Electronic health record systems, or EHRs, were first introduced in the 1960s. Those systems would be unrecognizable to today’s medical professionals. EHRs were not put into widespread use until the early 2000s, and in 2015 the conversion rate to EHRs reached 92% of all hospital clinics.
EHR technology has continued to grow and adapt since then. There are many benefits of electronic health records, such as improved patient care and treatment coordination, better health outcomes, and fewer medical errors.
The data conversion to an EHR can be daunting. Is your medical practice making the switch to an EHR? Our practical guide will give you useful tips as you go through this important change.
5 Tips for EHR Data Conversion at Your Practice
Medical records contain a huge amount of sensitive patient data, so it’s important to plan your conversion to an EHR carefully. The change to an electronic system will also change your staff’s interactions with patients. These tips will help you manage the conversion smoothly and safely.
1. Plan Which Data You Will Move
Make a concise list of the amount of data you want to convert to your new EHR system. Your medical office holds years of patient data in paper files. Some of these are current patients, but some will be inactive records.
As you go through the data conversion, consider how many months or years of data you want to switch over. Also, plan whether you will convert old records, or only change over current and new patient data. Narrowing the scope of which data you will change over will help the process go more smoothly.
2. Plan Training for Your Staff
Change is always difficult, and your staff may feel anxious about using the new system. Implement a plan to train staff on the EHR and plan to refresh the training a few times. Choose an individual or small team who will be the point people for questions and concerns during the transition.
3. Pay Attention to Detail
There will be a lot of data entry, and this leaves a lot of room for input errors. Put plenty of quality assurance checks into the data conversion process. We’re all human and make mistakes, but having multiple people double-check the data will minimize the risk of errors.
4. Review Paper Storage Practices
Sadly, the conversion to an EHR will not get rid of your paper records. However, one of the benefits of electronic health records is that you may be able to cut down on what you need to store. The conversion to an EHR is a good time to review what you need to keep and what you can shred!
5. Follow Up With Staff and Patients
Plan to check-in with staff after a few months to answer any lingering questions or confusion. You should also survey patients after the conversion to get input on what is working in the new system and what is not.
An EHR Can Transform Your Practice
Electronic health record systems are the way of the future. Take time today to consider the benefits of data conversion for your medical office!