Data Migration: In with the New, Out with the Old?

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Data Migration: In with the New, Out with the Old?
May 31, 2019

If you are preparing to change EMR vendors, one of the things you must plan for is what to do with patient data that resides in your legacy system(s). Will you archive it, migrate some or all of it, scan it, or leave it where it is for a period of time?

There are numerous options to consider, but hospitals should weigh their options carefully, as this process is going to affect both your end users and your patients.

Atlanticon has assisted many clients with developing a successful Data Migration Strategy that accounts for all phases of this challenging process. Here are some things to consider:
What Should You Carryover?
One of the first decisions to make is identifying what data you want in your new system. At a minimum, you will need a basic Master Patient Index (MPI) and some demographic information, unless you want to begin with a clean slate and re-register all of your patients. After that, it comes down to how much ‘old’ data you want in your new system so that end users don’t have to look elsewhere for it. Take the time to evaluate the necessity, quality and work effort involved in the migration process and how far back you actually need to look. And most importantly, don’t forget the legal retention requirements, both locally and nationally!

What Your Vendor Can Do to Help

Many clients assume that the legacy vendor will provide a file to the new vendor with all the migrated data they request; or that the new vendor can do the data extraction for them.

Rarely will either of these scenarios occur.

Legacy vendors are not typically eager to assist since you are ending their services, and new vendors are seldom granted access to a competitor’s system, nor do they want to assume the liability. It is up to you as the client to bridge the gap and plan for the extraction, validation, and migration into the new system.

This is not a speedy process, so beginning early is a smart move.
Garbage In, Garbage Out
If your legacy system has been in place for a long time and/or you are combining multiple sources into one, there is naturally going to be outdated demographic information, as well as the potential for duplicate medical records. Many live systems also have a significant amount of test data in them.

Every effort should be made to mitigate the import of duplicates and test patient information. The Medical Records department should be involved through the entire process to assist with and validate the accuracy of the extracts before they are migrated to the new system.
Where Did It All Go?
Once you have determined what can and will be migrated into the new system, a plan must be made and communicated to users as to how they will access legacy data.  Does your legacy contract allow for ‘read only’ access at a lesser cost? Do you own the servers or is it hosted? Will you use a third party system to convert all of it into an archived solution? This can take several months after you have turned off the legacy system, so take that into consideration when making your decision.

Regardless, the plan for accessing all your patient data should be part of your testing, training, and activation strategy.

Atlanticon can help with all facets of data migration. If you need assistance with developing a strategy, data extraction, duplicate clean up, or archiving, please give us a call at 904-868-2020 or schedule a call through!


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