Lessons Learned from our EMR Upgrade

My 3-month “sabbatical” from blogging is hopefully over.  Without getting too long-winded I will just say that the past 3 months has been very busy with lots of different things, both personal and professional, so there was no time to write.  My apologies to John Lynn, who supports my blog site, and to the sponsors.  I intend to return to blogging with a vengeance. The good news is that many of these adventures have given me plenty to write about.

This past spring we upgraded our EMR system.  The upgrade was long overdue; we were still running on the 2005 version of our EMR software.  There was good reason for the delay.  When we got our EMR / PM system in 2004 the EMR and PM functions ran on separate databases.  After 2005 the product changed to put both parts into a single database.  Upgrading required merging the 2 databases.  We chose to put that off until our vendor accumulated some experience doing database mergers.  Plus the 2005 version was doing just fine.

Trouble is we had other overdue issues as well.  We were still running on our original servers purchased in 2004.  They were top-notch servers when we bought them and they had served well but were showing their age.

So our upgrade amounted to a very tall order:

  1. Upgrade from the 2005 software to the 2010 version (2011 upgrade delayed on the advice of our VAR), making a big jump.
  2. Purchase new servers and new memory (SAN)
  3. Switch to virtual servers / VMware
  4. Convert our database from 2-database structure to single database.

It comes as no surprise then that we had lots problems with the upgrade, and that was one of the reasons I was away from blogging.  In my next post I will describe our experience and try to come up with some take home lessons.