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Clinical system migration guide

To help practices, GP IT delivery partners (such as Commissioning Support Units (CSUs) and Integrated Care Boards (ICBs)), this guide will help you plan and prepare your migration from one foundation clinical system (also known as a catalogue solution) to another.

Approaches to a migration may differ by region, this guide contains a collection of common phases and strategies aimed at reducing the impact and burden for the practice.

This generic guide may not cover everything that happens during your migration, but it does cover the key activities and make suggestions on how to act on them. It can be used in conjunction with any deployment schedules and guidance issued by your new supplier.

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Clinical system migration guide

Please note

This version 2.0 includes the latest processes from the GP IT Futures framework. Content will be updated over time as the framework develops and matures.

Information Governance

Performing a migration inevitably involves access to, and processing of, significant amounts of personal patient data. It’s crucial, therefore, that all parties involved adhere to the laws, policies, standards and guidelines in respect to Information Governance, including:

How long does a migration take?

Migrations on average take between 12-16 weeks. This is from the point of placing the order for the new system to go-live. Some migration related activities will continue after go-live.

Overview of migration steps

Migrations require a lot of planning and effort from practice staff. Breaking this activity into smaller incremental steps will help ease the pressure and make the migration effort more sustainable.


1. The decision to migrate and funding

The practice completes a business case providing reasons to justify the migration and detailing the preferred clinical system (known as a solution). This is assessed by the commissioning organisation and if approved, they will confirm the funding to support the migration.

See page 'get started' for more information

2. Ordering a new system

Estimated timeline: 1 to 2 weeks

The order is placed with the new supplier through the Buying Catalogue.

See page 'get started' for more information

3. Kick-off meeting

Estimated timeline: 1 day

Discussions with all the key people who will take part in the end-to-end process of migrating your system.

Find out more about the kick-off meeting.

4. Technical survey

Estimated timeline: 1 day

Timing of the technical survey can vary across areas, but likely to happen shortly after the kick-off meeting. It involves checking the current hardware and software at the practice for compatibility. Some IT delivery partners conduct technical surveys remotely and do not necessarily need to be on site.

Find out more about a technical survey.

5. Pre-migration tasks

Estimated timeline: 1 to 2 weeks

Critical activities practices can start to get ahead and prepare for the later stages. Includes tidying up current data and notifying patients and third party services.

Find out more about pre-migration tasks.

6. Initial data production

Estimated timeline: 1 day

Initial Data Production (IDP) is the point at which the current system (solution) supplier carries out a data extraction, which contains all data on the system. This is passed to the new supplier, who uploads the data into a test or ‘dummy’ version of the system.

Find out more about IDP.

7. Data checking

Estimated timeline: 3 days to 4 weeks

Supported by the new supplier, the practice performs a series of data checking processes to validate the data in the test ‘dummy’ system against the current one.

Find out more about data checking.

8. Data recheck and sign-off

Estimated timeline: 1 to 5 days

Before sign off, the data is rechecked after the new supplier has fixed any issues found in the previous data checking phase. If satisfied with the quality of this data, the clinicians and or practice staff will sign it off at this point. This signifies approval to proceed to the final data collection prior to cutover.

Find out more about the data recheck and sign-off.

9. Cutover planning and preparation

Estimated timeline: Four weeks or more

A meeting should be held at least four weeks before the start of the cutover period to plan activities and processes. To reduce the impact of the cutover period, identify what data is needed to capture for re-entry.

Find out more about cutover planning and preparation.

10. Training

Training can happen throughout the end-to-end migration process, but generally this will take place over a period of 2-3 weeks immediately prior to go-Live.

Find out more about training.

11. Final data production

Estimated timeline: 1 day

The final data extract is provided to the new supplier by the current supplier. The data is then imported into the live version of the new system. From this point in time, any changes in the current system will not be automatically migrated and will require manual entry into the new system.

Find out more about the final data production.

12. Cutover period

Estimated timeline: 1-2 weeks

The time between the final data production and the go-live is when the practice should put in place the manual processes agreed at the cutover planning stage. During the cutover, the practice may continue to use the current clinical system, knowing that the data entered will not be migrated. 

Find out more about the cutover period.

13. Final data-checking and sign-off

Estimated timeline: 1 to 5 days

A final recheck of the data once more after the new supplier has loaded it into the test system before go-live. If fully satisfied with the quality of the data, the clinicians and or practice staff will sign it off at this point. This signifies an approval to proceed to go-Live.

Find out more about the data recheck and sign-off.

14. Go-live

Estimated timeline: 1-2 days

The point at which the practice has approved and signed off that the data is accurate, and has access to the new system. From go-live onwards, the new system becomes the primary operational tool and the practice should stop entering data into the old system.

Find out more about go-live.

15. Post go-live

Estimated timeline: This will vary depending on size of practice and volume of data.

Practice staff re-enter data for all activities that happened in the previous system during the cutover period (such as appointments, prescriptions and consultations).

Find out more about post go-live.

Help us improve this guide

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Last edited: 24 January 2023 1:12 pm