Legacy data archiving isn’t the first thing hospitals think of when it comes to saving money. But the right archiving strategy can mean the difference between efficiency and chaos, frugality and waste. For critical access hospitals (CAHs), which continue to face financial challenges, it can help save time and money while ensuring compliance with regulations.
For nearly a quarter of a century, critical access hospitals have played an essential role in the U.S. healthcare delivery system. They are a part of the rural hospitals that care for nearly one in five Americans, many of whom would otherwise have limited or no access to care.
But there are obstacles that threaten CAHs’ existence. Rural populations tend to skew older, have a higher incidence of comorbidities and a higher level of uninsured and Medicaid/Medicare patients. As a result, CAHs must provide care that is subject to less reimbursement and bad debt, taxing their already tight budgets. COVID-19 has only added to the problems CAHs face.
In the past decade, we have seen an accelerated closure of critical access hospitals. In January 2019, the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) reported that 95 rural hospitals had closed since 2010, with 32 of these being designated critical access hospitals. According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), Congress took action last year with several COVID-19 relief bills for rural hospitals, but more is needed.
As a former hospital chief information officer who has spent more than 25 years creating cost-effective healthcare data solutions, both in-house and as a supplier, I am excited to be part of an organization that now offers legacy archiving solutions tailormade for the needs of critical access hospitals.
Like large urban hospitals, CAHs find themselves in situations where they need to archive legacy data. They may be merging with a healthcare system and moving to a new EMR. They may be upgrading, or they may need to consolidate legacy data from disparate systems into one less costly archive, while meeting compliance regulations. But they don’t need archives with the bells and whistles that large hospitals require.
Our new CAH package, called CriticalAccessArchive™, features a streamlined process for system transition and data migration to a secure, centralized archive. CAHs can choose the clinical, patient accounting and enterprise resource planning information they need at a price they can afford. We also offer CAH-tailored data conversion and other technical services to manage the shift between EMRs.
There is nothing I like more than solving complex IT puzzles, but this was an easy one. There are currently an estimated 1,400 critical access hospitals in the U.S. They are at the heart of rural healthcare and we need them to continue their good work.