Data Abstraction & Conversion Best Practices for New Epic System Go Live (Part II)

In the first post of this two-part series, we discussed legacy system cleanup, new system data entry and pre-load best practices as your healthcare organization prepares for its new Epic EHR system. Let’s discuss three additional tips for data abstraction and conversion work for your strategic EHR transition.

  1. Staffing aid
    As discussed in the last post, it can take some time to load your scheduled patients into Epic prior to go live. The process of reviewing the patient in the legacy system and entering/reviewing the data in Epic is tedious work. However, it is a great learning opportunity for clinical staff, who should start practicing the process as soon as possible. Many organizations need to supplement staff to accommodate the number of scheduled patients for the first 2-3 weeks after go live. Some organizations utilize residents or retired staff for this work. Many others use HIT consulting firms to cost-effectively supplement the labor. If your organization uses a third-party firm, make sure their resources have direct experience with this critical assignment. Not only will the resources need to know Epic, but they will also need to know the legacy systems, depending on how many different source systems the patient data will be coming from.
  2. CCD load
    If possible, utilize a Continuity of Care Document (CCD) load from the legacy system. A CCD is an electronic document exchange standard for sharing patient summary information. This format of data can be extracted from the legacy system and loaded via HL7 into Epic once the demographic data is loaded into Epic for each patient. Users will see the data and have the chance to reconcile this data and add it to the Epic patient chart. This significantly reduces data entry time into Epic. Each scheduled patient will still need to be reviewed and verified against the legacy system for accuracy.
  3. Data audit
    With the patient data transition complete, it is critical to audit data that has been entered into Epic. A common best practice is to have providers select 10% to double check for data accuracy. The data audit is a learning opportunity for clinical staff to learn the system prior to go live and that critical first patient visit.

With the big day for Epic go live approaching, you can now rest assured that those first scheduled patients have matched critical data ready and waiting for new system use. With these best practices in place, end users will feel more comfortable and prepared for their clinical care visits. Within a few weeks, as staff have developed muscle memory of the new Epic system, they can reap the benefits of a unified IT landscape across the continuum of care.