6 Keys to Ensuring Accurate Data Conversions

While migrating to new systems, many medical facilities are inclined to find solutions for converting or archiving patient and financial data that suit their specific needs.  To maintain accuracy in data, projects are developed and Legacy system data is handled through many processes to maintain a comprehensive Legal Medical Record.  These six key areas and related questions will allow more efficiencies when planning data conversions and assist in driving the highest levels of accuracy and accountability throughout the conversion project.

  1. EMPI – Enterprise Master Patient Indexes are the key point of integrated data for patient records. For interoperability, all data should be thoroughly analyzed and match what is in the source and target system.
    • Does your MPI contain unmerged patients and visits, incorrect characters, name typos, or mismatched identifiers? Is there a plan to mitigate issues before population of the new consolidated MPI?
    • What is the primary system that is the “Source of truth” by which all connected systems follow for MRN and visit detail?
    • When will MPI be processed throughout data conversion? Will there be gaps that affect matching converted data to the record?
  2. Expectations – Clearly define what your data conversion is and is not expected to accomplish. It is also important to define roles and responsibilities, communications, timelines, and what happens when a project item deviates from the expected course.
    • Who is responsible for each conversion element (system, loads, QA, issue escalation?) Is there a RACI chart?  Who manages the overall project versus staff involved?
    • Deliverables – What is the expected outcome? Full integration or archived lookup?
    • Is there time built in to make changes during the project that require additional process design?
  3. Specifics – Knowing your systems is the best way to move efficiently through data conversion. Having the resources at hand and available will ease all areas of conversion.
    • System specifics – What are the formats used? Databases? Facilities per database? Storage Space used? Target system details?
    • Project specifics – Does your plan contain enough time and resources? Is there a clear picture of the entire project path?  Does it include non-IT staff availability for testing and validation?
    • Regulatory and workflow specifics – Is the HIM department and provider base actively involved? What workflows are impacted by the changes?  Have you considered processes that are directly affected by changes including release of information and regulatory reporting mechanics?
  4. Integration – While integration can be complex, most questions are regarding format of data transferred between systems and making sure elements line up.
    • Which system is handling data for transfer?
    • Are the formats compatible or made compatible through index files, a data mapping or transform?
    • Are integration resources available to troubleshoot and assist in designing the solution?
  5. Communication – When managing clinical or financial data projects, communication is key.
    • Are all required parties/stakeholders on relevant meetings?
    • Is detail in meetings kept simple to be understood by multi-disciplinary teams?
    • Keep it concise – Additional detail is good, but do not over-complicate as miscommunication leads to errors.
    • Is the issue log being kept and maintained? No one likes to recall a critical component late in the process as it can delay deliverables and derail resources.
  6. Validation and end-user acceptance – When data is loaded, ensure that it is accurate and appears as it should within the new system.
    • What are the sampling percentages used?
    • Have you included specialized cases? Are all types of visit data or document type included in the sample?
    • Are testers trained prior to sessions to validate the data?
    • What are the metrics on acceptable error rate?
    • Do you have enough details documented in testing to create remediation plans for data that fails validation?

At HCTec, we provide collaborative solutions for legacy data conversions of all types for healthcare vendor systems.  We also provide solutions and services for maintaining Legacy vendor systems before, during, and after new product implementation allowing clients to better utilize internal resources time.  Still have questions about your data needs? Feel free to reach out.


Greg J. Heffner, Director of Legacy Support and Data Services
615.684.5556  | gheffner@hctec.com