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Handling Legacy Data when Migrating to a new EHR

February 25, 2022 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team


Currently, hospital systems have more clinical and business documentation than they can handle. In light of the ongoing evolution of the system, and the initiatives to change or upgrade the EHR or other applications, you wonder how you will manage it.

The process of importing and extracting large amounts of data into new systems can be extremely overwhelming and as a result, when a decision is made to migrate systems, a lot of the key data is left behind. Legacy systems cannot be retired because of their data architecture. To maintain legacy systems so that data is secure, there are still high maintenance fees - software maintenance, internal labor costs, data center costs, etc.

We will discuss various causes of digital patient privacy loss in EHRs and other health IT systems and the possible solutions to them in this blog.

Challenges Managing Legacy Healthcare System Alongside New EHR

We will discuss various causes of digital patient privacy loss in EHRs and other health IT systems and the possible solutions to them in this blog.

  • Retired EHR/EMRs become legacy systems if they are still used to extract data for information release and continuity of care. Legacy data can be any information not transferred to the new platform.
  • Legacy systems require annual subscription fees, but they will not likely receive ongoing updates anymore. It is likely the original developers are no longer at the company; if they are, they are likely working with the most recent version, not an old one.
  • It is common for passwords to be lost, new staff to not be trained on the old system, or for prehistoric hardware to be housed in a different office. All of these situations pose an administrative nightmare when audits and legal requests for information are made.
  • The entire reason you have healthcare facilities is for patients' benefit. If information about the patient can only be accessed by a person with the password and access to the system, the patient suffers (or sues!).

Option of Using an Archival System

Archiving legacy data on a platform that houses previous healthcare records and reports solves the biggest issues with legacy systems in healthcare. Because archival data is often cloud-based, it is secure and money-saving. Patient and staff data are included in this. When you can search and query data during the patient appointment, you enhance your customer service reputation. You can also access reports that include billing and insurance claims, for release-of-information requests.

Benefits of an Archival System

  • Cost-Effective

    Vendors of legacy systems charge steep maintenance fees for the ability to maintain access to hospitals' data. Hardware, labor, and operational costs are often "hidden" for maintaining each legacy system. As a result of archiving solutions, hospital IT costs can be consolidated and reduced. Ongoing maintenance for seamless access to hospital data is consolidated to a single solution for a fraction of the cost.

  • Clinical Care

    As not all legacy data migrates to the new EHR, accessing legacy data can be challenging, requiring users to access multiple systems to access data. Archiving solutions provide a central repository for legacy data, and original report and document images can be accessed across multiple systems and environments.

  • Compliance

    In response to requests for legally valid patient or payor documentation, hospitals must provide timely and accurate responses. Original documents and reports are easily accessible with a legacy data archiving solution. The medical records of the patient are accessible with a single click.

We'll see a lot of healthcare organizations struggling with how to handle legacy data with the EHR switching market going forward. Fortunately, we've now been through this before and many companies and organizations can help. Nonetheless, we should remember that it will take time. You shouldn't overlook it when designing your new EHR. Most people who do so end up regretting the decision, which delays the implementation of your new EHR. It's not something anyone wants.

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