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Best Practices for Sunsetting Legacy Systems in Healthcare

As your organization prepares to sunset legacy applications, the challenges associated with decommissioning old EHRs can be daunting. However, it is possible to put a plan in place to minimize risks associated with this process and ensure a smooth transition to new systems.

When transitioning from old legacy systems, there are several best practices to consider. We will tell you more about them today, along with strategies for overcoming particular challenges that can come with sunsetting legacy EHRs.

Best Practices for Sunsetting Legacy EHRs

Keep these best practices in mind to make the transition from legacy systems to new EHRs as smooth and efficient as possible.

  • Develop a comprehensive plan for the migration

A detailed plan outlining the steps required for migrating healthcare data, applications, and any other technology components involved should be developed. The plan should include timelines, milestones, and contingencies in case of unexpected delays or issues. It should also include a budget to cover any additional costs associated with the transition, such as training and consulting fees.

  • Prioritize stakeholders

Identifying and engaging with all stakeholders involved in the process is essential to ensure a successful sunsetting. Establish clear expectations from each stakeholder to ensure everyone understands their roles, responsibilities, and deadlines. This also helps ensure everyone is working together and minimizing risks.

  • Ensure continuity of care for patients

As part of the sunsetting process, ensuring patients receive uninterrupted care is crucial. This means ensuring all patient data is preserved in a secure location and can be accessed when necessary. It also involves ensuring providers have access to up-to-date information about their patients so they can continue providing quality care without interruption.

  • Evaluate post-migration

Once the migration has been completed, evaluate its success against the original plan and timeline. Ensure all data is transferred accurately, applications are functioning correctly, users are satisfied with their experience, etc. If there were any hiccups along the way, document them for future reference in case similar issues arise.

  • Perform a security assessment

As you migrate from legacy systems, it’s essential to conduct a thorough security assessment of the new EHRs. This includes reviewing existing security protocols, ensuring system compliance with HIPAA regulations, and conducting penetration testing to check for potential vulnerabilities.

  • Prepare for data loss

Data loss is a risk that can occur during EHR sunsetting. To minimize the risk of losing essential legacy data, make sure you have a backup plan in place. This should involve regularly backing up the old system and ensuring regular transfers of data between the systems until all information has been moved over to the new platform.

  • Test the new system

Always test your new EHR system before going live. This will help identify any issues or bugs with the system and give you time to make corrections before it’s rolled out company-wide. It’s also wise to conduct user training so everyone can get comfortable with the new platform prior to launch.

Challenges with Sunsetting Legacy EHRs (& How to Overcome Them)

Now that we’ve covered some of the best practices for sunsetting legacy EHRs, it’s time to strategize ways to mitigate the risks and challenges associated with this process.

Data quality issues

A common challenge encountered when sunsetting EHRs is data quality. Data loss, corruption, or inconsistency can cause problems for users and patients. To prevent these issues, it’s vital to have a strong data migration process that involves verifying the accuracy of the information transferred.

It’s also helpful to have experienced IT staff on hand who are familiar with legacy systems, databases, and other technologies. These professionals can help ensure a smooth transition without any data integrity issues.

Business process disruptions

Another potential issue is business process disruption due to changes in technology or workflow modifications. To avoid this, aim to maintain continuity by scheduling regular check-ins with stakeholders. Developing a comprehensive plan that details how the migration process will unfold is also beneficial.

Ensure patient privacy

Patient privacy should be a top priority when dealing with sensitive healthcare data. Make sure any third-party vendors you work with are HIPAA-compliant and their security protocols are up to date, if not certified. It’s also imperative to have a secure system in place that can handle large volumes of data while protecting it from unauthorized access or breaches.

How Two Point Can Help

One of the best ways to ensure a successful EHR sunsetting process is to partner with experienced healthcare data conversion specialists. At Two Point, a SOC2 – Type II certified organization, we specialize in helping healthcare organizations transition from legacy systems accurately and efficiently. We provide a range of services, including data migration, archival, and more.

Conclusion: Sunsetting Legacy EHRs

With the proper planning and precautions, sunsetting legacy systems in healthcare can go much more smoothly.

When it comes time to make this transition, remember to perform a security assessment, prepare for data loss, test the new system, and address any potential issues with data quality, business processes, and patient privacy. By partnering with a reliable service provider like Two Point, you can ensure your organization’s EHR sunsetting process is done right.

Contact us today to learn how Two Point can help your organization transition from legacy systems safely and efficiently. We look forward to hearing from you! ​​​​

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