March 21, 2024

How To Migrate EMR Data and Successfully Transition Into New EMR Software

How To Migrate EMR Data and Successfully Transition Into New EMR Software

Working in the mental health field is complex enough. With an unreliable EMR platform, work can take double the time, only making your job more difficult.

Retrieving client data is unreliable and time-consuming. Working with insurance companies is a headache without the proper documentation. Workflows are constantly disrupted and unorganized.

Simple software that’s personalizable, comprehensive, and allows for record exporting can be the easy solution you need.

Learn how facilities of all kinds can benefit from new software and how to migrate EMR data thoroughly and successfully.

Table of Contents

What Pain Points Do Facilities Experience That May Prompt an EMR/EHR Migration?

Healthcare providers often dislike electronic medical records (EMRs) because they feel like more of a burden than a tool.

If your behavioral health facility is experiencing this burden, an EMR/EHR migration can help. 

Most often facilities look to migrate their electronic medical records because:

  1. They’re unable to do sufficient reporting with their current system. Without the ability to properly track outcomes, manage programs, keep an open line of communication with clients and family members, create treatment plans, generate billing reports, and ensure compliance in one location, it’s difficult to report effectively.
  2. Their current EMR platform is inefficient. Having to input duplicative data from various places means it’s taking too much time to do your job. Outdated software is not intuitive to use and is a burden to train new staff to use.
  3. Their current system is unreliable. Sometimes systems are overpromised or falsified to be attractive to clinicians. A system that doesn’t work as expected isn’t helpful to facilities.
  4. There is a need for accommodating multiple workflows.  The EMR doesn’t accommodate the workflows that are important to the facility. Too often, a facility uses multiple systems to accomplish one comprehensive task.

Switching to an EMR system that integrates everything you need is key for supporting healthcare facilities and their workflows.

Ritten is a trusted and reliable EMR software designed with behavioral healthcare facilities in mind, made to efficiently capture the complexity associated with highly variable program and service types while minimizing the burden of record-keeping.

Preparing for an EMR Software Migration

Preparing for an EMR software migration is a big undertaking. Most facilities have experienced the pain of an implementation gone wrong and are hesitant to move to a new EMR as a result. 

Some facilities may develop an EMR implementation team to evaluate and select new software. This team works closely with the existing EMR software vendor to extract existing client records, configurations, and documentation, and with the new software vendor to complete the migration.

That’s why it’s important to choose an EMR vendor that you trust to help you successfully navigate the transition.

Why Choosing the Right EMR Vendor is Essential for a Successful Migration 

Migrating to a new EMR sounds overwhelming – we know. We also know that to guarantee a smooth and successful transition, it’s important to have the right team on board. 

At Ritten, we’re committed to doing the heavy lifting for you and ensuring that you get the initial and ongoing support you need to be successful. Our experienced and dedicated team will guide your facility through a systemized onboarding plan that will make the transition to a new EMR simple & seamless. 

You won’t have to go through the headache of assembling or training a team to use our software. Instead, we’re with you at every step of the process – from migration to training, and beyond. 

In the rest of this guide, we walk through what a successful EMR migration looks like, a process that Ritten guides facilities through from start to finish. 

Successful EMR Migration Implementation Can Be Broken Down Into Three Main ‘Lines of Effort’

In a successful and seamless EMR migration, you should generally expect your vendor to work along three ‘lines of effort’:

  1. System configuration
  2. Data migration
  3. Training and Adoption

First Line of Effort: System Configuration

To ensure a successful EMR migration to new software, you want to be sure the new system is working exactly like your facility needs it to.

This includes, but is not limited to, making sure that:

  • Documents within the system ask all of the necessary questions to stay compliant with any regulatory or accreditation requirements and meet your payer’s needs
  • Workflows are properly configured for the facility and necessary faculty members have appropriate permissions; and
  • Necessary reports to run your facility can easily be extracted

Best Practices for the System Configuration Component of Your EMR Migration

Assigning the wrong people to organize and execute an EMR migration and implementation is not ideal.

Nor is gathering arbitrary documents that won’t do you any good if they don’t accomplish what your stakeholders need.

Choose a new EMR software that supports the workflow you need to address now, and supports your long-term organizational goals

Selecting the correct stakeholders to lead and support the migration effort is also critical to success. 

Work Closely With All Crucial Stakeholders

Address documentation with crucial stakeholders to be sure they’re comfortable with the way it’s integrated into the system. 

  1. The facility needs to be sure its clinical requirements are being met and that its clinical director and executive team is getting the data needed to deliver care.
  2. The necessary state regulatory body needs to clarify that documentation requirements are being met for their specific state and various levels of care.
  3. Are questions required by the Joint Commission, or applicable  accreditation body, being asked?
  4. Billing entities should verify that the notes and documents included will cover the complex requirements demanded to reimburse claims.

Ensure That Your New EMR Vendor Has an Experienced Migration Team

Your new EMR vendor should have an experienced EHR migration team that: 

  • Includes a project manager to oversee the data transition and ensure things are progressing as they should. The facility will not need to provide a project manager. 
  • Knows which stakeholders to involve from each function within the organization, including billing, compliance, reporting, and more, to ensure a smooth migration process.
  • Handles the training for the new EMR so that that task doesn’t fall on the facility.
  • Handles troubleshooting and any software issues that may arise with the EMR system. 
  • Enables long-term adoption by engaging with facility stakeholders via ongoing support and feature development

Your new EMR vendor should also work with and support your facility with:

  • Cleaning and preparing data to ensure only the “good” data is being transferred
  • Identifying what charts and clients should be transferred 
  • Providing feedback and requested data to continue to build and configure the new application to the facility's expectations

Confirm That Your Chosen Vendor Supports Relevant and Time Saving Workflow

A one-size-fits-all software won’t work for every medical facility, which is why Ritten has developed workflows tailored specifically to the known complexity of your facility, while still providing the flexibility to accommodate a wide range of use cases. 

