Switching to a new EHR system? You need to consider these 3 things for a successful EHR Migration

Hospitals are always in the process of switching EHR systems. A report entitled “Acute Care EMR Decision Insights” from KLAS research found that it is the norm to have nearly 50% of large hospitals replace, or had plans to replace, their EHR system. But more alarming is how dissatisfied many healthcare organizations are with their current EHR solution. In Sage Growth Partners and Black Book Market Research’s report, “EHR Vendor Loyalty 2021: Why Healthcare Leaders are Switching EHR Vendors and What They Want in a New System”, published in February 2021, 26% of the healthcare executives surveyed said they were dissatisfied with their EHR vendor, and 12% said they were indifferent.

From performance issues to poorly designed user interfaces to outdated technology, there are several reasons why hospitals eventually become fed up with their current EHR system and look for a new solution. Moreover, physicians are becoming increasingly unhappy that they spend far more time inputting data into EHRs than they do with their patients. According to research from Annals of Internal Medicine, Physicians now spend nearly 50% of their time on their EHR and doing desk work and only 27% of their time interacting face-to-face with patients.

Sometimes, hospitals and physician practices are forced to switch from one EHR system to another when they are acquired by or merged with another healthcare organization. It’s about consolidation.

Whatever the reason for switching EHR systems, there are some important considerations when making the change.


How will you choose a new EHR solution?

The first big decision your organization must make is selecting a new EHR system.

You need to think about your organization’s goals and find a solution that will help you achieve them. Is your primary goal meaningful use attestation? Is it to eliminate all paperwork? Improve quality of care? Enable your caregivers access to patient information more quickly? A combination of these things? Make a list of your primary and secondary objectives and incorporate them into your decision-making process.

It is also important to pick an EHR that will also meet your future needs. You don’t want to switch EHRs again in a few years because your organization’s needs have evolved beyond what your expensive new EHR is capable of. Pick a vendor who has a proven track record of keeping up with the ever-changing requirements of both healthcare organizations and wider industry standards.

In addition to thinking about your organizational goals, you need to ask for input from your end users when switching EHR systems. Failing to garner opinions from the people who will be using the EHR on a daily basis is a critical mistake that many organizations make. If the majority of your physicians, nurses, and administrative staff are unhappy with the chosen EHR, they will be reluctant to use it. If this happens, you now have several significant problems: unhappy workers, inefficient staff, and a costly EHR that is hardly being used. Thus, involving your end users in the decision-making process early and often is an essential part of a successful EHR migration strategy. There is a bonus of doing this as well – your staff will be able to hit the ground running when the new EHR goes live because they will have access to all of the valuable historical data and information, including documents, images and discrete data.


How are you going to migrate data when switching EHR systems?

After you have found your ideal EHR solution, the next step is to map out a data migration plan. Migrating all the data stored in your current EHR to your new EHR system is a huge undertaking. This means that you will need to put just as much time and thought into how you will migrate your data as you did with selecting a new EHR. When not handled properly, data migration can be a nightmare. It can disrupt your business operations and delay the go-live date of your new EHR system by months. Most hospitals end up needing to run their data through both their old system and their new system for the duration of the migration, which can take up to two years. BridgeHead can eliminate this painful process for you by allowing access to ALL of your historical data in an easy-to-learn and use web-based solution. BridgeHead’s HealthStore Independent Clinical Data Repository fully supports healthcare data standards, such as FHIR, DICOM, HL7, XDSi/b and CIFS (for unstructured files).


So what can you do to ensure a smooth data migration process when switching EHR systems?

Your best bet is to partner with a company who has experience migrating data between the plethora of EHR systems on the market. Why not get your current EHR vendor to do the job? Because they will charge you a substantial fee to extract the data out of their EHR and then you’ll have to pay again to get that data put into your new EHR. You’ll end up paying an ‘arm and a leg’ because your old EHR vendor knows that you need this data and because they want to squeeze as much money out of your organization as they can before they lose your business (to a competitor, nonetheless).

Working with an experienced partner will ensure that the transfer of your data will be carried out to a high quality, quickly, professionally, and at a reasonable cost. Here are three key things to consider when searching for a partner:

  1. Do they have experience integrating data from a variety of disparate systems?
  2. Can they maintain your historical patient records and integrate data from your medical devices, billing systems, LIS, PACS, RIS, and more?
  3. Will they be able to migrate your data in stages to minimize the amount of disruption to your business?

If you are migrating to a new EHR, BridgeHead Software can help you with our skilled team of solution architects with over 20 years of experience.

If you are interested in learning more or would like a brief demonstration of how BridgeHead’s HealthStore can help you migrate data from your old or legacy EHR (or most ANY hospital legacy application) whist making that historical data part of the longitudinal patient record…


Recently joining BridgeHead in 2023, Rob Damiani is the Senior Director of National Sales (North America). Rob Damiani brings over 26 years in Healthcare IT sales, specialising in AI, medical imaging and informatics.


He was formerly the US Sales Director at Gleamer, Inc., where he helped the company grow its AI footprint and US market share by offering cloud-based and on-premise AI workflow solutions to radiology, ED and Urgent Care Centers. Prior to that, Rob held senior sales positions at Quantib, Icometrix, and other healthcare vendors.