As healthcare organizations generate a massive amount of data every month, there’s a need to create archiving solutions for efficient data retrieval. The greatest challenge usually occurs when old record systems are replaced, and the data must be preserved for legal and regulatory compliance or for periodic reporting. Unfortunately, it is impossible to update these legacy applications, which are no longer secure and run on outdated hardware and operating systems. When there’s an urgent need for a patient data extract, it takes days to retrieve the information manually.
To solve these problems, many CIOs are using vendor-agnostic healthcare data archiving to reduce the cost of hardware and storage while meeting regulatory compliance needs. If you plan to choose a data archiving solution to meet your medical data storage and retrieval needs, apply the following best practices to increase your chances of success.
1. Define the Data to Archive
The records you need to archive will depend on state regulations. In many states in the U.S., you need to keep patient records for at last one decade. However, some states like Massachusetts require you to keep adult patient records for up to seven years after their last visit.
Embarking on an archiving project is a time to refine your data retention policy. In addition to holding records for regulatory compliance, it is ideal for determining the records to delete and ensure that data silos are eliminated.
2. Deduplicate Patient Data
Investing in enterprise-wide deduplication of patient data will ensure data integrity of data in the archive. Due to the maintenance of legacy applications from different vendors, patients will have records in various legacy systems.
It is important to consolidate all these records into a normalized database. This normalized view of the data will make compliance reporting a less strenuous and more accurate process.
3. Plan for Automatic Archiving
Keeping a tab on when to archive or delete patient records is a challenging task. The archiving process may eventually stall as older staff members who have manually maintained various legacy applications retire or leave the organization.
Instead of relying on a manual or semi-manual process, it is more efficient to automate the archiving of patient records. Beginning with an archiving policy, the organization can develop specific rules that the solution provider or in-house developers can automate.
4. Work on Centralized Access
It is vital to have a single access point to retrieve any records from decommissioned EHRs. A centralized archive will minimize the cost of processing the release of information requests.
Also, access must be effectively controlled. Restrict database access to registered users. They should only have access to the data they require in compliance with HIPAA rules on protected health information.
5. Set up Performance Benchmarks
Many states allow 30 days for completing manual data retrieval for release of information requests. However, the time required to retrieve data from a reliable archive should be a few seconds.
Performance (response time) for retrieving many records will not necessarily be as fast as retrieving a static web page in a browser. However, anything more than a few seconds will be considered slow for large healthcare organizations. Since most archives are hosted in the cloud, the performance can be tweaked to deliver faster response times when necessary.
Creating a single active data archive for fast retrieval of patients’ medical records is a wise investment. It is advisable to work with a health data archiving expert to ensure the project succeeds.
Take a Step Toward Efficient Patient Data Extraction
Talk to us at MediQuant today by calling us at 844.286.8683. You can also reach us through our contact page to book a free consultation or demo one of our data archiving solutions.