When legacy applications have to be retired, critical decisions need to be made. One of the essential considerations revolves around data management. Should the legacy application be archived or migrated into the new EMR?
While some health information managers prefer to archive the old legacy application and data, some may try to move the data en masse into the new EHR. Each approach has its merits. But the most effective approach is a balanced combination of data migration and archiving.
Why and How to Use Data Migration
Migration is not just copying old data from the legacy system to the new EMR. It involves analyzing, extracting, and transforming the data to fit the data model of the new EMR. When a migration is properly planned and executed, it:
- Ensures the accuracy and completeness of the data
- Decreases storage costs
- Prevents frequent disruption of daily operations
- Boosts the efficiency of clinicians and improves care outcomes
If migration is so beneficial, why not just migrate data and put away the legacy system? Because it significantly alters the shape of the legacy data. Often, field types are changed. For instance, number codes may be turned into strings, which may cause some applications to fail.
During migration, entire data fields may be dropped if they have no one-to-one or one-to-many relationship in the new EMR. Apart from that, it may not be cost-effective to extract and load more than 12 years of legacy data into the new system unless this is necessary for regulatory compliance.
For these reasons, it is essential to:
- Create a detailed plan for your data migration
- Determine the data to migrate and the data to leave out of the new system
- Make a timetable for migration
- Ensure that all data needed for analytics and reports are migrated.
- Consider all the legal implications of your migration, and
- Partner with an experienced migration vendor
The Importance of Data Archive
While migration is essential during a transition process, it does not solve all data management challenges. Retiring legacy applications requires the creation of a well-managed data archive.
Archiving takes far less effort than migration. It is also the only way to meet the legal requirements to store patient data, which, in some states ,may be upwards of 20 years.
Data archiving also offers other benefits, including:
- Saving the cost of maintaining legacy EHRs and outdated operating systems
- Integrating patient data
- Protecting data from potential loss
- Reducing security risks
To enjoy the full benefits of your legacy data archive, you need to create a detailed plan and work with a reputable data archiving service provider. Together, you can evaluate the number of storage resources required, the frequency of accessing the data, and how active the archive should be. As soon as all the data to be archived is identified, archiving can be done using various data archiving tools.
Partner With a Data Migration and Archiving Expert
If you want your organization to have a seamless transition from one EMR to another, contact MediQuant for a free consultation.