The key to successful electronic medical record (EMR) migration lies in successful data conversion. Healthcare facilities will have to first make some important decisions:
- Which medical records and charts should be abstracted or scanned to enter the new EMR
- Which data can be discarded because they are unusable or unnecessary
- Which data needs to be stored separately
Data conversion is a highly client-specific process and no two conversions are alike. Costs would vary depending on the complexity of the project. An established vendor can provide data and document conversion services at affordable rates. Nevertheless, there are many factors that influence data conversion costs and being aware can help save money.
- Field and column names: If all the files and tables have field/column names, they will cost less to convert. Otherwise, field and column names will have to be added, taking up the cost.
- Number of columns: Rather than the number of records, it’s the number of columns that have a greater impact on cost. This is because fields have to be manually added, while adding records is a computerized process. The less fields and columns, the lower the time and expense involved in conversion.
- Data reliability: Converting data that is consistent is easier and less time consuming than converting data which is not. Inconsistent data refers to data that is incorrect, redundant, unformatted, out-of-date or incomplete. So it’s important to ensure that the data is neat and well ordered before conversion.
- Duplication: Conversion processes do not generally remove duplicate data. The presence of duplicate records would take up conversion costs.
Once these checks are performed, the easiest way to accomplish data conversion is to entrust the task to a reliable outsourcing company.