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A Deep Dive into the Data Migration Process

February 3, 2022

All your questions about the migration of patient and practice data answered

This article answers the most frequently asked questions about data migration when changing practice management software, the security of healthcare data during the migration. 

So what actually is data migration?

‘Data migration’ refers to the process of transferring data from one practice management software to another. A full migration of all practice and medical data is essential to ensure continuity of practice operations for users and enable them to have access to all accumulated data in the new software. 

In order to do this, the data from the previous software is mapped out into the appropriate fields within the new software. This exercise is applied across all areas of the software that are possible to be migrated, including contacts, appointments, consultations, invoices, lab data, and patient documents. 


Is my data safe during migration?

In healthcare, data is invaluable. It is essential for the day-to-day running of a healthcare practice, and it also documents a patient’s entire medical history, making it extremely important and sensitive. Concerns around the safety of practice data are understandable, so be assured that data migration is completely safe and secure. 

Most software use secure channels, such as sFTPs, in order to ensure the safety of data during transfer. An sFTP is a secure version of an FTP (File Transfer Protocol). The sFTP creates a secure bridge between the data holder’s computer and the software’s system. Using this channel will help to protect the data while in transit.

The migration team will then transfer the data from the secure file and thoroughly check that all data is transferred correctly. Following a transfer, all data will also be double-checked at both ends by the practice and the software team to ensure that nothing is missing. 

It’s worth noting that cloud-based software offers a higher level of overall security because data stored in the cloud is not only protected with encryption and passwords but also much harder to lose or destroy. There is always a backup available which is accessible from any device, anywhere, unlike with paper copies.


What does the practice have to do ahead of migration?

Prior to the migration, you will need to obtain your data from your current software provider and send it to the new provider. Simply phone or email the provider company, explaining that you are leaving and request all your data to be sent to you. Some companies may charge a leaving fee or implement a notice period.


How long will the data migration take?

The length of the migration process can depend on a few different factors, such as the volume of data and the software the practice is migrating from. If your current software provider implements a notice period for leaving their company this can also delay the process. 

The team in charge of your migration will advise you exactly how long the process will take. The efficiency of the process is also reliant on the practice sending their data to their software provider at the specified time. Rest assured, your new software provider will work with you to find the best time to migrate for your practice and workflow.


What do I do during the migration process?

While the migration is taking place, there will be a period of time in which you will need to operate on the new software before all data is uploaded. The best way to conduct your normal working schedule during this time is to manually upload each patient’s data as you need it. These files can then easily be merged after full migration is complete. 

Working around the migration in this way will prevent any further delays following the onboarding process and ensure that your practice can hit the ground running from the start.


What will the data look like in the new software?

Modern practice management software is designed to be easy to navigate for everyone, from the tech-wizards to the most technically challenged amongst us. While it may take a small adjustment time to get used to new layouts and the different structures of the software, within a few weeks you will be surprised how smooth the migration was!

Be aware that when transferring data to a new software some files may move places, depending on the software's layout and features. However, most software, such as Semble, also have an extensive resource centre and reliable customer service where you can find guides for how to operate the software or contact an expert.


Can I transfer our current internal templates and forms?

Data migration includes the transfer of all basic information. Other features, such as templates and calendars, will require more attention. In the majority of cases, these features can be manually transferred into the corresponding section of the new software. 

To help manage workflow, a seamless transition to new software is crucial for patients and practice alike. Softwares such as Semble work closely with you to ensure that you are comfortable navigating your new software and its unique features. 


Don’t be afraid of data

Although data can be daunting, the migration process is a safe and secure process. At Semble, we aim to provide a seamless transition of practice data from your old software, leaving nothing behind and ensuring a smooth onboarding process once migrated. 

To find out more about the data migration process, visit our Data Migration webpage.