any administrator in their tracks when faced with the decision to upgrade.
However, it doesn’t have to be intimidating. There is an effective process that will allow you to avoid this issue and enable your clinic to maintain its stride.
Healthcare facilities update their EHR system for a variety of reasons. Some are focused on keeping up with their competition by ensuring their EHR software is state of the art. Others make use of the insights EHR systems can provide regarding administrative bottlenecks. Some simply want to improve the customer experience by making the scheduling and consultation process as smooth as possible. These are all legitimate reasons, and none are mutually exclusive.
The quality of providers varies greatly, with the EHR software for healthcare by NextGen being at the higher end of the spectrum. Some of the challenges clinics can face include time-consuming migration processes and a complicated user experience. You can be proactive in making the migration as seamless as possible by following these tips.
1. Designate a Project Manager
Having an effective manager is key to the success of any project. Designating someone to be in charge of all processes creates a sense of accountability regarding the initiative. This will prevent anyone from passing the buck, claiming they thought it was somebody else’s responsibility. A lot rides on this position, so make sure the person is up to the task.
It should be made clear that the project manager is accountable for meeting all data migration deadlines. Accuracy and quality fall under this umbrella, too. All information should be complete and organized in an acceptable manner.
2. Clean Up Data Before the Move
The less data there is to move, the quicker the process. Eliminate any duplicate or old information that is in your records to simplify the process. This will also reduce confusion down the line if multiple employees are working out of different files. One of the benefits of EHRs is that they streamline administrative duties. Don’t negate these advantages with avoidable errors.
3. Prioritize Essential Data
Anyone in the healthcare field understands the importance of triaging a scene. The principles are similar during data migration and just as applicable. The information that will be immediately needed in the new system should take priority. Establish a plan to migrate this data first, while less relevant data is placed lower in the timetable.
If there is reason to believe a particular patient will not be in the office for some time, there is no harm in placing them at the end of the waitlist. Nothing is set in stone, so if a change needs to be made on the fly, it can always be done.
4. Train Employees Throughout the Process
Do not wait until the new system is live before you start training employees on how to use it. This can create its own bottleneck when the system is supposed to be up and running. As with most learning opportunities, people retain knowledge better when exposed to it gradually and hands-on.
Throughout the data migration process, small groups of staff can be trained on the new software. When the system is fully operational, these team members will be able to hit the ground running.
5. Ask for Help
Asking for an experienced professional’s help should not only be considered as a final resort. Their guidance can help you dodge problems before they arise and deal with any unavoidable complications. Letting a problem linger for too long while you try to figure it out yourself will only exacerbate the issue. Consulting with a professional is like learning from the mistakes of others. It should not be seen as a weakness.
The software vendor should offer this support themselves, or you can hire an EHR software consulting company to fill in any gaps in knowledge.
Sustain Performance The switch to a new EHR system is well worth the effort, but it is not without its obstacles. Implement these tips during your transition to reduce the amount of disruption to your clinic. Before you know it, your operations will be running smoother than before.