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When Is It Time to Switch EHR Providers?

By: Nextech | March 29th, 2024

When Is It Time to Switch EHR Providers? Blog Feature

The technology behind electronic health records has come a long way since the systems became mainstream back in 2009.

As your practice grows and changes, you might find your EHR struggling to keep up. Or maybe you’ve been dealing with an EHR that never really met your needs.

If you settled years ago for a “good enough” EHR, it’s time to take a fresh look at migrating to a system that will grow with you as your practice evolves.

Reasons to Consider an EHR Migration

There are a number of reasons your medical specialty practice might consider switching to a new EHR: you might be unhappy with your current EHR provider, the software may be outdated, or it may not fit your changing business needs. 

At the end of the day, it comes down to escaping the frustration of living with a system that just doesn’t fit your needs.

  1. A legacy EHR doesn’t meet the needs of a modern specialty practice.

Medical technology advances quickly, and not every EHR provider has kept up.

Every software company dealing with the storage and transmission of data needs to understand and mitigate the risks of cyberattack. Health information is an especially tempting target to cyber criminals. If your EHR lacks multiple, redundant layers of safeguards, it’s time to migrate to a more secure system.

Patients expect your practice to keep their data safe — but their demands on your EHR don’t stop there.

They also expect the convenience of features like rapid, one-click payment processing, online appointment scheduling, and a personalized patient portal. A practice that can’t offer these features risks coming across as low-tech or unsophisticated — not a good look for a medical specialist.

Finally, it’s important to use a certified EHR that complies with government mandates for interoperability. Starting in 2024, practices can be penalized up to 9% on Medicare Part B reimbursements if they haven’t migrated their data to a certified EHR provider.

  1. Your current EHR hasn’t lived up to expectations.

It’s frustrating to go through the process of EHR migration only to realize the system you chose isn’t quite what you expected.

  • The system that worked so smoothly in the demo might be clunky or slow in actual use.
  • Some vendors paywall functions or capabilities, preventing you from getting the full benefit of your system without paying an upcharge.
  • Limited customization options force processes to adapt to the software, instead of software adapting to meet workflows.
  • The system might require frequent, intrusive updates that derail your workday. Or worse, it might never update, forcing you to work around longstanding bugs and glitches.
  • Some legacy EHRs can’t integrate with other tools like billing or reporting software, especially as those tools update. This can leave a practice locked into an entire suite of outdated software.

If your EHR just isn’t working as well as you feel it should be, it’s time to start searching for a new provider.

  1. The customer experience stinks.

Your EHR might have loads of great features — but if the system is prone to frequent outages, what good are they? Poor system reliability is one of the top complaints of specialty practices looking to switch EHR providers.

Poor customer service is another. Reporting an issue with some software requires superhuman patience as you make your way through complex automated systems. And when you finally reach a human, they’re an overseas ticket taker who can’t do much more than assign you a number and promise they’ll send your problem up the chain.

Nextech’s award-winning customer support team is entirely U.S.-based, available 24/7, and includes actual product experts who can resolve issues immediately.

  1. You’ve outgrown your EHR.

At the time you chose your small-practice EHR, it was just right for your single-provider specialty practice.

But since then, your practice has grown — and the EHR just hasn’t kept up.

A scalable solution allows an EHR to flex with the practice as you add new providers or services.

  1. Market changes are forcing you to switch EHR providers.

Maybe your system’s days are numbered.

Buyouts and consolidations in the EHR vendor market could lead providers to discontinue or stop supporting legacy products. New leadership at a company might also lead to product changes that impact your practice in a negative way.



Switching to a more efficient EHR helped Loden Vision Centers double the number of patients they see per day.




A Step-By-Step Guide to EHR Migration

Migrating your EHR to a new provider involves:

  • Budgeting
  • Forming a selection committee
  • Choosing a vendor
  • Deciding which data to migrate
  • Standardizing workflows
  • Training staff
  • Implementing, testing, and launching the new system
  • Follow-up

Budgeting for an EHR Migration

When switching EHR providers, budget with your eyes wide open. The cost of the software is just one consideration.

EHR migration costs could include:

  • Software license
  • Implementation fees
  • Data formatting and transfer (from your current provider)
  • Data migration and cleansing (from your new provider)
  • Training fees
  • Lost revenue if the implementation requires the practice to shut down
  • Archival record maintenance (paid to your old provider to keep data archives)

Though EHR migration can be costly, practices that upgrade to a better-fit system can see a quick return on the investment through increased efficiency and cost reductions.

