By Ken Congdon
EHR rip-and-replace activity is currently running rampant. UPMC Hamot’s recent transition to the health system’s Cerner EHR platform provides an inside look at UPMC’s winning EHR conversion formula.
Black Book Rankings dubbed 2013 “The Year of the Great EHR Vendor Switch” when its annual EHR user survey revealed that 17 percent of physicians practices planned to ditch their existing EHRs for new ones. However, if the first half of the year is any indication, 2014 promises to be rife with even more EHR replacement activity. This trend is being driven by not only customer dissatisfaction, but also the widespread merger and acquisition activity occurring among healthcare providers.
It’s no secret that when a health system acquires new hospitals or physicians practices, the parent company often requires its new affiliates to adopt the enterprise EHR platform in use throughout the system — regardless of the other EHR solutions that may already be in place at these facilities. Standardization on a common platform offers several benefits, including facilitated data exchange among providers and universal familiarity with a single software interface. However, a mandatory transition to a new EHR platform can cause pain for acquired providers and the health system at large if not handled properly. For example, a mismanaged conversion can result in corrupt or lost health data, create dissent among clinicians, and severely impede provider productivity.
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