Health systems and medical practices often spend months researching, qualifying, selecting, and implementing an EHR/EMR software. Each system and practice has specific requirements. However, even after the work of selecting the best EHR software for your team, you still face the challenge of how to import legacy data into your new EHR. To accomplish this, data from the old system must be extracted, transformed to fit the new system requirements and loaded into the new system, under a process commonly referred to as Extract, Transform, Load (ETL).
There are many partners available to help with the ETL process, but it can be difficult to decide who is the best practice for you. Below are some questions you can ask potential vendors to help narrow down your choices and find the right fit:
1. Can you accomplish this in the timeframe I have laid out?
EHR Data Conversion is a growing line of business for many companies. As health IT grapples with interoperability concerns and health administrators work to find the best EHR fit for their team, many health systems and practices are converting their data to new systems. There are many vendors available to help with that conversion. However, the growing amount of work may make them unavailable to start when you need them and to complete the conversion by your deadline. Be sure to choose a vendor who is available to start working with you when you are ready and can lay out a plan with checkpoints to ensure that your conversion is completed when you need it.
2. What is your experience in EHR data conversion?
When picking a data architect vendor, it is important to consider the experience and knowledge the company has in EHR conversion and systems. That being said, a strong data architect is not necessarily specific system experts, or specialists, in any specific system’s operations, usability or recommended workflows. Data architects are experts and have years of experience in extracting data out of many systems using whatever means that are necessary by that system. The best data architect for you will have many years of experience and will be able to extract data out of ANY system and in turn will become an expert in the systems with which your health system or practice is working.
3. Do you have the necessary expertise?
A data architect serving a health client, needs to have specific expertise in HIPAA and other healthcare regulations. While conversions happen in many industries, the regulations laid out by the government and the sensitive information specific to healthcare make it important that a data architect serving that industry have a very specific expertise. Furthermore, the vendor you choose should have programming ability in order to create a program and process specific to your needs and the EHRs with which you are working.
4. Can you help me?
You want to be sure that the data conversion vendor you choose is comfortable working with you. Are they comfortable with the size of your health system or medical practice? Do they have geographic limitations? Are the goals for both sides clear, and have both parties agreed to them? Finding the right fit for you and for your vendor will make the process smoother and more successful.