By Tom Maher
When we first speak with providers about EMR data conversions, we typically get a one-word answer about what they want converted: "everything." Upon further discussion, providers tend to understand that due to differences in the "from" and "to" systems, everything may not translate in a clinically meaningful manner. Even if it is possible, it may not be worth the time, effort, and cost to convert everything.
The data that an organization chooses to convert depends on the outcomes they need to achieve. Here are some steps that will help you through this data decision-making process:
- Decide which data will add significant value to your patient clinical care
- Determine whether the content will convert in a format that will be clinically effective
- Decide whether the data is going to be utilized enough to be worth converting;clutter in the new EMR may reduce usability and effectiveness
- Identify the detailed item conversions that will cost more than it will benefit – take them off the list. Instead, consider utilizing summary reports that can be loaded to the new EMR as notes and references after the new EMR is in use.
- Mark content that is used only for legal purposes - convert this content as reports/notes. Keep the primary focus of detailed conversions on clinical value.
Question everything. If it is unknown, why it is important? Why should it be converted?
A large client that initially requested that everything be converted eventually planned out a thoughtful prioritization of their converted data. The result was a 66% drop in conversion cost estimates.
Converting everything is wrought with potential problems and data quality risks.
EMR data conversions need to be prioritized. The objective is to have a cleaner, more clinically useful EMR. It is possible to meet this objective - and save money and time, too - without converting everything.