When you start using PCC at your practice, will your patient and account records already appear in PCC, or will you be entering everything from scratch?
For most practices, PCC performs a data conversion from your previous vendor or practice. You will need to request an export from your previous vendor and then we import the data into PCC.
Many different factors determine what data can and can’t be converted. The success of the data conversion relies on PCC’s efforts, your communication with your previous vendor or practice, and the cooperation of that vendor. If we can work together to convert your previous data, your first few months with PCC will be much easier for you, your patients, and your staff.
This document will explain the data conversion process and help set expectations. By reading it, you will learn:
- The step-by-step data conversion timeline
- What data we can usually convert, and what data we cannot convert
- What PCC does and what your practice needs to do to ensure a successful data conversion
As always, please feel free to call or email us to discuss any of the details in this document.
The Data Conversion Process: Who Does What, and When?
Even before you sign a contract with PCC, your practice will need to communicate with your previous vendor about a data export. This process can take time so you want to start the discussion and request the export as soon as possible.
Below is a timeline of a successful data conversion. For each step, you can see what happens, what PCC does, and what your practice needs to do.
Practice Export: If your patients’ data is housed on a software system belonging to another practice, we require an export for demographic and clinical data. Your practice is responsible for communicating with the other practice to obtain the data export.
Two Types of Data: A data conversion involves two types of data: core data and clinical data. Core data includes your patient and account demographic, appointment, and charge data. Clinical data includes labs, visit history, visit notes, and similar data. While PCC can retrieve core data from your system, clinical data requires an export from your previous vendor.
Stage 1: Early Evaluation of Your Existing System
We cannot guarantee the success of any data conversion, as there are many unforeseen technical obstacles or difficulties getting cooperation from other vendors. Often, the data exported from different practices using the same system can actually differ in subtle or significant ways. However, PCC has experience converting data from dozens of systems of various complexity, from homegrown systems to advanced EHRs.
What Your Practice Does: First, take stock of all the data you have in different software systems. Do you have an existing EHR, a billing system, a contacts database, a prescriptions system? Where is your data? Next, you should ask your previous vendor what type of export is available.
What PCC Does: We provide you with information on how your data will be converted.
Stage 2: PCC Researches Your Data
As soon as you sign with PCC, we begin asking questions and researching reports we can generate to get your core data. If we have previously converted data from your vendor, then we may have existing conversion processes which we can start adapting for your conversion.
What Your Practice Does: First, you will provide PCC with an explanation of where your patient and account records are currently stored. Second, you will provide PCC with remote access to your existing computer system and login credentials. (Note that as part of your contract with us, PCC maintains a HIPAA agreement ensuring the privacy of your patient data.)
What PCC Does: Our data conversion specialists log into your existing system and evaluate the reports available to convert core data, which is your patient and account demographic, appointment, and charge data.
If we’ve worked with your previous vendor before, we may be aware of the reports available for accessing your core data. Our conversion will depend on the availability and format of available reports.
As we do this research, we will send your practice questions and sample data to review.
Stage 3: Review Findings
For most practices, PCC can get your core data. You must request a clinical data export from your previous software vendor.
What PCC Does: PCC informs you of the reports available on your system for the core data conversion.
What Your Practice Does: Your practice communicates with your previous vendor for help exporting the clinical data.
PCC can provide a written description of the data we typically convert to help you facilitate communication with your previous vendor about the data export.
Other Important Notes
Prepare for Unexpected Costs: Your previous vendor may help your practice run reports or access the system under your existing support agreement. The vendor may charge a fee, which is why we attempt to log in and generate reports to gather the core data, if possible. Depending on the vendor and the size of your practice, the fee might be sizable.
Your Practice Is in Charge of Communication About Your Data Export: It is important to remember that your practice must be the manager of communication with your previous vendor. All communication occurs in the context of your practice’s existing support contract with the vendor, as you are their paying customer. PCC does not have the authority to deal directly with your previous vendor.
Stage 4: Data Conversion Design, and Initial Verification
For most practices, PCC performs an initial conversion of the core data. Your practice will log into PCC, review the data and report any problems.
What PCC Does: PCC runs an initial data conversion of the core data. PCC helps you log in and review your converted data.
What Your Practice Does: Your practice logs into PCC, reviews the data conversion, and reports any problems. Did the core data come over correctly? Are patient insurance policies appearing? Do you also want to retain additional data, like the previous systems account numbers?
PCC will work with you to adjust and perfect the data conversion process for your practice.
Stage 5: The Final Data Conversion, Verification, and Sign Off
A day or two before your go live day, PCC runs the final core data conversion from your previous vendor to PCC.
