A Step-by-Step Approach to Successful Analysis, Planning, and Testing
Upgrade your NextGen Enterprise EHR without missing a beat.
Staying on top of updates for mission-critical software such as your NextGen electronic health record (EHR) can feel overwhelming for IT departments. Major releases such as the NextGen Enterprise Spring ’21 release (v6.2021.1) typically occur once or twice a year and bring new enhancements, features, and fixes. These add capabilities, but can also create significant change for your organization. Smaller updates for NextGen ancillary products, medications, and formularies may be exactly what you’ve been waiting for, and monthly patch updates fix known issues on a regular basis, but both take IT resources away from other important projects.
With all of these updates to maintain a healthy system, it’s no wonder your IT group can struggle to stay on top of it all.
This NextGen Upgrade Guide for IT lays out proven strategies to upgrade your EHR as smoothly and efficiently as possible so your practice can get back to what it does best—taking care of patients.
Determine your “why”
Before you get started, take a step back and analyze why you need this new release. For many practices, there’s no question it has to happen as soon as possible. Some practices may be able to wait and upgrade NextGen at a time that better matches other IT plans and initiatives. Make sure you understand these three important elements of the NextGen v6.2021.1 release:
- Regulatory compliance. The new release fully supports compliance with the 21st Century Cures Act, including new information blocking requirements, and is on track to meet ONC 2015 Edition Cures Update Criteria for Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) requirements.
Important: If your providers participate in MIPS, you must upgrade to 6.2021 prior to 2023 reporting. While 2023 may sound far-off, there may be several time-consuming steps before you can complete your upgrade in production.
- Latest operating systems. The new release requires the latest operating systems (OSes) for Microsoft Windows, Windows Server, and SQL Server. If you need to update those as well, that must happen before you begin your NextGen upgrade.
Important: OS and database upgrades can have unintended consequences, such as a need for updated server hardware. If you’ve been considering moving your EHR to the cloud, this might be the tipping point.
- New patient portal. With this release, the new Patient Experience Platform (PxP) replaces the Patient Portal, providing a better web presence and more user-friendly experience for patients.
Important: The Patient Portal will no longer be integrated in NextGen v6.2021 and higher, so the new PxP portal must be installed and migrated at the same time as the EHR and database upgrades.