Critical Deadlines Loom: Upgrade to NextGen 5.9/8.4 Today

CARMEN SOTO | April 22, 2019


Critical Deadlines Loom: Upgrade to NextGen 5.9/8.4 Today

By Carmen Soto | April 22, 2019

Over the past year, we’ve helped practices of all sizes upgrade to NextGen 5.9/8.4 to boost staff productivity, increase revenue cycle efficiency and improve patient care. Now important deadlines are approaching for those practices who still need to upgrade to 5.9/8.4, and the window is closing. Here are the top three reasons to upgrade immediately:  

Don’t Delay – Upgrade by October 1, 2019

  1. Regulatory

The 2019 CMS Medicaid and MIPS Promoting Interoperability (PI) Program requires that providers must use the functionality of an ONC 2015 Edition of certified electronic health record technology (CEHRT) for a minimum of any continuous 90-day EHR reporting period in 2019.

The EHR must be certified to the 2015 Edition standards and certification criteria by the last day of the selected EHR reporting period. The final 90-day reporting window for 2019 begins October 1, 2019. This means your practice MUST have version 5.9/8.4 in production before October 1, 2019 to avoid a downward payment adjustment.

  1. Technology

End of support is coming for two Microsoft server products still in use at many practices. In July 2019, Microsoft will end support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 SP3. Support ends for Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 in January 2020.

That means that Microsoft will no longer provide regular security updates. This is particularly dangerous for healthcare practices, who handle confidential patient data every day. It’s critical to migrate to a current version to ensure the highest security, performance and reliability of mission-critical practice applications including the EHR.

  1. Risk

Delaying these technology upgrades puts your practice at unnecessary risk. If you’re not using NextGen 5.9/8.4 by October 1, the failure to report PI data could result in a negative adjustment of up to 7% of your Medicare payment. And if you don’t upgrade SQL or Windows 2008 servers, you will lose critical security updates that help safeguard against cyberattacks.

The longer you wait, the more stressful the upgrade will be. Successful upgrades entail a detailed process of planning, testing, customization and training. Test upgrades can take up to 5 business days during normal business hours, so advance planning is essential to minimize operational impact. In our experience, the average upgrade takes about 3 months from beginning to production.

ITelagen is Here to Help

As a healthcare provider, your priority should be treating patients, not worrying about how to upgrade complex technology. At ITelagen, we’ve got years of experience helping practices upgrade all aspects of their technology infrastructure and applications. And we’ve got unmatched knowledge of how to manage a successful NextGen 5.9/8.4. upgrade.

Take, for example, ITelagen customer Horizon Eye Care, a multi-specialty clinic with six locations and over 200 employees including 20 physicians.  Horizon decided to upgrade to 5.9/8.4 in Fall 2017 to take advantage of new reporting features and maximize reimbursement potential.  ITelagen developed a comprehensive upgrade strategy for Horizon, including a detailed schedule, complete release notes and a robust testing plan. We also helped update and test over 80 customized templates before putting them into production in the new environment.

After months of planning, ITelagen and Horizon successfully installed the upgrade over one weekend. The clinic opened on time Monday morning with staff prepared to use the new system. When an issue or question popped up, ITelagen immediately researched it and followed through until it was resolved. Horizon’s Director of Revenue Cycle Management noted that “ITelagen worked hard to provide exactly what we need, and to provide it promptly. This was especially important in an upgrade situation where timing was critical.”


If your practice is still waiting to upgrade, don’t miss important deadlines that can have serious implications on revenue, data security and productivity. Put your upgrade in ITelagen’s hands and ensure better outcomes for your practice before it’s too late.

Contact us today by filling out this form or call us at 1-877-983-2443.