After making acquisitions, healthcare organizations want to use the same enterprise systems across all facilities, which raises the question about what to do with the legacy systems and data.
During a June featured session sponsored by MediQuant as part of Becker’s Health IT + Revenue Cycle Management Virtual Forum, I shared a few considerations for managing data after an acquisition. if you weren’t able to join us, don’t worry. I’ve summarized my session for you here.
Post-acquisition, health systems must decide how to process with their legacy systems
While it only makes sense for health systems to want to move to one internal accounts receivable platform, there’s a few things to check off your list before you can do so. For one, you have to deal with the disparate systems. For another, you’ll need to figure out how you’re going to get that AR run down.
In other words, you’ve got some decisions to make.
There are a few options for managing legacy system data. You can are leaving existing systems running, migrate or convert to a new system, archive all legacy data, use offline storage or even destroy the legacy data. Here are a few tips to help you arrive at the best approach for your organization:
- Start with taking a data inventory. A health system should take a complete data inventory This involves using a tool to pull together a list of all data application systems. Understanding the different data types and whether data is discrete or non-discrete is critical. You’ve got to be able to say, ‘This one is old data,’ or ‘All my AR has been worked down,’ or ‘This data can be put into a static archive space.’ Before you can make decisions on upcoming needs, you first need to know what you have to manage.
- Although establishing an active archival system can be preferred over writing off balances or operating disparate systems, choosing the right platform includes several considerations. Healthcare organizations that decide not to write off balances from acquired companies or continue operating multiple data systems must find a single data archive system. Considerations for such a system should include whether the entire enterprise has a single sign-on option and whether users can see patient information across all systems. Identifying business owners and establishing governance and retention policies must be done.
An active data archival system must meet specific needs of the RCM business staff. Before making a final decision, it is important to solicit input from the revenue cycle central business office. They will want to know whether open balances will exist, if staff can work balances down to zero, and which interfaces may be required, among other things. Organizations should consider whether payment can be posted manually or electronically, how demographics such as insurance or marital status can be updated and whether information can be easily used in an audit request.
Retrieval and reporting of data must be considered when selecting an active archival system. If a healthcare organization has open receivables and wants to work the receivables — and if the health system cannot afford to run its legacy systems — then it must select a good archival system. When choosing such a system, I suggest answering a number of questions, including: Can I get a transaction report of anything posted? Can I upload my master files? Can I do batch or manual postings?
For more insight on the benefits active data archiving offers to revenue cycle professionals, check out my other post, “Legacy AR Doesn’t Belong in a Legacy System: Save Time and Money with Active Archiving.”
Originally published July 8, 2021 on Becker’s Hospital Review