If your healthcare organization recently
completed a merger or acquisition, you may be preparing for a data migration
between electronic health record (EHR) systems. Given the current pressures on
healthcare organizations, it’s even more important that data migrations are rapid
Many healthcare organizations turn to Verato during
or immediately following mergers and acquisitions. In my role at Verato, I
regularly work with data migration experts, including our in-house team and
leading vendors. I’ve learned that three important strategies contribute to
effective, efficient patient data migration.
up patient record duplicates before migration
your data archiving strategy early
patient record duplicates before migration
data migration can begin, EHRs like Epic® require a patient duplicate rate of
less than 3%.
Research by the
American Health Information Management Association show that the average
patient record duplicate rate is between 8% and 12%, nowhere near the 3%
requirement. When hospitals try to share
information across different EHRs (even those from the same vendor), that rate
jumps to 50% – 60%, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for
Health Information Technology (ONCHIT).
In a merger and acquisition
situation, it’s likely that patients included in soon-to-be-legacy EHRs also
visited or are active patients of the acquiring health system. Mapping the
legacy EHR patient identities to their correct records in the new EHR is a
time-consuming, error-prone, and expensive exercise. This type of data mapping
requires your health information management (HIM) staff to manually validate
matches and remediate potential matches. This effort could require hundreds of
hours for a larger healthcare organization.
Having seen this scenario many times,
data migration vendors are partnering with Verato to resolve issues with
patient identity mapping and duplicates.
data archiving strategy early
Too often, the
topic of data archiving comes up very late in EHR transition planning, when the
customer team realizes the high cost of making historical data accessible for
collections, compliance, and/or research. In a pinch, the organization can either
move all historical data into the new EHR—most likely exceeding license
capacity and generating a massive bill. Or, the customer can leave the
historical data in legacy applications, paying full maintenance costs.
Working with a data
archiving vendor is a more proactive option that’s cost-effective. Vendor fees
are typically one-tenth the cost of keeping legacy applications running, as
described in a recent article by KLAS Research. A vendor’s archiving system can be much
easier for the HIM staff to use and IT team to maintain.
differ widely in how they deploy EHRs, even down to the level of how data
fields are named. Seemingly minor assumptions about field names can create
problems with data mapping, bringing an EHR data migration to a halt.
data mapping for a healthcare organization, it’s helpful to ask the following
- Is the label on each
field current and well-defined? Organizations often build a field, then use
it for a completely different purpose.
- When two or more data
fields in different EHRs have the same name, do they share the same meaning? Field meanings can
and do differ greatly between different EHRs, especially if those EHRs are
years apart in version.
By tackling these
discrepancies head-on, the IT team can troubleshoot naming problems before data
With clean data, a
data archiving strategy, and consistent semantics, you’ll be on the road to a
straightforward data migration that makes fewer demands on your team.
Learn more about
how Verato can accelerate and support your
healthcare data migration.
Find out how Verato helped Axia Women’s Health—the largest integrated women’s health provider in the U.S.—to migrate data from 25 different sources into one EHR.
photo credit: hitinfrastructure.com