What PCC Does: PCC does a final data export from your previous system for the core data. We use the data conversion process we developed in the previous steps to load your practice’s PCC installation with your patient and family records.
What Your Practice Does: Your practice reviews the data conversion one last time. Is the core data ready for your go live?
Authorize That Data Conversion Was Complete: For some practices when there needs to be communication between many different physicians or different office locations, PCC may ask a physician or office manager to sign a statement that the data was reviewed, and the conversion was acceptable. We do this so that all parties involved understand that the conversion was completed and reviewed, and so everyone knows that the data expected in PCC is present.
Stage 6: Clinical Data Conversion From Vendor Export
The clinical data conversion is the export from your previous vendor, which includes labs, visit history, visit notes, and similar patient and medical data. Your previous vendor should pull the clinical data export once you have seen your last patient in your previous system. Therefore, the clinical data conversion into PCC will occur after your go live. Once PCC receives the clinical export from your previous vendor, we work to import that data into PCC. Together we will repeat stages 4 and 5 to ensure the clinical data is converted correctly.
Until PCC has converted the clinical data, you will need to access your previous system for clinical information. This process may take a few weeks from when your previous vendor provides the export.
What Your Practice Does: Your practice follows the process in Stages 4 and 5 to verify the clinical data conversion.
What PCC Does: PCC imports your practice’s clinical data into PCC.
What Does My Practice Need to Do to Ensure a Good Data Conversion?
The procedure above walks through each step of the data conversion process. But what are the most important points you need to know? What are the issues that practices sometimes overlook or underestimate about saying goodbye to your previous system?
Keep Your Previous System Up and Running: You will need your existing software system for verification of data conversions, for understanding any discrepancies, and for working down your practice’s existing accounts receivable. We recommend that every practice keep their previous system tools available until several months after your final clinical conversion.
Who Knows the Previous System Best?: Who at your practice will be the go-to for information about your previous system? As PCC designs your data conversion, we will contact your practice to ask questions about logging in and other details about your previous system.
Prepare For Data Verification: Your practice will need to schedule time for verifying data conversions. We may do a series of data conversions and verifications, and your practice plays a crucial role in making sure all data is brought over correctly. We can’t do it without you!
You Are the Communication Hub w/ Your Previous Vendor: All responsibilities for communicating with your previous vendor rests with you.
Inform Your Previous Vendor of Your Departure: As long as your practice has a paid contract with your previous vendor, they are obligated to provide you with service. For this reason, we always recommend being up-front and direct with your previous vendor.
Data Export From Your Previous Vendor: Your clinical data conversion, and in some cases your entire data conversion, will require an export from your previous vendor. PCC can provide a list of the data we typically convert to help facilitate your communication with your previous vendor. Do not specify “all data” as vendors may skip important details, creating delays.
Data Conversion Results: What Data Will We Get?
PCC knows that your practice’s transition will be much smoother if your new PCC system has as much useful data from your previous system as possible. Here’s a list of what we can usually convert, and what we don’t. The data in your practice’s conversion will be dependent on the reports available for the core data and the export received from your previous vendor.
Data We Almost Always Convert
Your PCC data conversion will potentially include the following:
- Demographics: patients, families, family relationships, addresses, and other demographic data
- Insurance policies and your insurance plan list
- Charge History, including diagnoses, CPTs, and procedure pricing
- Appointments, including past and future scheduled appointments
Data We Are Usually Able to Convert
Your PCC data conversion will probably also include the following, though the level of detail varies depending on the export received from your previous vendor.
- Patient and Family Notes, Flags, Etc.
- Patient Problem Lists, Allergies, Family History, Medical, and Social History
- Immunization Records
- Visit Chart Notes
- Vitals and Diagnoses from Each Visit
- Phone Notes
- Scanned Documents
- Lab/Order History (as text)
- Medication History (as text)
Data We Do Not Convert
PCC does not convert the following information.
Account Balances: Outstanding balances are stored in a way that is too specific to your previous software vendor. We cannot convert your accounts receivable, as the payment and adjustment history between the two systems would not match up. Keep your previous system operational until you have finished outstanding claims and personal balances.
Open Tasks: Typically we can convert order history, but only as text for reference. Open tasks will not appear in PCC. We recommend generating a report from your previous system to keep track of those tasks and when they are completed.
Audit Logs: Your previous system may track an audit log of which users viewed and edited data. User accounts cannot be brought over from your previous system, so the audit log cannot be converted. If your practice wishes to preserve your audit logs, your may wish keep a backup of your previous system or maintain a relationship with your previous vendor.