What Data To Migrate When You Move To a New PMS

January 16, 2024 | 4 min read

Migrating to cloud-based dental practice management software is par for the course when DSOs embark on digital transformation journeys to increase operational efficiency, improve patient experience, and enhance data security and compliance. 

However, dental software migration is a daunting project. One of the most challenging questions is: What data should you migrate to the new platform, and what’s okay (and even beneficial) to leave behind?

The immediate and often emotional response often is, “Take it all. We don’t want to lose anything!” But here’s what we’ve learned after performing dental software migration for numerous clients for over a decade:

“The reality is we don’t want to transition it all. Junk data is junk data — no matter what system we bring it from. When your goal is to scale rapidly, it’s much better to let bygones be bygones from the beginning and start fresh in a new system.” ~ What to Expect When Switching Practice Management Systems and How to Master Your Data Migration Journey White Paper. 

Let’s explore what data you should transfer to your new system and what to leave behind.

What Dental Data You Should Migrate When Moving to Cloud Dental Software

Dental data migration is a complex undertaking that requires substantial time and labor. Migrating everything but the kitchen sink from your current system is often not the best use of your resources. Moreover, low quality (e.g., inaccurate or duplicate) and outdated information could lead to errors and confusion.

Rule #1: Don’t expect to move everything over when migrating to a new dental practice management platform.

Instead, set a solid foundation with a thorough assessment of existing data to understand its structure, quality, and volume. Then, figure out what you’ll migrate and their dependencies. After mapping your data and taking inventory, you should decide what data to transfer and what to sunset. Here’s a checklist of the data most DSOs should migrate and leave behind:

Dental and Patient Data To Migrate

Here are the items to migrate and how to ensure a smooth transition:

  • Appointments: Transfer all scheduling information, including date, time, and notes. Verify recurring appointments are accurate and patient reminders are configured properly in the new system.
  • Treatments: Migrate all treatment plans and their details, including procedure codes, descriptions, and costs. Confirm historical treatment data is transferred accurately for reference and reporting.
  • Periodontal charts: Verify all data, including pocket depths, bleeding points, etc., are accurate and complete in the new software. 
  • Progress notes: Ensure your new dental practice management platform can accommodate note formats and templates from your current system. Otherwise, address customization or formatting requirements before the migration.
  • Medical history and patient Rx data: Transfer patient information on medical allergies, medications, alerts, and pre-meds. Include all specific instructions and details when migrating patient prescription history.
  • X-rays: Ensure secure and accurate transfer of X-ray images and confirm the new system allows you to retrieve the data accurately.
  • Patient family and responsible party information: Migrate patient contact details and relationships and ensure your team can access and manage the information. 
  • Insurance: Transfer insurance details, including providers, plans, employers, and fee schedules. Ensure the new system applies the data accurately in the claim submission workflows.
  • Charges and payments: Migrate charges and payments data as a unified “note blob.” Confirm the new system accurately reflects transactions and uses the data correctly in your financial reporting.

Dental and Patient Data To Sunset

Here are the items to leave out and how to tie up loose ends:

  • Ledger transactions: Implement a process for reconciling transactions in the legacy and new systems during and after the transition.
  • Open accounts receivable (A/R) balances: Work or write off open A/R balances in the legacy system. Download our guide to learn more.
  • Encrypted data: Request unencrypted copies of the data from the legacy PMS vendor well before the migration and transfer the information securely to the new system.

Master Your Data Migration Journey

Upgrading to cloud dental software is essential for supporting your DSO’s growth plan. Knowing what to expect and following a plan to properly and securely handle all your data is critical for success.

Download our white paper, What to Expect When Switching Practice Management Systems and How to Master Your Data Migration Journey, in which we share our from-the-trenches insights into data migration best practices gained from serving dental practices of all sizes for over a decade.

The Ultimate Guide to a Hassle Free Software Migration

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