With constant change in healthcare around results-based payment models, urgent population health needs, demand for more patient engagement and a desire to take advantage of data analytics, not every EHR vendor can keep up with it all. If your current EHR is under-performing or just not suited to your practice, you should think about replacing your EHR. While switching EMR systems may be a daunting task, understanding what to look for in a new system and what to expect during the process can make it easier.

The government wants to shift the health industry into the digital age and has provided reimbursement incentives and a deadline for practices to adopt EHR or EMR systems. However, with the vast number of EMR software available, it is challenging to select the right software.


Topics covered in this article include

  1. What are the reasons for switching EHR?
  2. 10 things you should know before switching EHR
  3. Questions to ask an EHR vendor before switching from your old EHR
  4. What to do with legacy data?
  5. Benefits of legacy EHR data archiving


What are the reasons for switching EHR?

Are you using an outdated EHR system or dissatisfied with your existing one? Or perhaps, the existing EHR is not suited for your practice specialty, or the vendor remains unresponsive to your requirements? Whatever the reason may be, you’re not alone. Countless medical practices and facilities  are looking for a solution to replace their EHRs for reasons such as:

  • Low user satisfaction
  • Lack of system functionalities
  • High operational costs
  • Inability to provide customizations
  • Poor level of support services
  • Lack of interoperability


Switching EHRs can be costly and disruptive. It also presents a range of operational and clinical risks. The significant costs of transition may include the cost of hiring external resources and the time your own staff will need to devote to the system conversion. Some of these risks can be reduced by ensuring that you and your vendor discuss these issues at the outset of your relationship and negotiate appropriate transition provisions in your EHR contract.

Unfortunately, very few EHR vendors include any transition provisions in their standard form contracts. As a result, you will typically need to negotiate with your preferred EHR vendor to include specific transition rights and obligations in your EHR contract to minimize the disruption and risk that might arise should you need to switch vendors in the future.


10 Things You Should Know Before Switching EHR

  1. The end user needs and workflows of your facility
  2. Prioritization of staff’s ease of use
  3. Assess your healthcare organization’s needs and how the potential EHR can support your practice´s goals.
  4. Your practice or facility’s IT infrastructure and integration capabilities
  5. Your practice or facility’s data and analytics needs
  6. The cost of implementing a new EHR system
  7. Decide if you need a cloud-based or on-premise EHR system
  8. Evaluate your data migration and archival options
  9. Identify risks. It’ss essential that an EHR system does the most to protect patients from risks (security risks, financial risks, data breaches, etc)
  10. Ask about EHR training and support


Questions To Ask An EHR Vendor Before Switching From Your Old EHR

  • Is your EHR software compatible with my existing hardware?
  • Are there specialties that your software supports?
  • How successful has your software been with external integrations?
  • What integration options do we have?
  • In what ways does your software improve patient flow?
  • Does your EHR enhance patient engagement?
  •  What does your implementation and migration process consist of?
  • How long after signing up before implementation begins?
  • Do you provide training before, during or after implementation?  What type of training?
  • Will you assign a dedicated implementation representative to our clinic to assist us during implementation?
  • Do you switch implementation styles, depending on what a clinic or facility requires?
  • What does follow-up look like after implementation?
  • What is the typical timeframe for your EHR’s implementation?
  • Will you migrate my data into the new system?  If so, what data and how much data?
  • Do you work with a data archival partner for legacy data?
  • What pricing models do you offer?
  • What do the pricing models include?
  • Are services such as data migration, training, and support an additional cost?


What Should Be Done With Legacy Data?

An EHR/EMR that is retired becomes a legacy system if you continue to use it to extract data for the release of information and continuity of care. Legacy data is any data that is not transferred to the new platform. Storing legacy data in obsolete legacy EHR systems presents several dangers to security and data integrity. To maintain legacy systems so that data is secure, there are still high maintenance fees: software maintenance, labor costs, etc.

Moving your legacy data to an archival platform counters the biggest issues with legacy systems in healthcare. Archiving legacy data is a separate system, often cloud-based, where all previous healthcare records and reports are housed, are secure, and typically saves on cost and risk. This includes patient and staff data. The ability to search and query data during the patient experience improves the continuity of care and your customer service reputation. You can also access reports, including billing and insurance claims, for release-of-information requests.  Some archival solutions even offer workflows for A/R wind down and business intelligence reporting if needed.


Benefits Of Legacy EHR Data Archiving

  1. Legacy data archiving allows storing the data in a cost-effective manner.
  2. It will help to ensure that no data is lost or misplaced in the process.
  3. It interfaces with current EHRs through SSO API integration.
  4. It helps organizations to run lean and improve workflow.
  5.  It offers clinicians easy access to archived patient records, supporting more informed clinical decisions, improving outcomes, and elevating the patient experience.
  6. It allows a smooth process for the release of information processing by consolidating legacy data into the archive solution

Interested in Legacy EHR data archiving?

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