Many vendor exports do not export out all the data from an EMR system. They normally only match what the government transfer specification says they have to. While this meets the government requirements, what about a physician’s legal requirements? Take for example electronic WCB forms or prenatal information. These are part of the patient record, but are no part of any government standard for data transfer. What happens if a physician moves from EMR ‘A’ to EMR ‘B’ – and then a few years down the road they need to review one of those WCB forms for a patient? This could be a legal request from a lawyer or the court. But the doctor is not able to review that data, because the data was stuck back in the old EMR which is no longer used. What happens if the patient loses that court case because the data was not available? Is that doctor then liable to the patient for not maintaining the medical record as the custodian?
There are a few ways to deal with this issue. One way is to get a full backup of your original EMR database as well as the export provided by the vendor when you are looking to move to a new EMR. The problem with this is that the custodian is responsible to make sure any records in their possession are destroyed in a timely manner – and each patient’s retention period expires at a different time. So, it becomes almost impossible to delete the records in the database without the current EMR. However, it can make a great safety backup for a few months while you iron out any issues associated with the conversion.