Managing the massive volume of data created in your organization can be overwhelming. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) states that providers are to preserve patient records for at least ten years. State and federal laws require you to keep medical records for decades. With most healthcare providers generating a significant amount of data annually, you need a strategic plan to store and retrieve your data. Here are some actionable tips for creating a practical health archive.
1. Carefully Select Data to Archive
You have to decide on the records that will stay in your EHR application, pharmacy, and lab information system. Separate the records you will transfer to your archive from those you will hold in live databases. Your selection criteria may include:
- The record’s age
- The patient’s status (active, inactive, or dead)
- Record category (e.g., demographics, medical history, billing, and payment, appointments, staff records)
After you’ve chosen the records to keep, you may archive other records in a way that’s easy to access. However, the archived records will allow your system to run more efficiently.
2. Set Up a Procedure for Archiving
After you specify the data to keep in your archive, you must create a process and schedule for archiving.
You need to set up database triggers, stored procedures, and chron jobs to move data that fits the criteria for the archive to your archiving platform.
You may schedule the archiving to be done monthly, quarterly, or once in six months. The interval depends on the volume of data you generate. Also, remember to schedule the transfer of data to off-peak periods like night shifts and weekends when your network has a light workload.
3. Protect Your Health Archive
Use practical data security tools and protocols to protect data in transit and storage. Ensure that data is encrypted and protected from unauthorized access.
In addition, you must have a disaster recovery plan. Work with a reputable vendor or consultant to create a plan to quickly recover your data if your system is attacked. One of the vital aspects of this plan should be having off-site backups.
4. Select a Reliable Cloud-based Platform
Not all data archiving platforms are suitable for healthcare data. This means that you must look for specific features that enhance the storage of your organization’s data. These include:
* Cloud-based technology that can easily expand as your storage needs increase
- Web and mobile access
- Compliance with HIPAA and other regulatory requirements
- A user-friendly interface
- Robust search functions that increase your productivity
- Capacity to manage a wide variety of files, including database files, images, and document files
5. Work With a Reputable Vendor
Most healthcare archiving solutions require custom programming, so you need to partner with a reliable data archiving consultant. Your data archiving partner will have the experience, expertise, and tools to extract data based on an agreed schedule and transfer it to a cloud-based archive. Whether you need to archive data in an old legacy system or your current EHR application, you should work with a competent vendor.
Start Building a Robust Health Archive for Your Practice
If you are ready to create a stable data archive for your medical records, call MediQuant now at 844.286.8683. You can also reach us through our contact page to book a free consultation or demo of our data archiving solution.