What is Your Data Retention Roadmap®?

Managing Legacy Data and Retiring Legacy Applications

Converting to New Production Systems – Clinical, Billing, ERP – Can Create a Legacy Data Conundrum
By Tony Paparella

You’ve chosen a new system and may have even completed implementation. It is likely that you and the new vendor don’t want the old data—and any of its problems—cluttering up the new system. How will access to the vital healthcare and business legacy records be retained? Keeping the old applications and the “iron” on which they operate can be costly. Hard-to-access archives likely won’t get the job done. There are many considerations in retaining access to the legacy records, including: cost, compliance, end user access, retention periods, internal resource constraints, and workflow, to name a few.

  • Cost & Legacy System “Junkyards”: The costs of maintaining old hardware and software can really add up in a hurry from a few thousand dollars a monthly to several million over the course of a year. Healthcare organizations can have over 100 different clinical, patient financial and ERP legacy applications that could easily add up to a legacy system junkyard, stealing precious time from your support staff. Decommissioning is key, but the data must be retained in an environment less costly than the retiring applications.
  • Compliance: Federal and state statutes and rules from a patchwork of regulatory agencies mean that data must be retained from 5 to 30 years, depending on the nature of the data and the particular regulation. Audits, such as Federal EEOE, RAC, commercial carriers and others require quick and complete access to records going back as many as 10 years. Inaccessible data in formats that don’t allow robust querying will leave you with lost revenues and fines for non-compliance.
  • Workflow: Depending on the nature of the records, the old data will still need to be part of the dynamics of your workflow. For example, healthcare accounts will require billing several years after the last date of service. Clinical data will need to be made readily available to clinicians. The retirement home for your data will need to be an “active” home!
  • Keeping Records Accessible: End users are not programmers—they need real time access to important legacy records through an easy-to-use interface.

MediQuant is here to help guide your through these issues and provide a solution—the DataArk “Active” archive and our robust advisory services—that helps significantly reduce cost (up to 80% in cost savings), maintain compliance with data retention regulations, keep records accessible and dynamically manage legacy records. We transfer the data from your legacy applications into DataArk so that you can retire the old application while retaining real-time access through DataArk. We work with a wide variety of data sets, including: clinical, patient financial, G/L, AP, H/R, ERP, claims and much more. Click here to learn more about DataArk. MediQuant’s “Data Retention Roadmap®” is a proven best practice for ensuring a smooth transition to DataArk, data integrity, effective enterprise planning, reduced costs and use case fulfillment.

The Special Case of Retiring Legacy Patient Accounting Systems

Traditional options for retiring medical billing systems include full detail conversion, balance forward and A/R run out on the old system—all have some advantages but also have significant shortcomings. If not managed right, bills aren’t effectively produced from the new system, old A/R is ignored, data is lost and IT costs skyrocket. Managing the legacy data effectively will maintain cash flow, reduce costs and headaches for the IT department and keep the healthcare provider compliant with Federal and State data retention requirements. The DataArk Solution is an active archive designed to manage all of these issues.

System Conversion and Data Retention Options Summary Matrix

Options Cash Flow Risk? Incompatible Data to New HIS? Cost? Data Retention Compliant? Full Billing Follow-Up Capability
DataArk & 4-6 month A/R run-out on legacy system LOW NONE $$ YES YES
Full Conversion to new system – 10 years of accounts HIGH VERY
$$$$ YES YES
Partial Conversion to new system – Active Accounts Only HIGH VERY
$$$$ NO YES
Balance Forward HIGH LOW RISK $$ NO NO
Run out A/R on old system for 24 months LOW NONE $$$$ NO “YES” initially,
“NO” eventually

For a more detailed breakdown of System Conversion and Data Retention Options, view this detailed matrix.

Full or Partial Detail Conversion

In a Full Detail Conversion, all of the legacy system detail account data is converted into the new system. A “Partial” Detail Conversion usually moves only the active accounts. If everything goes right, a Full Detail Conversion will be compliant and maintain cash flow. However, a detail conversion assumes compatibility between the legacy system and the new HIS—which is rarely the case. Furthermore, a detail conversion will cost the most and have the highest risk of cash flow interruption—if something goes wrong, the bills won’t move.

Balance Forward

A “Balance Forward” moves basic account information (name, account number, MRN) along with the account balance on an account to the new system. The only real use is to complete the financials. Otherwise, no detail is moved, so accounts can’t be re-billed or effectively managed. Many accounts will end up being written off because of insufficient information to support the bill. In the long run, a Balance Forward is least compliant and least helpful in maintaining cash flow.

Run out the A/R on the Legacy HIS

A safe way to manage the aged receivables after the go-live of the new HIS is to run out the A/R on the old system. Much but not all of the A/R would be exhausted after 6 months, leaving a smaller receivable to manage. However, 3 years after the last date of service is the normal amount of time needed to wind down the A/R before billing functions are no longer needed. However, used in conjunction with an “Active” archive (DataArk), this solution satisfies the requirements of compliance, maintaining cash flow and low cost.

“Active” Archiving—The DataArk Solution

For this approach, data from the legacy system is migrated to an “Active” archive system: DataArk. “Active” because the archive has updatable data elements that can serve to manage an A/R while archiving other zero balance accounts. It’s important to note that the actual data elements from the legacy system are migrated into DataArk. Users look up accounts, view notes, produce itemized statements, UB’s, reports and even post payments to the system. No data is moved to the new patient accounting system. The A/R is run out on the old system for 3 to 6 months then loaded into the DataArk where the balance of the A/R is managed and billed. DataArk is compliant with data retention requirements, helps maintain cash flow and costs less than traditional legacy options.

The importance of managing legacy data during a system conversion can’t be overemphasized. While the legacy system may be a burden, the legacy data is money in the bank—the best solution will retire the old system while retaining the data in the DataArk. Effectively managing this important transition to new a HIS will keep the cash flowing, maintain compliance, minimize the cost of transition and get you closer to the streamlined operations that come with the new HIS.

For more information on the Data Ark solution, visit the DataArk page, call 1-800-917-6379 and/or send an e-mail to info@Mediquant.com

How to Eliminate Legacy Systems Costs

document iconLearn more about legacy system decommissioning and the fiscal and functional advantages MediQuant’s Active Archiving solution, DataArk, delivers. To request a copy of the White Paper, click here.

System Conversions

HIS system conversions can put a hospital at risk of significant cash flow slow-downs and begs the question of what to do with the legacy data (due to 10-year data retention requirements).

Traditional options for managing healthcare legacy data all have inherent and significant risks affecting cash flow, effective operation of the new system and the legally required retention of healthcare legacy data. These problems can all be solved with a new but well tested strategy: run the A/R out on the legacy system then migrate active and inactive (historical) data to the DataArk. Read more about DataArk.

Migrating to Soarian, Epic, McKesson Horizon and Paragon and Other Systems

Many hospitals are converting to some of the newer clinical and financial health information systems, including Sorian, Epic, McKesson Horizon and Paragon among others. The older systems, such as Invision, Medseries 4, Series, HealthQuest, IDX Last Word, CareCast, FlowCast, Allscripts Mysis and others possess the vital data required to maintain data retention compliance and to work old A/R. MediQuant’s DataArk houses data sets from these older applications, allowing our clients to move to the new Epic, Sorian Financials, Horizons, Paragon and others in a more timely manner. By migrating the data into DataArk after the go-live of the new HIS, our clients were better able to keep there HIS implementation on-time and within budget. We can share references from clients who utilized DataArk after moving from Invision, HealthQuest or others to Soarian, Epic and similar new HIS’s.