Forming Your Selection Committee

Get the right stakeholders involved before choosing a new EHR provider. This is not just a technical exercise. An EHR affects every department in the practice, and it’s important clinical and administrative voices are heard.

Choose people who are trusted by their peers. You want open-minded representatives who will listen to their colleagues and represent their interests.

The attitude the committee has toward the switch will influence the rest of the staff’s willingness to change. Look for people who understand the shortcomings of the current system and can persuade their colleagues that a new EHR is a good idea.

Choosing a New EHR Vendor

When choosing your new EHR provider, look for a scalable, cloud-based solution that will grow with you, so you don’t have to go through this process again in just a few years.

Choose a vendor with highly rated training and customer support. This increases the odds you’ll get the most out of your system and have a good customer experience.

Finally, make sure the new vendor is able to access and migrate data from the legacy system. Some data formats are easier to transfer than others.

Deciding What to Migrate

Depending on how your old and new systems are structured, how long you’ve been storing data in your old system, and the laws in your area, you may not have to move everything over to your new EHR.

Archiving obsolete data instead of moving it can start your new system out clean and can save you in migration and data storage costs.

Learn about your new vendor’s migration process, and inquire if there are ways you can make it easier or less costly.

Standardizing Workflows

Every business ends up with its workaround processes. Your new EHR is a chance to wipe the slate clean and design a system that works with your staff members, not against them.

Before migrating your EHR, evaluate the processes in your practice. Standardize as many as you can, so the EHR can integrate seamlessly into the workflow.

Training Staff

Resistance to change from the people in your practice may be the most challenging obstacle to EHR migration.

Get past this roadblock by making sure everyone has representation on the selection committee, and by having selection committee members talk up the new system and build excitement around it.

The quality of training is the most important factor in long-term EHR satisfaction, so choose a system that’s easy to learn and has a robust training program. It takes less than a week of training to get most people confidently using Nextech’s EHR.

Implementing, Testing, and Launching the New System

Expect to have both your old and new EHRs running side by side for a brief period while the new system is being implemented.

You’ll want to be sure everything is tested and running smoothly before the old system shuts off.

Scheduling Follow-Up

Once your new system launches, for a few weeks, your staff will be absorbed in getting comfortable with their most important tasks. They may forget some other things they learned in training that are less vital, but can make their jobs easier.

When your new EHR launches, schedule a follow-up with the provider. This refresher training, held a few weeks to a few months after launch, will help staff build on their new skills. It’s also a chance to troubleshoot any questions or issues that have come up since the launch.


See why Schlessinger MD Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery “could not believe” how quickly and effectively they could implement a Nextech EHR.



Challenges of an EHR Migration

Financial Considerations

An EHR is an investment in your practice. While you don’t want to spend lavishly, you don’t want to skimp, either.

First, you’ll need to budget for enough software licenses to cover everyone in your practice. Then, there’s the cost of building out the system and populating it with your data.

Staff need to be trained in the new software. Plan for ongoing training costs, as well, to keep skills sharp and to update skills as the software evolves.

One thing many practices forget to factor is the cost of business disruption. If your practice needs to close during implementation and data migration, make sure the cost of lost business is factored in to your calculations.

Nextech can usually accomplish a new system implementation in about 48 hours of downtime, which can be scheduled during times the practice is normally closed.

Another financial consideration when choosing a new EHR is the opportunity for cost savings. By choosing an all-in-one platform, you can eliminate the need for multiple, separate systems.

For example, instead of buying licenses for marketing software, photo management software, and billing software, you can choose an EHR platform that incorporates all those functions.

Patient Safety and Privacy

Don’t switch to a new EHR provider unless you’re confident in the strength of their data privacy and security protocols. Your patients’ data is the most precious asset you have.

Data transfer is typically the most vulnerable time for data security. When planning an EHR migration, ensure both the old and new vendors have robust systems and protocols to keep data secure and private as it moves from one system to the other.

Implementation Challenges

Implementing a new EHR can come with additional data challenges. If the old vendor and new vendor store data in different formats, files will have to be converted before being transferred.

You should also consider whether you want to keep access to an archive of your previous EHR. In the event of audits or litigation, you may need to provide data in its original format to prove what was known at the time in question.

Is It Time to Switch EHR Providers?

Switching EHR providers is a big decision, and not one most practices make lightly. You’ll know it’s time when the short-term challenges of switching are outweighed by the day-in, day-out costs of an inefficient, ineffective EHR.

If you’re ready to switch – or if you’re just interested in seeing what’s out there – schedule a demo of the electronic health records solution named the 2024 Best in KLAS: Ambulatory Specialty EHR.

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