If you are considering a switch to a new EHR system or a new vendor, you need to carefully consider and plan the transition so it is as smooth as possible.
In this article, we will talk about some of the practical considerations you need to think about as you think about changing to new EHR software. You need to start with a plan and a purpose, ask plenty of questions, make your decision, and then carefully manage the process.
Keep reading for an overview of the process. By the end, you should have a better understanding of how to switch to a different EHR system.
Before you switch, you should stop and consider why you want to switch EHR systems. Having a plan is an important part of getting this new EHR implemented.
Asking yourself these questions may help:
- “Why do I want to switch?”—Think about your motivations. Are you trying to reduce your costs and find a cheaper software system? Are you frustrated by usability issues? Looking for a system with improved interoperability, specific functionality, or compatibility with a new computer system? Are you looking to add mobile functionality to your EHR? The answers may help you find a better system when you begin shopping, and may help you avoid a system with the wrong design and functions.
- “What do I need to do differently?”—A related question, but still a key idea to guide you as you shop. If you are doing something wrong in your practice right now, it is time to think about improvements and changes you can make.
- “What systems fit my needs?”—If you have not done so already, you should stop and make a wish list. Then, begin looking for software systems that include these features and characteristics.
- “How long will implementation take?”—Remember, switching systems to a new EHR is technically engaging in another implementation process. You will need to plan for it just like you did with your previous implementation. This process may be shorter than switching from paper, but it may also take longer if the two systems have limited compatibility in the first place.
- “What’s my contingency plan? How will I migrate my data?”—If you encounter problems, you need to know what you will do to keep your patient records accessible while you figure out these challenges and resolve them. You may want to plan out who you will contact for technical support, think about hiring office support, or consider another approach while you figure it out.
When you are ready and have your plan, you can begin your new implementation. After deciding on new software, work with your vendor to implement it. Your vendor may do this for you entirely, or you may be responsible for your own deployment. You will need to figure out how to migrate data from the old system to the new one, too. Ask plenty of questions and try to access help when you need it with technical support, installation and security.
That last point is an important one—secure your system. A new EHR means you will be thinking again about how your EHR is secured and patient information is protected. You may need to retrain your office team on security measures, learn about how to prevent hackers from using social engineering against you, and carefully check to ensure you are fully compliant with HIPAA and other security regulations.
Making the switch
If you are prepared to make the switch to a new EHR system, then you can start by making your plan, asking questions and shopping around. These steps should not be made hastily or without adequate research. Switching to a new system is serious business, so do not be afraid to take your time along the way and gather all of the details.
Once you switch, be diligent about upgrades, maintenance, and training. You need to make sure you are very consistent in how you use your system, but do not be afraid to experiment a little with different strategies and trainings.
1. iNTERFACEWARE. “Switching EHR Systems? 3 Keys to a Successful EHR Migration.” iNTERFACEWARE Blog. https://blog.interfaceware.com/switching-ehr-systems/. Published: February 2017. Accessed: October2017.