Have you wondered how your practice will keep data successfully for up to seven decades? Long-term archiving storage is a challenging task for healthcare organizations. For instance, according to FDA regulations, the EHR records for those who participated in drug tests during the pandemic have to be kept for many years after they die. This could mean keeping records for more than 90 years for some patients.
Other issues to sort out include choosing a storage format, storage medium, and location. Fortunately, over the years, various archiving solutions have been developed.
Let’s take a brief look at these options and their pros and cons.
1. Hard Copies
Printed and hand-written records were the conventional storage methods for a few years. Patients had case files filled with test results, doctors’ diagnoses, treatment, prescriptions, and follow-up notes.
Medical record clerks archived these records in carefully labeled boxes. And sometimes, providers will store a portion of the files in a remote location. While these paper storage facilities still exist today, they are cumbersome and costly.
Another drawback is that there’s a high risk of loss, theft, or damage due to floods, natural disasters, or unauthorized access. It is also challenging to find specific records quickly as the storage boxes multiply over the years.
This makes storage companies charge fees for searching and retrieving records manually.
However, some very old medical records still need to be stored in hard copies when the cost of digitizing them is high. Unfortunately, such records will not be helpful for data analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning applications.
2. Tapes and Hard Drives
Healthcare providers still use backup tapes and removable digital storage devices today. They offer a few advantages like:
- Low cost of acquisition and maintenance
- Minimal storage space is needed
- Ability to remove and isolate the data from electronic access.
- Tape storage is not without drawbacks which include –
- Time required for locating and picking out files
- Retrieval may be delayed
- Analytics can’t be run efficiently on data stored on tape
- Data on magnetic media gets degraded after a long time
3. In-house Data Servers
As providers started adopting electronic health record systems, they moved away from paper storage and offline electronic backup. More providers purchased on-premise servers to provide instant access to handle archived data.
Providers, however, discovered that they were expensive to manage and needed frequent hardware and software upgrades.
Also, some of the vendors supplying these machines and applications went out of business, or larger firms in the industry acquired their companies. In extreme cases, formats for data archives gradually became obsolete, and some files were hard to read due to poor backward compatibility.
4. Public Cloud Services
Cloud-based archiving storage is a more recent solution. Public cloud service providers like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon provide low-cost cloud platforms for archiving regulated medical records.
These public cloud platforms have one significant advantage – they are big, credible, and stable. As a result, they are suitable options for long-term archiving.
5. Private Cloud Services
In some cases, privacy and security concerns can make public cloud platforms an unattractive option. While the major cloud providers have relatively secure platforms, they may not offer specific applications targeted towards healthcare providers.
However, private cloud providers work with developers that build archiving solutions that meet the long-term regulatory requirements of various sections of the healthcare industry. They also allow providers to gain instant access to old records to satisfy requests from regulatory authorities.
One significant advantage of using private cloud services is the ability to demand various customizations to make your data archiving solutions more efficient.
Discover The Perfect Archiving Storage Solution for Your Practice
Do away with guesswork. Let’s help you find the most suitable and affordable data archiving solution for your healthcare practice.
Contact MediQuant at 844.286.8683 today or reach out to us through our contact page for a free consultation or demo of our medical data archiving solutions.