Ritten allows you to customize your environment for a more effective operation. This might include custom patient portal questionnaires, psychometrics, or special intake templates depending on your facility. 

Second Line of Effort: Data Migration

When migrating two different software platforms — the old vendor and the new vendor — you want to ensure critical data is coming over from your old vendor to your new one. 

You want to have a vendor that will work diligently to ensure this part of the process happens without any snags. 

Best Practices for the Data Migration Component of Your EMR Migration

Before starting the data migration process, develop a game plan with your vendor’s team. 

Consider things like:

  • Do you need every piece of data to transfer from your old system to your new one?
  • Is everyone on the same page before you begin the process?
  • Do we have a safe overlap period between the start of the new EMR contract and the end of the old contract to prevent data loss issues?

Develop a Project Scope and Clean Up Current Records

You don’t need to bring every piece of information from your old system over to your new one. Start fresh. This means combing through current clients’ EMRs and deciding exactly what data needs to be transferred.

Maybe it’s…

  • Client demographic information to support billing reports
  • Treatment plan library
  • Case files; 

… or it could be all of the data from the last 10 years.

Some facilities may opt for a phased approach where current census data is migrated immediately, and legacy data is added later, in order to increase timeline flexibility. 

You should work with an EMR vendor who will have this dialogue with you and help you understand what you need, when you need it, and the appropriate timeline to meet those requirements.

For best practices, be sure all stakeholders understand what data is being migrated after selecting the essential data.

Test and Review Before Completing a Full Migration

The EMR vendor’s team should be responsible for informing the key stakeholders about data migration needs, any gaps or considerations with the data shared, and what to expect in terms of a timeline. .

During the review process, ensure:

  • The data being migrated is all correct
  • The information is all in the correct place
  • Client names, information, and service dates are correct
  • There are no document management issues

This collaborative migration process is part of the ongoing support relationship that should develop between an ideal EMR vendor and a facility migrating to a new EMR.

Communicate With Your Vendor’s Migration Team Frequently

Keep an open line of communication with your EHR implementation team to ensure migration is on track and any issues are quickly resolved.

EHR migration can be a tiring task. Support your EHR migration team with the resources and facilities they need — 

Third Line of Effort: Training and Adoption

Most, if not all, hiccups should be worked out during the review process, but ensuring your faculty and staff are properly trained on the new EMR system will help minimize any unnecessary issues from day one.

This training should also lay down the groundwork for an ongoing dialogue between the customer support team at the EMR and the staff. Staff should feel comfortable that the EMR is supporting them, and that they can build confidence in adopting the EMR.

Best Practices for the Training Component of Your EMR Migration

Using a new EMR system won’t do your facility any good if your staff doesn’t know how to properly use it. Without the right training, there will likely be more frustration, more issues arising, and more disruptions for both staff members and clients.

A good EMR vendor should:

  1. Adequately train your staff on the new EMR platform so that your facility is set up to successfully use and engage with the new system.
  2. Continue to provide ongoing support activities and learning opportunities for facilities that are interested in getting more out of the software to achieve organizational goals.

The facility should also identify one or more stakeholders (perhaps across departments) who are responsible for collaborating with the customer success team at the EMR to continue to push adoption after the initial training. 

Allow Sufficient Time for Familiarization of Software

Key facility stakeholders should familiarize themselves with the software while they work with the EMR vendor. A good training schedule allows facility staff to dig into training exercises on mock records right before launch. 

No amount of training replaces real-time experience, which is why once you launch, it's critical to work with an EMR that understands your staff needs, connects with your staff during training, and has the technology, support capabilities, and general problem-solving know-how to address any challenges your staff faces during the week or two of launch.

Minimize Disruption for Staff and Clients

Proper and sufficient training is a key part of the data migration process. It ensures there is minimal disruption for both staff and clients.

  1. Staff can continue to work through their day as thoroughly as possible feeling confident using the new EMR software. They know where things are located within the system, how to navigate it smoothly, and can confidently enter new data and pull up old data when necessary.
  2. Clients aren’t wasting their time waiting for staff members to troubleshoot issues with the new EMR software. They continue to receive proper and timely care and are confident the facility has the information they need to do their job correctly.
  3. Staff can also receive help from the EMR support team via on-call support services and other training resources like walkthroughs and videos. 

Ongoing Adoption Efforts: A Key Success Factor

Having practices in place to facilitate ongoing adoption efforts is key to a smooth migration. These efforts include:

  • Having a stakeholder at the facility to work with Customer Success
  • Setting long-term goals that can be achieved with the EMR (reporting, compliance business scaling, and more)
  • Working with an EMR vendor who will maintain an ongoing relationship with your staff to ensure your team is adopting the software and on a path to long-term success.

Ritten: Behavioral Health EMR Software That Thoroughly Supports Full Data Migration

At Ritten, we understand that the future of behavioral health is data (and technology) driven. Medical facilities take routine notes and assessments every day, but if they’re using an unreliable system:

  • Data can be lost
  • Data can be difficult to retrieve; and
  • Staff members’ work is inefficient

Ritten is software designed to power a workflow and drive better patient outcomes. It is both customizable and easily integrated with other software.

Users of Ritten believe the software hits all of the necessary marks an EMR system should. They also agree it’s intuitive, comprehensive, and responsive. 

Are you in need of new EMR software that supports data migration? Book a demo with Ritten today.

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